Ahoy, mateys! You’ve found treasure here at Trimper's Rides and Amusements in Ocean City, Maryland! That is, one of the world’s two remaining Bill Tracy-designed Pirates Cove fun houses. Not only does this one have classic Tracy stunts, it contains plenty of floor gags, the likes of which were deep-sixed by most other parks long ago.
According to Mr. Granville Trimper, he commissioned Tracy to install the Cove in either 1970 or 1971. By that time, Tracy was operating out of Cape May, New Jersey as Amusement Display Associates. The park removed a portable ride and constructed a concrete building to house this Tracy masterpiece. The façade features one of Tracy’s icons - his parade float-sized, sword-waving giant pirate threatening a petrified lookout perched in a nearby crow’s nest.
A similar pirate figure anchors the façade of Pennsylvania’s Waldameer Park’s Pirates Cove and another once stood guard outside the former Dorney Park dark ride: The Tracy-designed Bucket O’ Blood. Trimper’s Pirate’s Cove façade also hosts several other morbid pirate-theme figures and the lower wall adorned by pirate skulls.
To lighten the mood, Mr. Trimper purchased two animated parrots from Sally Corporation to beckon riders into the funhouse.
“So all aboard mateys, for a scar-ri-fying good time,” says one.
Mr. Trimper proudly notes that only minor modifications have been made to Pirates Cove over the years. One of them was a new interior sound system, replacing the individual tape sound repeaters Tracy installed at different stunts. With its sounds of high winds and screaming victims, the chilling CD that now plays inside is a perfect match for Tracy’s ghastly pirate adventure. “I think my son-in-law got that one for us,” recalls Mr. Trimper.
Another modification was made by Tracy himself shortly after he installed the ride. He came back to give patrons two new obstacles even before they entered the building: A draw bridge and a trek over the deck of a small pirate ship that shifts from side to side by your weight. The fun house, near the park’s main entrance, continues to ride a wave of popularity.
So let’s cast off for Pirates Cove before the giant buccaneer turns the tide on us!