Joyland Amusement Park
Joyland, Joyland, Little Girl, Boy Land
By: Fran Kentling, Staff Writer
The Wichita Eagle, Aug 3 1979
“Thrills, chills Joyland Fun for everyone " For 30 years folks have walked under that mottoed arch of promise into the world of play. Sounds of the Wurlitzer pipe organ, played by mechanical "Louie, the world's greatest organist” fill the mid-way. After dark, the whirling, swirling, lighted rides blur as you go round and round, up and down. Screams pierce out of the dark as another thrill ride claims it victim's stomach.
GIGGLING TEENS, grown-ups. youngsters - all have bought a ticket to one goal fun. Before 1949, 2801 S, Hillside was a dump area and a trailer court Herb and Harold Ottaway decided to move their East Central amusement park, and, after much work reclaiming the land, the 40-acre park opened with a 2,980-foot roller coaster being it’s No 1 attraction it still is.
Through the years. 15 more acres, extensive landscaping, new rides and other attractions have been added. And Stan Nelson, who worked for Joyland while he was attending Wichita State University, now owns it. Some rides, like the coaster, merry, go-round and Ferris Wheel, are institutions in the park.
OTHERS - the Whacky Shack, Zoomer and Trabant - are more recent. The latter two are creations of Wichita's Chance Manufacturing. The C P Huntington model manufacture train is a good medium for a first look at the park as it chugs along Joyland's perimeter, past the picnic area north and back to the midway's main entrance. You can hear but not see the go-karts racing around the track west of the picnic area.
But the best way to “see” Joyland is to feel it. In amusement park parlance. It is an “Iron Park,” rather than a “theme park” like Disneyland or Six Flags. Nelson explained Theme parks includes “people mover” rides. Iron parks count on thrills to bring people back, he said. The perennial big thrill is the roller coaster. It is America in motion as the blue-and-white-starred and red-and-white-striped cars climb and dip in a blur.
That stomach swallowing, bottom dropping sensation also is obtainable, though in a smaller dose from Joyland’s “dark ride”, the Whacky Shack.