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TimeQuest Adventure Park celebrates 25 years

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LOUISVILLE - For the past 25 years children, their parents, and even sometimes their grandparents have enjoyed the offerings at the TimeQuest Adventure Park, whether it was a trip down the now nonexistent water slide, nine holes, 18 holes or even 36 holes of mini-golf or a trip through the 50 Acre Woods as part of the TimeQuest Safari Ride.

Thomas R. Dishaw Sr., who operates the park with his wife, Jean, and son, Thomas Jr., said this year the park is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“We’re the longest running family fun park in Northern New York,” he said. “The one in Alex Bay will turn 25 next year.”

Mr. Dishaw said the park opened in 1988 as a nine-hole miniature golf course.

“The only other mini-golf was in Potsdam,” he said, noting that course closed several years ago when the property was purchased by the developers that brought Walmart to its Route 11 location.

The following year in 1989 the Dishaw’s course was expanded to 18 holes.

“Then within the next two years we added the second course,” he said, noting that gave them the 36 holes that they offer today.

“When we first opened it, we called it King Putt Mini-Golf, but as we expanded, we changed it,” he said, adding that prior to the mini-golf course the property housed a water slide.

Mr. Dishaw noted they purchased the water slide from a company in South Carolina.

“The company we got the water slide from was involved in mini-golf too,” he said, noting that ended up being a good thing, because just two years after opening up their water slid, they were told they had to shut it down as the result of a new state law.

“It was a pretty big deal with all of the hotels,” he said, noting many hotels were also forced to close their pools. “Then two years later we got notice from the state that we could keep the water slide.”

By that time, however, the slide had been disassembled and reopening it would have also meant having it staffed continuously by three lifeguards, one at the top of the slide, and then two in the receiving pool at the bottom.

“So we ended up closing the slide and going with mini-golf. It’s been a challenge, but it has worked out great, every year, except for this year, which isn’t the course’s fault, but because of the weather.”

So far Mr. Dishaw said the course has been closed or had to close early 19 times because rain.

“Last year we only got rained out twice,” he said. “Some people would play in the rain, but we can’t allow it, it’s too risky.”

Mr. Dishaw also noted that they were forced to close twice last year because of the heat.

While both of the golf courses and the petting zoo, which includes pygmy goats, ducks, geese and several other varieties of birds, are open for business, Mr. Dishaw hasn’t yet been able to take any guests on the park’s safari ride through, what he likes to call “the 50 Acre Woods.”

“It’s really 60 acres, but we like to call it the 50 Acre Woods like the 100 Acre Woods from Winnie the Pooh,” he said, adding Winnie the Pooh does make an appearance during the journey through the woods.

“Last year by this time we had already brought more than 300 people through on the safari,” he said.

Right now though he said much of the land is underwater. “Normally it will absorb the rain, but the ground is so wet that the water has nowhere to go,” he said.

With forecasters calling for another week of hot weather and a few days in a row without rain, Mr. Dishaw said he’s optimistic about opening the safari ride, which is approaching 10,000 riders this weekend.

“If we get a couple of more days like this one, it will help dry things up,” he said recently during a hot and muggy afternoon.

Another thing that has helped set TimeQuest apart from other attractions is its pricing.

“We’ve always tried to keep our prices reasonable,” he said, adding that soda and ice cream are only 75 cents. Eighteen holes of mini-golf is only $4 per person and if you want to double your fun and play both courses, Mr. Dishaw said that’s only $2 more per person.

A trip on the TimeQuest Safari, which includes visits to such places as Skull Island, the Kuku Village and the Black Lagoon, is $3 per person. Mr. Dishaw said each ride lasts for between 20 and 30 minutes.

Giving examples of some of the animals that have been seen on the safari ride, Mr. Dishaw names off beavers, deer, fishers, otters, groundhogs, muskrats and even a wolverine.

While the couple is happy to celebrate TimeQuest’s 25th anniversary, Mrs. Dishaw said this year could be the park’s last.

“My wife and I are getting too old, so we’re probably going to try and sell it,” he said. “What I would really like to see is someone come in and put in a bigger petting zoo, especially since we have 60 acres to work with.”

Although many recreational businesses struggled over the past few years due to the recession, Mr. Dishaw said with their low prices they’re basically running a “recession-proof” business.

“The last four or five years have been great,” he said, adding that one of his favorite things about reaching the 25-year milestone is watching children grow up.

“We’ve basically got two generations now,” he said, explaining many of their customers are people who enjoyed the park while they were growing up and are now bringing their own children.

When asked why he decided to open a family fun park, Mr. Dishaw, who noted he and his wife at one time owned and operated The Lighthouse Restaurant located next door to the park.

“We had the land and it was something I always to do,” he said. “We have more land here than the original Disney Land in California. I guess you could say this was our dream come true.”

TimeQuest Adventure Park may be found on Facebook by searching for “TimeQuest Mini Golf.”

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