An old favorite is returning to a restored (and reimagined) theme park in England. “And captain, it’s the Enterprise.”
Dreamland Margate, the classic theme park that first opened in southern England in 1920, has not only reopened after years of closure, but is bringing back some of the rides locals have enjoyed.
One of them is a Ferris wheel-like ride that in the 1980s was known as “The Enterprise.” And yes, it really was named after the famous ship from the original “Star Trek.”
“The Enterprise features gondolas that seat two people each,” according to Kent News reporter Chris Britcher. “With a circular design, using a slight amount of centrifugal force, a hydraulically powered arm raises and tilts the frame to rotate at 87 degrees, transforming it from a horizontal experience, to a near vertical one.”
The ride was a favorite during the 1980s and 1990s when Dreamland was known as Benbom Brothers White Knuckle Theme Park. It was dismantled along with other rides in the early 2000s after low attendance and a desire to redevelop the wooden rollercoaster park into something different seemed to take precedent.
However, the people in the Kent city of more than 57,000 had other ideas — they wanted the park to return. That’s when $42.5 million in public funds and grants were collected to restore the park, and create what officials later called a “reimagining.”
The park itself reopened last June, picking up another $14.2 million in private funding that would help restore more than a dozen rides, including The Enterprise. But it was the signature ride everyone was looking for — the historic Scenic Railway rollercoaster — which survived an arson attempt several years ago to reopen this past September.
The Scenic Railway was the first ride at the park, first opened in 1920. It’s 3,000 feet of wooden rollercoaster track, allowing its train to reach a speed of 35 mph, and the largest dip of 40 feet.
Admission to the park is $25 for adults, $21 for children. The rides at the park have a Coney Island-like feel, and while it might not contain the thrills of mega theme parks in the United States and other parts of the world, it is a chance to step back into what amusement parks were like in the past. Even if The Enterprise is a ride celebrating the future.
The Enterprise opens March 25. Margate is located about 90 minutes east of London, and is a popular beach destination for many in the country, as well as tourists.
To learn more about Dreamland Margate, visit Dreamland.co.uk.