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The Bug | 1933 – 1981

In 1933, the town of Hershey celebrated its 30th anniversary. Previous anniversaries had been celebrated around Memorial Day weekend; this celebration occurred over Labor Day weekend. Improvements made in Hersheypark occurred at the beginning of the 1933 season (mostly involving repainting buildings and beautifying walkways) and at the end of the 1933 season.

One such improvement which occurred in August 1933 was the addition of The Bug, a ride which had operated at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. The ride was manufactured by Harry Traver, and this was one of several rides Traver made through various companies he owned. Other Traver rides included wooden roller coasters and circle swings.

1935 circa The Bug
The Bug, circa 1935
1961 ~ Hershey Park
An aerial view of Hersheypark from circa 1961. You can see the bug right next to Comet, the Mill Chute, and Auto Skooters.

This kind of ride was primarily known as a Tumble Bug; Hersheypark chose the name The Bug for their ride. The model Hersheypark purchased had 5 cars which could fit between 4 and 6 persons. The cars went around on a circular track with hills. It moved at a brisk pace, and kids could ride The Bug with families, though this was more of an adult ride.

This was considered a classic ride by most, and the park even constructed a kiddie version in 1976 called Ladybug (which is still in the park today).

1973 Hersheypark map
The bug as seen in the Hollow from 1973. Other nearby rides include Skyview and Comet, which are still in the park, Auto Skooters, Twin Ferris Wheels, and Rotor, the three of which are no longer in the park.

The ride operated from August 1933 until October 1981. During the 1981 season, Hersheypark planned a significant update to the area of the park The Bug was in – the Hollow. This included removing The Bug from operation, replacing it with a Zierer Wave Swinger. The Bug was dismantled with much difficulty and placed into storage near the Monorail garage in ZooAmerica.

Circa 1984 The Bug scrapped near Monorail [large] [JWGreen]
The Bug, in storage near the Monorail garage in ZooAmerica, circa 1984. Photo courtesy of J.W. Green.
Park management did consider reinstalling The Bug in a long range plan for the years between 1983 and 1988, specifically the 1985 season. However, that plan was never put into action, so The Bug was never reinstalled.

 

Parts of The Bug were sold to Kennywood Park while the cars for The Bug were sold to Whalom Park for use on that park’s Tumble Bug. Whalom Park then sold their ride to Edaville Railroad but the ride was never installed. The Tumble Bug was scrapped in 2010. 

There are only two Tumble Bugs in operation today. Both of them happen to be in Pennsylvania, should you be interested in traveling to ride one. Tumble Bug operates at Conneaut Lake Park, and The Turtle operates at Kennywood Park.


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Harry Michelson View All

I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks on my website, The Amusement Parkives, which I founded in 2016.

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