Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Goodbye Golden Nugget

Classic boardwalk attraction to be removed

Despite its best intentions and efforts to try to preserve the Golden Nugget Mine Ride, a classic boardwalk attraction, the Morey Organization has decided to remove it from the former Hunt’s Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey.

“This is a sad loss for all those who fondly remember the wonderful Golden Nugget,” noted Dino Fazio, Morey’s director of pier operations. “It was my first roller coaster ride as a boy, and it’s hard for me to see it go.”

The ride’s planned renovation was doomed by the expense to meet New Jersey’s current strict ride regulations. Fortunately, substantial portions of the Golden Nugget will be saved for reuse prior to the removal of the exterior structure this winter.

Dick Knoebel, operator of Knoebel’s Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, will take ownership of the tracks and trains. Knoebel has a notable reputation for ride restoration and his park is not subject to the same restrictive regulations as in New Jersey.

The Golden Nugget originally opened in July of 1960 on the newly constructed ocean side section of Hunt’s Pier. It was built three stories high with the top floor giving riders a mine car ride through the “desert.” The classic coaster ride was specially constructed for Hunt’s Pier by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and was engineered by John Allen. Bill Tracy designed the ride’s theme through Amusement Displays.

“The Golden Nugget represents the first golden age of the boardwalk,” notes Will Morey, president and CEO of The Morey Organization, “an age pioneered by greats with such family names as Hunt, Barnes, Coombs, Way, and Ramagosa. As the second generation of the Morey family, my brother and I recognise our responsibility as trustees of this unique culture, and we do not take this decision lightly.”

“As we realised that the Golden Nugget was not viable for Morey’s Piers” added Jack Morey, “we began looking for an appropriate person within our industry who might be capable of reusing the tracks and trains. Now, I am very thrilled to say that this ride will be placed in the most capable of hands.”

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