Between 1964 and 1965, something amazing happened in Ocean City, Maryland. As Charles “Buddy” Jenkins and Arnold Palmer met, they transformed the Miniature Golf Course and Driving Range on 30th Street into what would become a staple Amusement Park in town for both locals and visitors.
In 1965, six rides–including the double-decker Merry-Go-Round–brought excitement and adrenaline to the property. In bringing the amusement to life, Jolly Roger also hopped on the trending “Salesman” statue train, otherwise known as the Muffler Man. The tell figure you see standing guard at the 30th Street entrance has been there since the beginning, and even had a “relative” as you may put it for some time at the Ocean Playland Amusement Park that was once found on 65th Street.
With new rides and water park slides, Jolly Roger locations soon became an Ocean City landmarks throughout town. Less than 10 years after transforming the 30th Street location, Jenkins acquired Jolly Roger at the Pier and began making major renovations, including the addition of new rides and attractions. We’re going to take a little trip down Memory Lane…
Attractions Throughout the Years
Did you know Jolly Roger once had a Famous Diving Act, Log Flume, and even a Dolphin Act?
Throughout the years, Jolly Roger Amusement Park on 30th Street has really had it all. High-dive performers from Florida would perform two acts a night some summers, incorporating comedy and entertainment into their acts. Leopards and Lions would steal the spotlight for Animal Shows at the park, along with Alligators swimming through the moats at the park for visitors to see.
Along with all of this wildlife found at the park, you probably didn’t know Jolly Roger used to have somewhat of a SeaWorld-vibe… “Back in the day” the amusement park added a custom pool with a saltwater system for their infamous Dolphin Show! Flown in from Mexico, the dolphins performed two shows daily, transforming the park known for mini golf, roller coasters, and water slides into a place for marine-life entertainment found nowhere else in town.
The Amusement Parks have been home to famous “traveling” roller coasters. Can you name any?
In addition to numerous entertainment acts and shows, the park has been home to countless well-known roller coasters such as the King Kobra. You probably know the King Kobra from its original debut at Kings Dominion Amusement Park in 1977. As the first Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop coaster, it had a large draw to park-goes and roller coaster-enthusiasts from across the world. In 1987, the ride was relocated to here to Ocean City at Jolly Roger Amusement Park for two years, keeping the recognizable name of King Kobra.
You know Splash Mountain is home to Jolly Roger’s water slides and attractions, but did you know there was a Jolly Roger Water Park at the Pier?
Riptide Waterpark, Jolly Roger’s water park at the Ocean City Pier, does not ring a bell to everyone who knows the ins and outs of the town. Riptide Waterpark was only located at the Pier for about three years, from 1995-97.
The Slide Tower originally located at the Pier was moved to Splash Mountain Water Park on 30th Street. While water park activities at the Ocean City Inlet sound exciting, Jolly Roger at the Pier focused their attention on what they do best: amusement rides and carnival games for ultimate boardwalk entertainment.
Thrasher’s French Fries
Thrasher’s French Fries… We all love them! Do you know why their taste is still so recognizable, maintaining as the same french fry flavor as back in 1929?
What would a trip to the Ocean City Boardwalk and Pier be without a bucket of iconic Thrasher’s Fries?
In 1929, Mr. J.T. Thrasher introduced a unique way to run a business in Ocean City, Maryland with the beginning of Thrasher’s French Fries on the Boardwalk: a store that sold only one food item–french fries! He took pride in making the “best” french fry ever, making the fries with only high-quality potatoes and ingredients.
Years later in light of declining health, Thrasher sold the business to someone who would adhere to his high standards of quality and expertise, the legendary Ocean City businessman, Mr. Franklin “Crip” Hastings. In 1974 after the death of Mr. Hastings, who had never deviated from quality or tradition, Charles R. Jenkins purchased Thrasher’s, and refused to alter the original secret recipe or the cooking process in the slightest way.
Through five generations and over eighty years, Thrasher’s has changed hands only two times, keeping with its original Boardwalk tradition.