I was 10 when I received a set of K’Nex for my birthday – and with the construction play set you could build theme park staples such as a Ferris wheel and a carousel. These toys captured my imagination and started a lifelong obsession with theme parks, roller coasters and thrill rides.
By 11, I was Gold Reef City’s biggest fan – and have made it a personal mission to attend the park annually. In the past three years, however, work and my social life resulted in waning attendance.
Coupled with the fact that most of my friends aren’t really thrill-seekers, it simply became tougher to visit the faux mining village. Last weekend, I celebrated my 28th birthday and to cover the icky feelings of ageing I tried to cling to a bit of youth by persuading a small group to join me at the theme park for a day of thrill-riding.
Although I can no longer brag about exemplary attendance at the theme park, I can proudly proclaim the excitement of visiting Gold Reef City is not lost on me – and I wanted to share that experience.
I’ve also discovered that, with age, Gold Reef City becomes an interesting place to navigate and you have more to do than simply dashing from ride to ride.
Aside from the brats
Gold Reef City is noisy. To make it worse there are groups of teenagers that escaped parental supervision for a day. They make it their mission to be obnoxious and incredibly grating while waiting in line. They will use a scout to hold places in the queue and without flinching shove in front of you. They light cigarettes and are unruly. I applaud them for using their bit of freedom to explore other people’s boundaries. If you visit Gold Reef City with an adult group be mindful of these rebels, and also calmly deal with them – remember, you were young once too.
Bring your shade game
Take a cap or at least treat your skin to a generous helping of sun tan lotion before entering the gates. You can stand in line for a while at rides and can easily leave a few shades darker.
Follow the rules
Don’t skip lines or use other people to keep a spot for you in line. It really aggravates those waiting behind you.
Complete different areas
The park is divided into areas, such as Thunder Mountain and Pirates Cove. Complete all the rides you want to ride in each area before exploring the park further.
Don’t bring your phone
Sure it will be nice to snap a selfie at Gold Reef City but rides here have inversions, spin quickly and even hose you with water. Don’t bring valuables inside.
Try and talk everybody in your party into riding all the rides. You only live once and even though some rides look scary, they actually just give you a rush of adrenalin. It also ensures everybody has the same experience they can regale friends with.