Lake Compounce

Amusement park in the United States

Lake Compounce
Bristol, Connecticut, USA
Status Operating
Opened October 6, 1846
Operator Palace Entertainment (subsidiary of Parques Reunidos)

Lake Compounce is an amusement park in Bristol, Connecticut, USA.


Lake Compounce was first opened to the public on October 6, 1946 when its owners attempted a stunt involving explosives in the lake. While the stunt itself was a failure, the large crowds that it attracted inspired the owners to open the site as a summer resort.[1]

After being put up for sale in the early 1980s, two local automotive dealers and a third company each acquired minority stakes in the property. In 1985, Hershey Entertainment, owners of Hersheypark, acquired 66.5% of the park and it was subsequently renamed Hershey Lake Compounce.[2] The park underwent a redevelopment at a cost of $22 million, which included the reconstruction of the Wildcat roller coaster. Several new rides were installed, including the Saw Mill Plunge, Wave Swinger, and the Pirate Ship.[3] On October 2, 1987, Hershey Entertainment announced that they would no longer operate the park, stating that attendance had been poor and that they had spent over $28 million on the property, $6 million more than anticipated. This decision upset local officials, as the park had received a federal loan and Bristol city had invested in improving the road and sewer networks around the park.[4]

In 1988, Hershey sold its stake in the property to Joseph Entertainment, a concert promoter. Renamed Lake Compounce Festival Park, the park opened in 1988 with a new focus on live music, entertainment, and festivals.[5] However, as Joseph Entertainment faced financial difficulties, over half of the concerts planned in 1991 were cancelled. The park also faced noise complaints from residents and was fined after violating noise level agreements.[6]

Joseph Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in January 1992 and the future of the property both as an amusement park and as a concert venue became uncertain. Local officials were keen to keep the park operating to prevent job losses and in the hope of receiving unpaid tax bills. In June, the city reached an agreement with another operator which would reopen the park.[7] However, for the following three seasons, the park only operated for a few days each year.

In 1995, the owners of Lake Compounce reached an agreement with Funtime Parks that saw them operate the park. It reopened in June, but visitor numbers proved disappointing. Funtime, which had recently been acquired by Premier Parks, pulled out of the park later that year.[8]

In April 1996, Kennywood Entertainment entered into a partnership with the park owners which saw the company agree to operate the park, pay unpaid taxes and take on the park's mortgage.[9] In 2008, Kennywood Entertainment was acquired by Parques Reunidos.[10]

Roller coasters

Present (5)

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Status
Boulder Dash Custom Coasters International, Inc. Wooden May 21, 2000 Operating
Kiddie Coaster Molina & Son's Kiddie June 27, 1997 Operating
Phobia Phear Coaster Premier Rides Launched May 7, 2016 Operating
Wildcat Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Wooden 1927 Standing but not operating
Zoomerang Vekoma Shuttle June 27, 1997 Operating

Past (2)

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Relocated
Green Dragon Bowen & Moore Wooden 1914 1926 Unknown
Roll in the Dark Unknown Enclosed
1979 1982 Unknown



Name Manufacturer Type Opened
American Flyers Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters 2003
Antique Carousel Charles Looff Carousel 1911
C.P. Huntington Train Chance Rides Miniature Railway 1997
Down Time S&S Worldwide Drop Tower 2004
Drop Zone Moser Rides Junior Drop Tower 2004
Drum Circus Sartori Junior Teacups 1997
Fantasy Carousel Morgan Junior Carousel 1997
Flying Elephants Sartori Junior Jets 1997
Giant Wheel Chance Rides Ferris Wheel 1997
Ghost Hunt ETF Ride Systems Trackless Dark Ride 2008
Jolly Jester SBF Visa Group Junior Pirate Ship 2009
Little Critters I.E. Park Junior Dodgems 1999
Little Dare Devils Hampton Rides Roundabout 1985
Pirate Ship HUSS Pirate Ship 1986
Rainbow Riders SBF Visa Group Balloon Tower 2007
Rev-O-Lution Zamperla Disk'O 2011
Saw Mill Plunge Arrow Dynamics Log Flume 1987
Skycoaster Sky Fun 1 Inc. Skycoaster 1998
Thunder N' Lightning S&S Worldwide Screamin' Swing 2006
Thunder Rapids Hopkins River Rapids 1997
Twister Wisdom Rides Tornado 2000
Wave Swinger Zierer Waveswinger 1986
Wipeout Chance Rides Trabant/Satellite 2009
Zoomer's Gas N' Go Chance Rides Track Ride 2007


Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
American Flyers Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters 1997 2000 Stored
Enterprise HUSS Enterprise 1986 2015 Relocated to Kennywood
Ferris Wheel Eli Bridge Company Ferris Wheel 1967 1985 Unknown
Ghost Hunt Barbisan Tracked Dark Ride 1999 2007 Attraction retained - ride system replaced
Laff In The Dark R.E. Chambers Tracked Dark Ride 1938 1978 Parts sold
Musik Express Mack Rides Superbob/Musik Express 1985 2008 Unknown
Roto-Jet Kaspar Klaus Jets 1955 Unknown Unknown
Rotor Chance Rides Rotor 1997 2010 Scrapped
Sky Ride CTEC Ropeway 1997 2017 Scrapped
Top Spin HUSS Top Spin 1997 2002 Relocated to Kennywood


  1. Goddard, Eleanor (1965-07-02). "Lake Compounce offers Indian lore". The Journal. p. 11. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  2. "A Connecticut Park Amuses Young and Old". Daily News.
  3. "Amusement Park Prepares for Its 140th Year". Hartford Courant.
  4. "Hershey to pull out of amusement park at Lake Compounce". Hartford Courant.
  5. "Letter signed for Lake Compounce sale". Hartford Courant.
  6. "Festival park found in contempt". Hartford Courant.
  7. "Lake Compounce gets clearance for concerts". The Berkshire Eagle.
  8. "Lake Compounce owner optimistic about expansion". Hartford Courant.
  9. "New team sees big things for old park". Hartford Courant.
  10. New Chapter in Kennywood Entertainment History Announced - Kennywood Entertainment (Wayback Archive)

External links