Joyland Amusement Park was the place if you wanted and it was a fond part of my childhood in the 70’s. It was located on the south side of Wichita, Kansas on Hillside Street and originally opened in 1949 and gave fifty

-five years of fun and memories. The car ride to Joyland was wonderful just knowing you were on your way and soon you would have a fun-filled day of laughter, sweet smells, loud screams and of course cotton candy, my favorite.

Walking up to the gate you could hear the sounds of the choo-choo train and the Wurlitzer organ with Louie the clown in front of who resonated a big band sound through the whole park.

The park had a Round Up, Dodge’m – Classic Bumper cars, Tilt-A-Whirl, a Log Jam, and a Giant Slide, a Ferris Wheel, a Carousel, the Scrambler and The Whacky Shack. The 1949 era roller coaster was a highlight for me. This old white wooden and rickety roller coaster was a blast for me. I rode this roller coaster over and over again. I just loved the thrill of going up that first big hill. It had an 80-foot drop that would pull you up out of the seat! I loved holding my hands in the air and just screaming!

There was also a kiddie-land which was over by the Whacky Shack. I was older then and don’t remember riding those rides much but it was always filled with children. Some of my other favorite rides beside the Roller Coaster were The Whacky Shack, The Round-Up, Mand the Tilt-A-Whirl. The giant slide was fun too. I remember the smell of the burlap sack that we rode down the slide. Sometimes it got really hot but it was still so much fun. The amusement park was once the largest theme park in Central Kansas. Today the site is abandoned and most buildings and rides have been vandalized but Joyland is a part of my childhood that gave me great and exciting memories.

A photo shows where the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel used to be at Joyland. What remains of the amusement park that operated from 1949 to 2004 is being demolished and hauled away. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

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