News Column

A walk in the park

July 17, 2014

By Suzi Bartholomy, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

July 17--In spite of the technology children are used to in the realm of entertainment, a day at an amusement park can still be a winner.

Within a little more than an hour, multi-generational families can find something to do at Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green.

A 90-year-old grandmother just arrived with her family, said Charlotte Gonzalez who, with her parents Dallas and Alfreda Jones, operates the park.

"She rented one of our power scooters," Gonzalez said.

Beech Bend offers 36 amusement rides, outdoor shows, drag racing, a water park, a petting zoo and camping.

Single strollers can be rented for $8 per day, double strollers for $12 and electric scooters for $25.

"Mom and Dad bought the race track in 1984 and the amusement park in 1987," Gonzalez said.

Splash Lagoon Water Park is a cool spot after taking on the Kentucky Rambler, Power Surge, Vortex, Zero G and Sea Dragon.

The Rambler is an award-winning wooden rollercoaster rated in the top 25 coasters worldwide.

Michael Jackson fans will probably want to take a spin on the Sea Dragon that was once a part of his Neverland Ranch. The ride has been a hit since it arrived in 2008.

Tamer rides include the Carousel, Tilt-A-Whirl, bumper cars and Flying Bobs, which are cars that race forward and backward at high speeds.

"People come back year after year," Gonzalez said. "About 45 percent come from Tennessee, 45 percent from Kentucky and the other 10 percent from other states."

"This year started out slow because of snow days the kids had to make up, but we've caught up and are doing better than this time last year," Gonzalez said.

"We're a family-owned park and we all work here," she said.

Her son Reed Gonzalez is a spring graduate of Western Kentucky University with a degree in mechanical engineering and is ride operations manager.

For those who would like to stick around for more than a day there are 500 campsites; 250 of them have full hookups.

There is a height requirement for some of the rides. Admission for adults who are 54 inches and taller is $31.99. Admission for children 54 inches and shorter is $27.99. Admission for seniors 60 and older is $27.99. Children age 2 and younger are admitted free.

A second consecutive day at the park is at a discounted price. Pre-pay tickets on the park's website are also discounted.

Military members, active or retired, are admitted free year-round with a valid military photo ID.

The amusement and water parks will close on Sept. 21. See the Beech Bend website for times and days of operation. The race track will be open through November.

For more information call 781-7634 or see

Suzi Bartholomy, 691-7293,


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Source: Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, KY)

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