After remaining dark for the entirety of the 2020 amusement park season for the first time in its history, Oaks Park is now ready to fire up the Ferris wheel.
The association that operates the 116-year-old attraction on the east side of the Sellwood Bridge announced today it will reopen all of its rides, miniature golf course and midway games on April 17.
The ongoing pandemic has forced Oaks Park to make some changes to keep staff and the public safe. For instance, would-be visitors must first purchase entry online in advance, and there will be a limited number of tickets available each day on a first-come, first-served basis to keep crowds at bay.
Additionally, masks need to be worn at all times except when eating and drinking—all of that shrieking on the park’s 72-foot-tall roller coaster can spread air droplets—and guests must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet from others. Oaks Park says its staffers will ramp up sanitation throughout the site, and daily health checks are required for employees.
Admission includes access to all of the rides, though patrons will need to pay a separate fee to access the roller skating rink, mini-golf course and games. There are attendance caps in place at those venues as well.
The reopening not only comes with a slew of job opportunities—200 positions are now available after the park whittled down the staff to 12 last year—but also a brand-new attraction for thrill seekers: AtmosFEAR. The pendulum-style ride swings side to side, or you can opt for the 360-degree experience, which shoots passengers 100 feet in the air before dropping them back toward the earth on the other side.
Oaks Park had to call off its 2020 season in August after Gov. Kate Brown's office still had not given it the OK to resume operations during the pandemic. Enchanted Forest, located about 10 miles south of Salem in Turner, salvaged some of its year in late June, but it's located in Marion County, which was in Phase 2 of reopening at the time, while Multnomah County remained in Phase 1.
That amusement park also has plans to open this spring, but has yet to set a date. The property suffered extensive damage following the February snow and ice storm, but cleanup has been underway.