SFGAm may soon be the only park left in the Chicago area.

Monday, May 15, 2006 9:34 PM
If you live in the Chicago area or are familiar with the parks that still reside here, Santas Village's future is still uncertain at this point. Now, we have the oldest surviving park in this area possibly ending its run after 2010. Kiddieland which has been around for 78 years may shut its doors due to a family dispute which I think is very unfortunate and selfish due to personal differences.

If this family can't come to an agreement, they need to try and sell this still profitable park to someone that will continue to operate it as a park.

Click here for the story

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Monday, May 15, 2006 11:09 PM
This is very unfortunate. It's a great little, city park. When I was there last fall, I wished Des Moines still had something like that--Riverview.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 12:47 AM
Sadly, this is all too often the story of family-owned businesses, after several generations of the family are involved, each pursuing their own interests. Chicago's own Pritzker family (they own the Hyatt Hotel company) is a perfect example.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 2:42 PM
Haven't been to Kiddieland since my mom dragged me on the coaster and scared the crap out of me at like 5 years old...yea that was 30 years ago but it would be sad to see Kiddieland close because SFGAm is more for teens and adults. Where would that leave kids to go???
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 2:49 PM
The country needs MORE Kiddielands, not less.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:01 PM
SO MANY "FAMILY" PARKS HAVE DISAPPEARED FROM THE CHICAGO-METRO AREA!

Playland (owned by R. Rocco of Bisch-Rocco)
Adventureland - Old Chicago - Funtown
Fairyland - Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom
Enchanted Forest

Playland was one of the first to fold after GAm made an appearance. It was MY FIRST PARK and developed my love of coasters and this industry.

Thankfully, I am working my dream job as a GM of Enchanted Castle in Chicago's W. Burbs (Lombard). We have 5 parks which includes Haunted Trails and Adventure Trails. We will maintain a niche that fewer and fewer are serving. We are growing and going strong.

Stop by sometime in Lombard and intro yourself. I'll let you try our NEW and FAST INDOOR go-karts or the RAGE 3D Ride FREE!

Keep hope alive for Santa's and Kiddieland! They are true treasures!!!

Ken

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:33 PM
I maintain that smaller, family-oriented parks are probably good ideas, at least in places where land is relatively cheap. Unless you're in a resort area, there is precious little for families to do together aside from malls and movie theaters.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:45 PM

Rob Ascough said:
The country needs MORE Kiddielands, not less.

^ What he said! *Especially* in these day of mega-parks, there has to be places for smaller kids and families....what mother of a 3-year-old wants to try and have a birthday party at SFGAm?

Atlanta has American Adventures, Chicago needs their small park too!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:55 PM
None that I know of.

How about something that I call a "nostalgia and entertainment center"? A small amusement park with a few permanent rides and a number of smaller rides that can be "rotated" every few years to keep them fresh? An indoor arcade, small theater, maybe even a roller rink and/or bowling alley to give people things to do during the winter so the place makes money all year round? There'd be a few shops, restaurants and rooms for private parties. Maybe even a small waterpark since those things make tons of money nowadays.

I think something like that would be great from both an entertainment and business standpoint... definitely better than saying, "It's Saturday night, let's go to the mall."

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:11 PM
^ Parthenon Indoor Theme Park...

Had to look up the name.
Nick Laskaris is the newest Greek god... ;)

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:37 PM
Yeah, but I think it'd be even more than that. It would be something that would offer a number of different things to do, regardless of the weather and regardless of what time of year it is. I'm not too familiar with the Parthenon but I assumed that was just a few rides inside a building. I'm thinking of something that's like a mall IN THEORY but instead of containing crap like Abercrombie & Fitch, Foot Locker and a food court, you'll have a bonafide amusement park, a bustling arcade with pinball and modern games and a soda fountain that serves root bear floats.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:52 PM
Interesting thought...

What you need is a chain of small parks like that. I'm talking urban parks about the size of Kiddieland (about a full large city block). Each park is in a different market, each park has a different selection of flat rides, each park has a signature attraction or two. Each year, some of the flat rides get rotated around the chain. If your favorite ride gets rotated away, no need to worry, it will be back again in a couple of seasons.

Done right, it could work remarkably well. And if you want a model for how to do things right, look at Kiddieland. Where else are you going to find a ride built in 1939 that looks and operates like it was just delivered from the factory last week? Besides Knoebel's, I mean... :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 6:35 PM
Well, at least there still be Safari Land :)
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 11:10 PM
Skyrider, THAT HURTS!

Safari Land is my main competition only a few miles away.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 11:40 PM
Speaking of SFGAm, their Tornado is coming along nicely. I wondered where they were going to put it.

In all honesty they need a larger park on the south side of the town as Gurnee is really up there on the northern tip of Chicagoland

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 12:39 AM
Sorry castle :(
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:05 AM
D'Ho said: In all honesty they need a larger park on the south side of the town as Gurnee is really up there on the northern tip of Chicagoland

Sorta like SFoG, with a spearately-gated waterpark miles away? Also would've increased the distance from The Dells, no?

It's not like SFGAm needed to include the waterpark with the rides park, they had a "captive audience" to begin with... ;)

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:14 AM
I honestly never understood the whole giving the gate away idea. I know people that would have gladly paid to go to both parks.

Also FWIW White Water was a HFEC property before it was a SFI property and I'm sure that has a lot to do with the distance between them. Also I wonder why they haven't branded it HH yet.

The distance from the Dells is what I was talking about. They sort of have the waterpark scene all tied up there in that area. Seriously, how many waterparks does the frozen tundra really need? It is not like that area is warm most of the year. ;)

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:18 AM

Swoosh said:
I honestly never understood the whole giving the gate away idea. I know people that would have gladly paid to go to both parks.

Also FWIW White Water was a HFEC property before it was a SFI property and I'm sure that has a lot to do with the distance between them. Also I wonder why they haven't branded it HH yet.

The distance from the Dells is what I was talking about. They sort of have the waterpark scene all tied up there in that area. Seriously, how many waterparks does the frozen tundra really need? It is not like that area is warm most of the year.


Well you know what they say. It's Chicago. You don't like the weather, wait ten minutes. ;) It's sure to snow...

I agree it would be nice to see something open up farther south in the way of amusement parks. I heard rumblings of things for Rockford or Cham-bana but then again that's been going on for ages *rolls eyes*.

I'm going to be really bummed if Kiddieland goes kaput, and Chitown I totally agree that it's very selfish reasoning if the park closes down. My dad used to take me there as a kid when things got bad after my parent's divorce. It was one of the places we bonded and it has always held a very emotional tie for me. I'll be very upset if it closes.

*sigh*

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 3:18 PM
Exactly Rideman. Each park would have a small collection of permanent rides, maybe a wood out-and-back with a steel structure (to save space and reduce maintenance), some kind of water-based attraction (a small flume or shoot-the-chutes), a Ferris wheel, a drop tower, a carousel and perhaps a small steel mouse or spinning coaster. The flat rides could be rotated from park to park, or even leased from their respective manufacturers and "exchanged" for new rides every few years. The park could boast something new each year while not actually expanding.

The main building for the complex would house everything indoors and to save space, the higher portions of the waterpark could be built over it, with everything leading to a small centralized location that features a few splash pools and other activities. The idea would be to cram as much into a small space as possible, without it actually looking small and cramped.

I think there are a lot of areas in this country- both urban and suburban- that could support this kind of business.

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