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Bumble Bee Ride

Bumble Bees and Herschell Carousel at McCullough’s Kiddie Park, Coney Island, September 3, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Remember Coney Island’s Bumble Bees? The popular kiddie ride in McCullough’s Kiddie Park left its spot on the Bowery when the family closed their park in 2012 after being unable to extend the lease. In April, the Bees will once again be awhirl after finding a wonderful new home in Canada.

ATZ learned the good news from the ride’s new owner, Jim Mills, who operates Select Shows, a traveling carnival based in Manitoba. “This past fall I purchased the Bumble Bee ride from McCullough’s Park in Coney Island,” Mills told ATZ. “During the past winter it has been totally rebuilt and going to hit the road this spring on my show.”

Coney Island Bumblebee

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration. Photo © Select Shows, Manitoba

Mills, whose family-run carnival operates from mid-April through the end of September in Manitoba and Ontario, sent us photos of the rehab. “There is a picture of the beginning of the make over and the rest are showing the painting of the last two as well as the new sweeps, all new hydraulics, electrical and complete body work, which alone for the Bees is about 400 man hours. We have put approximately $30,000 into this project so far,” says Mills, who promises to send more photos once the redo is completed and the ride is set up. He has put up a page on the show’s website about the history of the ride, which survived Hurricane Sandy. SO happy to see the Bees lovingly restored and ready to begin their new life on the road!

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration. Photo © Select Shows, Manitoba, Canada

The McCullough family operated amusements in Coney Island for four generations and their kiddie park had been on 12th Street and the Bowery since the 1960s. The often-photographed Bumble Bee ride was emblematic of Coney Island and frequently photographed with the Wonder Wheel or Parachute Jump in the background. When Astroland closed in 2008, some photographers’ captions said it was the end of the Bees because they did not realize the ride was part of a different park.

On Flickr we posted: Please note the Bumblebee ride on the Bowery and the kiddie rides surrounding it are NOT part of Astroland. McCullough’s Kiddie Park has 12 kiddie rides and is open for the 2009 season. The McCullough family is related to the Tilyous and have owned and operated rides in Coney Island for many years and we hope many years to come!

Coney Island Bumblebee

Coney Island Bumblebee under Restoration. Photo © Select Shows, Manitoba, Canada

Fun Facts about the Bumble Bees:

The ride’s trademark name Bumble Bee Bop was first used in 2001. This aerial kiddie carousel was designed and manufactured by Sellner, the inventor of the Tilt-A-Whirl.

McCullough’s Bumble Bee ride inspired Galloping Boy Designs T-shirt of an adventurous tabby seeing the sights of Coney Island from the back of a bumble bee. The Bees can also be glimpsed in numerous films and music videos shot in Coney.

Artist Chris DAZE Ellis, who painted a mural adjacent to McCullough’s Kiddie Park for the Dreamland Artist Club in 2004, pays tribute to the Bumble Bees in his painting Kiddyland Spirits. The 1995 painting is among his works currently on view in the touring exhibit Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Chris DAZE Ellis

Kiddyland Spirits, 1995, oil on canvas. Painting copyright Chris DAZE Ellis

Related posts on ATZ…

June 4, 2014: Astroland Rocket Finds New Home Beside the Wonder Wheel

July 17, 2013: Astroland Rides Find Homes in Brooklyn, Costa Rica and Australia

September 4, 2012: Exclusive: McCullough’s Kiddie Park Closing After 50 Years in Coney Island

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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Chance Skydiver Car

Chance Skydiver Car. Neven + Neven Moderne, Hudson, NY

It’s sad when retired carnival rides go unsold or are broken up for parts. We can only hope the old cars find an appreciative new home. For $3,500, you can spin yourself silly in this restored Skydiver ride car being offered by Neven + Neven Moderne, an art dealer in Hudson, New York. “Has wheels (not attached), for moving. Can be mounted to spin, or can sit on wheels,” according to the item’s description.

Produced from 1965 to 1979 by Chance Manufacturing, the Skydiver was a Ferris wheel-like ride whose cars were equipped with a steering wheel that let riders do barrel rolls. It’s considered a classic by ride aficionados but very few parks and carnivals have Skydivers nowadays.

During its heyday, state fair midways featured as many as three Skydivers in a row for the flash. Coney Island had a Skydiver as well as Chance’s one and only double Skydiver, called the Tumbler. Both rides were owned and operated by the McCullough family, who had rides in Coney Island for more than 50 years.

If you want to ride, you can still find a Skydiver at Lakemont Park in Pennsylvania, Silverwood in Idaho, and at fairs played by the traveling carnivals Christiansen Amusements, Campy’s Amusements and Powers Great American Midway.

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Related posts on ATZ…

September 4, 2012: Exclusive: McCullough’s Kiddie Park Closing After 50 Years in Coney Island

May 18, 2012: Rare & Vintage: Pinto Bros. Pony Cart from Coney Island

December 19, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Original Coney Island Motordrome Bike

May 21, 2009: Astroland Closed But Your Kid Can Still Ride the USS Astroland This Summer!

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While we wait for the City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to announce the new Coney Island Amusement Operator, we’ve been going overboard watching Zamperla ride vids on YouTube. In “The Contenders from A to Z” (November 23, 2009), ATZ noted that the Italian ride manufacturer is considered the front runner by other CIAO bidders. Now the Coney Island Rumor Mill is sayin’ Zamperla is one of the finalists and will be the one to win the job. Next question: Does that mean Zamperla’s rockin’ and spinnin’ Disko ride will come to Coney Island?

ATZ’s Disko playlist includes Zamperla’s original promo vid for the Giant Disko, a surrealistic Disk’O TV commercial from Chile’s Fantasilandia, Crazy Surfer (aka the Disko) from Germany’s Movie Park and a Rock the Disko music vid from blastaman..

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January 26, 2010: Scoop: Zamperla’s $24M Coney Island Park to be Named Luna Park!

January 24, 2010: Zamperla-Ride-O-Rama: Swing in the Sky over Coney Island

December 18, 2009: Ciao Coney Island! Will Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak, Astrotower & Other Oldies Survive?

November 23, 2009: The Contenders from A to Z: Coney Island Amusement Operator RFP

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