Joyland Amusement Park
July 19, 2013
One park I wanted to visit for a long time has been Joyland in Wichita,
Kansas. It is a small traditional park with a nice carousel, a Wacky
Shack fun house and one of the few remaining PTC built and Herbert Schmeck
designed wooden coasters.
Unfortunately that trip never happened and I was never able to walk through
the gates of Joyland before it closed.
Joyland began on this site in 1949 when Herbert, Harold and Lester Ottaway
moved a miniature railroad and a few rides and hired Philladelphia Toboggan
Coaster to build the parks simply named "Roller Coaster" on this site on
the south side of Wichita.
Stan & Margaret Nelson purchased Joyland in the 1970's and ran it until
at the end of the 2004 season when burdened with declining attendance and
aging rides that needed a lot of refurbishment they decided to close Joyland
and see about selling the park. It was closed for 2005 and reopened
in 2006 when the Nelson's leased the park to an outside company. The
new company ran into financial issues and after a single season Joyland
had no one to run or maintain it and Wichita's then only amusement park's
gates were chained shut and the joy was no more.
Instead of the sounds of rides, the laughter of kids and a park full of
life, seven years after Joyland closed the only thing you might hear is
the the wind whistling through all of the trees that have grown up around
Appreciating and loving amusement parks like his father Bond had a hard
time seeing Joyland slowly rotting away. We should be riding that
coaster off in the distance instead of looking at the remains of a park
through a rusty locked gate.