Friday, October 23, 2009

Pictures from KiddieLand Closing Ceremonies

Attached is the link of pictures from the closing ceremonies and the history of Kiddieland.

Our closing ceremonies on October 4, 2009 were both happy and sad for all of us who attended. It was good to see generations of families at the park enjoying the opportunity to have one last ride on their favorite Kiddieland ride and then for the winning bidders to ride the last ride ever on specific rides. As we went from ride to ride, first telling the crowds when the ride was purcahsed and installed, we shared in the memories of hundreds of guests. We hired a professional photographer to come out and take photos of every guest in their seat prior to the last ride. After the ride was over we posed with every guest who wanted to to have additional photos taken. While many guests purchased photos from the photographers on that day, many others did not and have asked about getting them now. The photographer has created an electronic album where guests can view all the photos taken and then if they desire to, purchase them directly from the photographer. Guests can follow the link below to their website to view the photos.

Sorry that some of our picture are not showing up and that others are a little Fuzzy. I am working on getting new and better quality photos.

Grandpa Fritz's first Pony TrackThe year was 1929, "the year of the Great Depression," and Arthur E. Fritz (Grandpa Fritz), like many other Americans, found himself in financial trouble. A builder/contractor by trade, Grandpa Fritz was unable to collect payment for his work. He managed to pay all of his creditors and with the little money he had left, he purchased six ponies and offered rides to children. Grandpa felt that in spite of hard times, parents still would try to save a few dimes for a little family entertainment. His pony rides soon proved to be a popular attraction that allowed parents to forget their troubles temporarily while they watched their children smile and have a little fun.
Although this was before the era of "kiddielands", Fritz thought about expanding his operation. Upon learning that a local newspaper was giving away gasoline-powered miniature cars to children as subscription premiums, he noted the names and addresses of the individual winners and soon followed up with offers to purchase the miniature cars. These became an additional attraction, along with the increasingly popular "Pony Rides".By the mid 1930's Fritz had given his little park a name - KIDDIELAND . This

Founder: Art Fritz in his Gasoline Powered Train that was painted to match the Chicago and Northwestern Linewas the first use of the name "KIDDIELAND ." However, his attempt to register the trademark failed, and the name eventually was used generically in reference to the type of park he envisioned - an amusement park with rides, geared primarily toward children by the nature of their size, speed and action. Fritz set standards of operating a safe, friendly, good-valued amusement park with standards of cleanliness and safety that continue to this day. Art Fritz has been credited with "launching a whole new development in the outdoor amusement industry." By 1940, Fritz had added the "German Carousel", two Miniature Steam Locomotives, the "Little Auto Ride", the "Roto Whip" and the "Ferris Wheel". The latter two rides are KIDDIELAND's oldest original rides coming to the park in 1938 and 1940!
The 1940's brought the era of "World War II" and as one might expect, delayed further growth and development at KIDDIELAND until the post war years. Still, as Grandpa Fritz believed, parents and grandparents always found a way to bring the children out to the Park to make some memories and escape their problems for the day.

The Little DipperBy 1950, Fritz once again was expanding his dream of the perfect place for families to bring their children to smile and have fun. Seven "kiddie rides", the "Merry-Go-Round", a hand-carved wooden carousel that still greets Guests as they enter the park and "The Little Dipper", a small wooden roller coaster, had been added to the park along with several maintenance/storage buildings. By this time Fritz's daughters and their spouses (our second generation) were well involved in the operation of the park and the growth and development of the park continued throughout the 1950's. Some existing rides were replaced with others.
In 1962, the original "Pony Ring" was removed and the "Scooters" were installed in its place, along with significant additional expansion to the

Kiddieland's Firetruck brings a child's Birthday Party to the Parkpark. By the late 1960's, several "thrill" rides were purchased to appeal to older children and teenagers. KIDDIELAND was beginning its evolution into the "family park" that it is today. At this time KIDDIELAND was operating with about 20 rides and attractions. In 1967 our founder Arthur E. Fritz,
The PolypGrandpa Fritz, died unexpectedly before he saw the "Polyp", the last ride he purchased, installed and operating at KIDDIELAND . Grandma Fritz (Anne) and our second generation continued to operate the park for the next ten years. Some of Fritz's grandchildren (our third generation) were involved in the park's operation by this time.
In 1977, KIDDIELAND was purchased by three of Fritz's grandchildren and their spouses (our third generation). Two of these families and their children (our fourth generation) are the Park's current owner/operators.

The Mushroom Ride The late 70's marked a change in the vision of KIDDIELAND 's future. The growth and development was in the direction of "Fun for the Entire Family." Additions in 1978 and 1979 included a game building and the "Mushroom Ride."

The Race-A-BoutsEarly in the 1980's, park growth and development continued with the addition of the ever popular "Race-A-Bouts",a gasoline powered antique auto ride that intertwined with the north loop of our train tracks and encompassed two small ponds. The original game building added in 1978 was replaced with a larger more accessible building, and the "Volcano Playcenter"
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The Volcano Playcenterwas designed and built. This area was a play area designed to help enhance a child's gross motor skills with net climbs, a ball crawl, tube slides along with a kid powered "Raft Ride". These elements were built into and around a

The Hand Carsscaled down realistic replica of a volcano and also included one of the most remembered and mentioned KIDDIELAND ride, the "Hand Cars".
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The GalleonOur last major addition to the park in the 1980's was the "Galleon" a high swinging brightly lit pirate ship that was installed in 1986. Late in 1987, Anne Fritz (Grandma Fritz), the wife of KIDDIELAND 's founder, died.
The 1990's found the owner/operators of KIDDIELAND thinking "bigger and wetter"! Late summer of 1992 marked the premier of the single most
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The Log Jammerambitious project KIDDIELAND had ever undertaken. The "Log Jammer" , a log flume water ride designed and geared toward total family use and enjoyment, finds our Guests riding in large log boats on a fast paced winding river of water until they reach a lift that carries the log boats 35 feet above the racing waters. The logs then fall into a short elevated trough of water, which carries them to a peak before plunging them screaming down into a large pool of water, creating a giant splash before coasting around back to the station building. The station was recreated from a "post & beam" building that Art Fritz had dismantled and moved down to KIDDIELAND from northern Wisconsin. In Spring of 1995 some reshuffling was done to accommodate our Guests' wishes to have a bigger, better place to eat in the park. The "Sky Fighter" and the "Umbrella Ride" were relocated to the area previously used by our miniature gasoline powered Tractors in order to make room for a new Food
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Food Court & Pizza StandCourt. At the same time other renovations included rebuilding the old Popcorn Stand into an all new Pizza Stand, rebuilding the old front game building so that it now houses our Water Race Game & Can Alley Games along with our Guest Services booth. The entire parking lot was repaved and all new parking lot lights were installed on the perimeter rather than down the center of the parking lots. The spring of 1995 found the entire crew at KIDDIELAND surfing into summer on our most recent addition to our list of rides and attraction,
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The Pipeline"The Pipeline". The Pipeline is a water coaster ride that takes Guests on a river of water, in a small life raft, through a large black tube that plunges them down almost 40 feet in total darkness, through twists & turns, dips & drops until they burst out of the tube onto a spray of water. The motions and feel of the Pipeline are truly that of a roller coaster! This ride, like all of our latest additions, can be enjoyed by the entire family.
The "New Millennium" found KIDDIELAND reaching for the sky with the
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The Dip 'N Dropaddition of the Dip 'N Drop, Our latest addition sits at the entrance of our. Volcano Playcenter. This fun-filled family ride seats our Guests back-to-back and lifts them skyward and gives them a "crows nest's" view of the surrounding rides. The ride takes you through a series of ups and downs and gives you a weightless feeling as your seat drops out from beneath you. Guest squeal with delight as they are bounced up and down. In 2008 we are planning on the addition of two rides. Our Kiddie Swing ride will be at the entrance to the Volcano Playcenter next to the Dip 'N Drop.
2009, Today, finds KIDDIELAND at the begining of its 81st season as a family owned and operated amusement park. It has over 30 rides and attractions and is Chicagoland's oldest family amusement park. "We are about Family, because we are Family". The Park has the reputation of being one of the finest traditional parks in the country. It is with great pride that at the start of its eighty-first year in 2009, KIDDIELAND continues to provide affordable memorable family fun, in a clean, safe, happy environment.
We at KIDDIELAND remain ever greatful for the opportunity to serve our Guests who have proven to be both loyal and supportive of our philosophy. It is our sincere hope that we can extend our lease and continue on for an additional period of time.

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