In 1976, Hersheypark added a new ride: Ladybug. This replaced the Sailboats kiddie ride which had been in the park since 1928. This improvement was overshadowed by this season being the bicentennial year for the United States, as well as it being the first year since 1971 where no major improvements to the park occurred.
Furthermore, this was the first season since 1971 that the park did not produce a map of the park for the season.
The Ladybug was a kiddie version of The Bug, which was in Hersheypark from 1933 through the 1981 season. The Ladybug was not made by an outside manufacturer, but rather by a handful of Hersheypark maintenance men – Bert Airhart, Morris Deaven, Bruce Hummel, Miles Long, Herb Smith, and Terry Stark.
The track of the Ladybug was made from track of the Miniature Railroad, which had been closed in the latter part of the 1971 season. To convert the Miniature Railroad track into Ladybug track, the steel was heated up and bent into form. This was done by Bert Airhart, Morris Deaven, and Bruce Hummel, starting in late 1974. Work continued throughout 1975. The cars were made out of fiberglass, which was done by Terry Stark. The wheels for the ride were made by Miles Long and Herb Smith.
It has been painted in several different styles over the year, most recently earlier this decade. Originally, each car was painted a solid color with a yellow horizontal stripe. The cars were either red, blue, or green. In 1981, the cars were painted with the familiar Ladybug theme the ride has had in the years since. In this time when the ride, originally named Kiddie Bug, was renamed Ladybug.
A special thanks to Bruce Hummel for providing some background information on Ladybug.
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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.