For two days this past week, I was in bed terribly sick. It was the worst I’ve felt in years, and every waking minute of sweat-soaked consciousness was spent wondering if I would simply roll over and die in that bed.
I know that’s a terrible way to start off a Native Eyes article, but I did eventually start to feel slightly better.
Where: 1730 Lakeview Drive Rossville, GA 30741
How much: $31.95 for adults, $15.95 for guests younger than 2 and older than 55
All of my concerns about dying too early to enjoy the crushing weight of student loans, the woes of adulthood and the general cruelty of this world were for naught.
I arose from my stupor refreshed and felt that even in my still semi-nauseated state I could conquer death itself.
So what did I do to celebrate? I picked up some of my younger cousins and headed off to Chattanooga’s very own amusement park—Lake Winnie.
Of course, Lake Winnepesaukah doesn’t really hold a candle to some of the large amusement parks in our fair nation, but for my 12-year-old cousins, it’s heaven.
It’s small, the tourists can be obnoxious, and the air is rank with funnel cakes and hot dogs—exactly how an amusement park should be, in my mind.
The park itself contains approximately 40 rides packed around a small lake—Lake Winnepesaukah—in Rossville, Ga.
Kids of any age and height should be able to get into most rides, but there are a couple with height requirements of 42 and 48 inches, so be aware of the possibility of some disappointment if you have a young, albeit short, daredevil with you.
These rides range in intensity from your basic spinning teacup ride to the newly built OH-Zone, which is a tower that drops visitors 14 stories at 50 miles an hour.
It should suffice to say that that ride in particular did not sit well with my still-disturbed stomach.
However, I wasn’t about to let my nausea get the best of me and my beloved cousins on our day of freedom. We had paid for our all-day unlimited passes and were determined to get the most out of them.
When I am at my best, I can ride enormous roller coasters all day and love doing it.
To me, there is no greater pleasure than being flung through the air at 60 miles an hour or more, but maybe for my stomach that day, it was best that our small hometown amusement park doesn’t offer anything so intense.
We spent several hours running back and forth between our favorite few rides, and I even managed to convince my cousins to get over their fear of heights long enough to hop on the Ferris wheel with me.
After the first three-hour session of loops and twirls through the park, my strength was wavering, and I finally had to give in to the youngest one’s incessant demands for a funnel cake.
Trust me, I know what a good cousin I am.
They devoured their portions while I nibbled around the corners of my own for fear of losing it on the next ride, but I pressed on to our next destination, the SoakYa section of the park.
Being the forward-thinking individual that I am, I had planned for this portion of our trip by packing swimsuits for this new water park, which opened just this year.
Honestly, I had expected a couple of water fountains and a pool, but SoakYa offers much more than that.
The water park area is surrounded by what can be best described as a Lazy Susan-type moat that visitors can float around on endlessly in inner tubes.
At the center is an enormous tower with several flume rides. These alone kept my cousins busy for the next hour as they flew down the sides and sprinted back up to the top to go again.
I was left at the bottom to grade them on their performance at the end of each run.
At the end of the day, I doggedly led my team back to the car. Strangely, even though my body felt like it would break any minute, their energy didn’t seem to be diminished in the slightest.
Still, I held my head high for my accomplishment that day. I had lived through my nausea and fought to keep my title of "Emmett—the best cousin ever" for another day.
No, I wouldn’t recommend Lake Winnepesaukah for the thrill-seeker, adrenaline junkie or even most young adults; but if you’ve got a couple of young ones with you, there’s nothing better.
Just be sure to monitor how much funnel cake they’re ingesting so you don’t have to deal with the blowback of a sugar high later.
Emmett Gienapp is a writer trying to make it through college in Chattanooga. You can usually find him bouldering around the city, catering to pay rent or reading Dostoevsky in public places to appear intellectual. You can follow his column, Native Eyes, on Instagram and Twitter. Also feel free to contact him with suggestions, comments or stories via email.
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