Lost Michigan Amusement parks.

Timber-Rider's avatar

I was just looking at another website that lists Michigan's Past and Present amusement parks. The most impressive were Edgewater Park, and Lake Lansing which were operating as late as the 1960's. However, I did not know that we have had over 35 parks here over the years. Now down to just one, and a few old attractions like Dutch Village, and Air Zoo, which are really nothing more than a few rides between them.

But, my main reason for looking was to find a lost park which seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. That place was called Plank Road Farm. It wasn't much, just a big farm with a petting zoo, hay rides, and the only flying carousel I have ever seen. I know that it was open back in the 1970's, because I went there on a class field trip, where we also toured their cider mill, where we all got free apple cider jugs to take home.

I also remember that there was another tourist trap not far from there, that was kind of like an old ghost town, that had a really great ice cream parlor where we all stopped to get ice cream.

Another cool place that we all loved was at the Wooden Shoe factory in Holland. They had all these crazy walk through houses, including an upsidedown house, and a sideways house. They also had a dark maze, but I was always too afraid to go in there. They also had a strange shack that had a dragon in it, and no matter where you stood, it looked like the dragon was staring at you. But, all those fun places were torn down, and replaced with a hotel. That whole area has changed to commercial. The Wooden Shoe factory is the only thing left. Dutch Village sits right next to an almost empty outlet mall, with another shopping mall and strip malls all around it.

Miss those old places. Dutch Village is still open, but, has lost it's old charm.

The wbsite that you visited did it happen to mention the amusement park that used to be at Pere Marquette beach? Can't really tell you the years it was there, but I do know they had a wooden coaster and a mouse ride of some kind also. I seen pictures of the park at the museum last year when I went and gave blood and had some time to kill afterwards.

Timber-Rider's avatar

I'll look and get back to you. The only park I know of that ever had a Mad Mouse in that area is Michigan's Adventure, but that's still open, and is owned by Cedar fair. The Only other amusement park in that area was a water park, called Pleasure Island, but that was a water park, and closed down a long time ago. I didn't see any other parks on the list from The Muskegon area. Most were located near Detroit, or in southern Michigan. A couple near Bay City and Flint, but that's about it.

Last edited by Timber-Rider,
Jerry's avatar

I think you're thinking of Irish Hills and or Stage Coach Stop? It's near Brooklyn Michigan?

Michigan is greatly underserved relative to its population when it comes to amusement parks but there is a good reason for this. Nobody in their right mind would build a park near Detroit because of the bad demographics and economy in the area. The only possible exception might be a kid orientes family park far enough away from the inner city to avoid teen and young adult problems.

Bob-Lo Island received most of its patronage from Mighigan residents but the park was in Canada. This was back in the good old days when crossing into Canada was free (except for tolls or fares).

Arthur Bahl

Jerry said:
I think you're thinking of Irish Hills and or Stage Coach Stop? It's near Brooklyn Michigan?

The par I am thinking about was at the Pere Marquette Beach, probably back in the 30's or 40's. Also if a remember the pic correctly im sure it was a wooden mouse like Blackpool's.


Guess I was wrong it was a figure eight roller coaster.

My mother-in-law lives in Bluffton now and you can still see where the trolley once ran through the woods.

Timber-Rider's avatar

Most of the older parks in Michigan were trolley parks, as were most of the lost parks in the united states, mainly built to get people to ride the trolley.

We had a park in Grand Rapids, Michigan called Ramona Park that was located at Reeds Lake. It had a roller coaster, and one of those large rocket ship swing rides. It seemed like almost every park had the same rides back then, which was probably part of their downfall, that and the automobile came along and killed local tourism as people could drive to more exciting places.

The rumor is that the owners of Ramona Park decided there was more money in selling the land that the park was sitting on, then keeping the park open. The area where the park used to be is mostly apartments, and a marina. The only thing that is left is a few buildings in what was gaslight village. I'm not even sure if that is there anymore. But, I sure would have liked to have seen it.

I think it closed in the 1950's.

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