This past spring marked a milestone in the world of dark ride enthusiasts as Whacky Shack at Waldameer Park in Erie, Pennsylvania turned 40 years old. The “Shack”, as it’s referred to by many enthusiasts, was built during the winter of 1969 and the spring of 1970 by Bill Tracy of Amusement Display Associates, Inc. and has remained well-preserved and mostly unmodified during its 40-year tenure in the park.

Forward To celebrate the Shack’s anniversary, a behind-the-scenes event was held by DAFE (Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts) and coordinated by Rick Davis at which attendees had an opportunity to explore the Shack on foot, take photos and video, and talk to several key people that are involved with the attraction.

During our visit, we had the opportunity to converse with several icons in the industry, including Paul Nelson, owner of Waldameer Park, Perry Duncan, who assisted Bill Tracy with the ride’s construction, and ride operator and dark ride enthusiast Randy Skalos. Our conversations and experiences of that day revealed many interesting facts about the ride and further reinforced how “true to Tracy” the Shack really is.

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