Date Nights on the Legend

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On May 18, excitement fills the air as Arnolds Park Amusement Park officially opens for their 2024 season. Kids of all ages will walk through the gate and race to their favorite ride, especially one fun-loving couple – Tom and Margaret Wuggazer.

Since retirement, the Wuggazer’s have made a point to regularly ride the Legend Roller Coaster. On September 3, 2023, the couple enjoyed their 1,000 Legend Roller Coaster ride of the year.

“When we retired here, we were going to get season passes on the Queen II. When I saw it wasn’t that much more to get the park pass also, I said to Tom, ‘Will you ride the roller coaster with me?’ He said yes and that’s how it all started!” Margaret said with a smile. “He won’t ride the Scrambler or Tilt-a-Whirl with me though.”

On April 9, the Wuggazer’s celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary. They met in college, with Tom coming from Ventura, IA and Margaret growing up in Sioux City. They both have childhood memories of visiting Arnolds Park and Margaret remembers “begging my parents to let me go into the roller rink!”

When their family was younger, they took their son to Disney World and enjoyed a roller coaster that traveled around Mickey’s ears. They weren’t overly fond of Mr. Freeze and Margaret had no desire to try that roller coaster again, while she loves the Legend Roller Coaster.

In 2022, the Wuggazer’s were enjoying Arnolds Park’s rides, and several Legend operators began recognizing the couple’s reoccurring visits.

“The young ladies operating the roller coaster started asking us how many times we’d ridden and to let them know when we got to 100,” she remembered. “This is when we started keeping track. We had gotten to around 800 before the one young lady had to return to Jamacia.”

Then in 2023, Tom and Margaret had a goal, and it was to ride the roller coaster as many times as possible in the year. Some days, they rode it multiple times. Margaret said Arnolds Park is close by and “it keeps us off the streets and out of trouble!”

On September 3, Arnolds Park Amusement Park’s CEO Jon Pausley made a special note to recognize the Wuggazer’s accomplishments on social media, “Wow, what a day for Margaret and Tom Wuggazer! Today, this fun-loving couple took their 1,000th Legend Roller Coaster ride of 2023. This is quite an accomplishment in one year, thanks for letting us share in the excitement.”

When Arnolds Park opens May 18, the Wuggazer’s will be waiting in line with their new park pass. Besides a few rides on the Legend, they may venture over to the Ferris Wheel.

“The Ferris Wheel operators all seem to know that we like to ‘stop at the top!’ Margaret exclaimed. “We love living here – it’s the ultimate ‘staycation!’ We find the area beautiful and peaceful.”

Arnolds Park Opens for 2024 Season

Like the Wuggazer’s, Pausley is excited for the upcoming season at Arnolds Park Amusement Park. During the offseason, every year the Park makes updates or adds new additions for their guests to enjoy.

“We live in such a great area,” Pausley remarked. “Arnolds Park is the perfect mix of opportunity for entertainment and amusement partnered with small town charm.”

In 2024, Arnolds Park has added a Premium Concert Series to Preservation Plaza for the summer, inviting six national artists and groups to perform at Arnolds Park for ticketed concerts, alongside their popular Saturday Night Live at the Lake free concert series. Tickets, along with information on the Saturday Night series, can be found at arnoldspark.com.

It also won’t be long before residents see the Queen II cruising around West Lake Okoboji again, after undergoing its first round of refurbishment. New engines and “below deck” upgrades have taken place, along with the addition of a fully accessible restroom.

“Her Majesty ‘The Queen II’ will be set to sail the waters of West Lake Okoboji for many years to come,” Pausley added.

Inside the Park, guests on the Long Lines Limited Train will enjoy a new train tunnel, as well as a new time capsule mural created by a group of “No Boundaries” Okoboji Middle School students.

There will also be a new rides section at the amusement park, in partnership with ADM rides from Schaller, IA. Pausley said these rides will be geared toward a younger audience and will be in the area by the go-cart track that was once the slick track. New games have also been added for guests to come and check out.

He said many of their staff knows guests like Tom and Margaret, along with other frequent visitors with season passes.

“The opportunity for our staff to know our guests, as well as have national touring artists come to our venues is unique,” he said. “We really have the best of both worlds and local families and visitors have the opportunity to experience smalltown charm with larger venue opportunities.”

Don’t miss out on all the exciting adventures found at Arnolds Park Amusement Park. You may want to join alongside the Wuggazer’s on the Legend Roller Coaster and ride the wildest woody in the Midwest. Maybe a season pass is in order!

For more information on Arnolds Park Amusement Park and their concert series at Preservation Plaza and in the Roof Garden, visit arnoldspark.com. Also, follow them on social media for regular updates and information on The Lake View Deck, which will host expanded hours and a menu for 2024, as well as live music nights.