Current Thoughts & Ideas

How many folks out there know about the "Trip to the Moon" ride in Coney Island in 1904?

I freely admit that I am obsessed with the Coney Island of the early part of the 20th century. So much so that I am working to self-publish a children's picture book that will "go back in time" and depict, through my illustrations, what it must have been like to see the brand new Luna Park, as it was designed and conceived by Fred Thompson.

The "Trip to the Moon" ride as it appeared in 1904

The "Trip to the Moon" ride as it appeared in 1904

Everyone knows Coney Island, both for what it was, and maybe even its reincarnation today in NYC's famous borough, Brooklyn. But how many people know about Fred Thompson's original creation, the one that he premiered at the Buffalo Centennial before he built Luna Park? 

This was called a "Trip to the Moon". It was the original "dark ride" - the kind of attraction that is now a staple of Disney's theme parks. Thompson designed an Airship, with large wings and searchlights fore and aft. It looked something like a giant wooden ship, but it was created to fly to the Moon!

The giant wings would begin to flap up and down. The ship rocked from side to side as it took off from the dock, up into the air. The painted scenery that surrounded the Airship dropped away, and all 30+ travelers on board really felt like they were truly airborne!

The scenery around them would change, and soon looming ahead, was the Moon. The travelers would then leave the ship, to visit real Moon People (Selenites) and a real gift shop! 

I have done extensive research to find out as much as I could about this ride. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any actual photos of the ride itself in action. I have some more detailed information, and a few links in my webpage dedicated to the "Trip to the Moon".