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RJ Classics

RetroJunk Classic: A 90s Summer Vacation

Before I start the article proper, the one here will be virtually the same. I will edit stuff to make it suitable to my standards now unlike then. errors will be fixed as well as whatever else I see fit to be changed or removed. So without further delay, to the article!

As summer quickly approaches, most of us think about outside activities like theme parks, water parks, camping, and more fun activities. However there has been a trend that I've seen that is a bit odd if not disturbing to me and that is whenever I go out in the summer time I barely see any kids playing. I mean as kids we always looked forward to summer vacation. Most of us probably spent it outside. Though over the years it seems kids would rather be inside online, playing games, can't go out because of parent's fears, or they don't have time for them go outside and just play. So with this in mind I thought it would be a fun idea to share what usually happened during summer vacations growing up in the nineties.

So let's start off with the beginning of summer vacation with the last day of school.

The one day of the year that's right up there with Christmas has been the last day of school as a kid. A day long recess that was to kick off your vacation and fun in the sun. Movies, games and even pizza from the local pizzeria as well as cookies and soda. Then as soon as the bell rings to go home and kick off vacation and two months of adventure and fun. Let's start with something that usually takes place at least once a summer.


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Yep the great outdoors, at least that's what they told you. Looking back, while it was fun as a kid, it still wasn't the best of experiences. However there are a couple stories that are worth sharing. This first one is kind of cheating because I didn't start school till that following fall however this trip was when I was five and I was camping at the Adirondack mountains for a weekend. It was my mother myself and a family friend and her daughter (Yes I was the only boy). We made it to the white face mountains and had a picture taken of us at the top of the mountain. Then a trip to Water Safari after.

Though that trip had to end early because after a trip to the water park near by, I got sick. Now fast forward about two years another camping trip. This time with more people. I was offered to drive a four wheeler. Long story short I almost got the thing to do a flip and thankfully all I lost for a time was a shoe. My mom was not amused at this though in my mind it was fun.

So camping was probably the most common to happen during summer vacation. So what else did kids do in the nineties for summer vacation? Well who wants to ride a roller coaster?

Theme parks/ Amusement Parks

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Yes roller coasters, games, and food that could give you a heart attack on the first bite. summer vacations usually aren't complete with out a day to a theme park.

I used to live near a theme park named SeaBreeze and at least once a summer I would go there for the day.

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There aren't really any interesting stories from my times there. However I'll do a top favorite rides list to make up for it and may have a little story to tell.

5. The Yo-Yo

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This ride is a classic even to those that know this kind of ride as spinning swings. There is a little story from this ride. I actually have seen someone's shoe fly off and hit someone. The ride was cut short and thankfully the person was okay. Favorite thing to do was to take off my shoes or sandals and ride it barefoot. It's a nice way to dry off after playing in the water park part of the park.

4. The Screamin' Eagle

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This one I won't lie, scared me out of my mind at first to ride. However after that first ride I grew to love this ride. Again rode this barefoot, though words from the wise this has a metal floor so if you ride barefoot it will be blistering hot during the day.

3. Bobsleds

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This was a fun coaster to ride that was multilevel. Full wooden roller coaster out of the two wooden coasters in the park. It is an old coaster so it'll be quite rickety at times. But is still fun.

2. The Gyrosphere

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This was a must ride for me. It was a scrambler in a dark building with music and laser lights. It felt like a rave party as I used to dance while the ride was going on. Sadly it has been gone for a few years and it will be missed.

1. The Jack Rabbit

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My very first roller coaster this has a special place in my heart. It's something that once you ride it as a kid you're hooked for life.

Honorable mentions:

Quantum Loop

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Sea Dragon

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Vortex (water slide)

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It's the green one in the corner on the top.

While we're on the subject of theme parks why not add water parks to the mix? Water parks are to summer as peanut butter is to jelly. What's a better way to get cool and have fun? Slides, tubes, pools and water fights. As a kid I used to go on the tube rides and still do whenever I get a chance to go to a water park. Not too many interesting stories to share on the subject of water parks though. But good times were still had.

Now who wants a sleepover after a day at the theme park?

Sleep Overs

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It doesn't matter if it's at a friend's house or your own house sleep overs were usually a go to when it came to being with friends during summer vacation. How can you go wrong with going to Blockbuster with your friends getting a game or movie and stay up till late at night, eating pizza, and having fun? Especially if you were spending the day with them.

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Video games? Check

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Blockbuster Movie? Check

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Pizza? Check

So who wants to catch the next showing of Toy Story at the movies?


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What is a summer vacation without a few good summer movies? Going to the theater usually was an adventure when your a kid. When you walk in it's like your in a different world and able to see what's coming out that you would beg your parents and annoy them to insanity to see and sit with a bucket of popcorn that's as big as you were. Not only did I go to theaters as a kid I was lucky enough to live near a drive In movie theater.

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My family and I usually sneaked in a trash bag of home popped popcorn and bottles of soda under a few blankets. Usually we got there early and I played in the arcade for a while then go back for the movie. At one time they had a claw machine and three teens were trying to get a certain Pokemon card. After they left I had my try and got it after the first try. I went back to the car soon after while walking out I heard them trying to figure out who won it.

But with all the time at night for movies, games and friends what will we do during the day?

Summer Camp

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For those who were stuck with summer camps or just day camps with the YMCA. They usually were fun. That is unless you were like me and kept loosing your lunch almost everyday. Yes that happened to me almost everyday I went there as a kid. I lost so many of my fruit roll-ups it's not even funny.

However the rest of the day consisted of usual day camp stuff like crafts, swimming, and games. The one game I remember was a mix of cops and robbers and an egg hunt, the rules are a bit fuzzy in my mind. But it still was a lot of fun. Even though I kept losing my lunch there I had a great time.

But what if you didn't go to summer camp? So who wants to play ball in the backyard?

Backyard Sports

Probably one of the best things to do in the summer day or evening. Even after school before winter it was fun to play a game of backyard baseball or football. I remember playing in a huge backyard with most of the neighborhood kids. We usually played baseball in the summer. In the fall it was football till it started snowing.

Usually we'd talk about what we did that day and catch up on stuff and make plans for the next day if ether a vacation was the next day or something after school. But it was always fun to play outside and then be called in for dinner after a fun game.

But if it was raining, then it was off to Discovery Zone

Play Places

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Hey kids, did you know there were places other then Chuck E Cheese to play and have fun? If you didn't grow up during the peak of the play place frenzy in the nineties then you probably don't know places like Discovery Zone and Fun Zone.

To be honest they were better the Chuck E Cheese. Why you may ask? Well the play areas were much more creative and were bigger. Also the places that served food tasted better. Here's an example. Chuck E Cheese play gym usually was tunnels and over hanging areas to look over the rest of the place or just an arcade.

While places like Discovery Zone had both an arcade and a play gym which had ball pits, slides and even a zip-line that would take half the building and still has room for people to sit and eat. The place I went to as a kid and loved was called Funscape.

Not only was it a play place like Discovery Zone. It also had mini golf as well as motion simulator rides. I used to go there each Easter with my grandmother for an Easter egg hunt. Along with visits here and there with family.

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A pic of the front of the motion simulator rides

So what else is there to do? Well the most cheapest thing to do in the summer.

Hanging Out With Friends

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When you have nothing else to do in the day what's better then calling up your friends and hang out with them for the day? If it's at your place, their place, the park, or in town. It's your friends that make the days more fun and the memories much more memorable. Also what's more fun then having fun with friends at the local arcade?

It feels like when we were kids summer was like a year for us and as adults the days are like minutes if not seconds. I bet that most of us would like to turn back the clock and do a lot more and enjoy it just one more time. I know there is probably a lot more everyone did on summer vacation in the nineties. But this was from my experiences.

This is ThatDudeinTheHoodie saying Live Life and Live Nostalgic.

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Superman Posted on Jun 11, 2018 at 05:33 PM

My experiences during summer vacations in the '90s were very much similar to yours. My cousins and I were always either outside playing in my backyard or out playing in my grandmother's yard if we were visiting her. Those were fun times.

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