Say it ain’t so! Say it ain’t so! But, unfortunately it’s true. KiddieLand in Melrose Park, Illinois is closing its glorious gates after 81 years in business. KiddieLand is a small fun-filled outdoor amusement park located just 20 minutes from Chicago in the town of Melrose Park. It has been a splendid staple in this community and for young families all around Illinois.
What makes KiddieLand such a fantastic rarity is the fact that it is situated in the midst of a densely populated, family friendly neighborhood, right smack dab in the middle of town. Yet, KiddieLand is easily accessible from many Chicagoland suburbs and is reasonably priced, making it an excellent alternative to larger costly parks like Great America located in Gurnee, Illinois.
KiddieLand is a throwback to a simpler time and is preciously enjoyed by nearby residents who could walk to this old school playland on a warm summer evening and savor the sweet taste of cotton candy while experiencing the gusty “woosh” of the thrilling rides that surround them. There are over 30 rides to enjoy including cars, trains coasters and swings. KiddieLand is the stuff kid’s dreams are made of and now it will be gone….
KiddieLand was founded back in 1929 which, believe it or not, was the start of the Great Depression. Arthur Fritz, a struggling construction worker, bought a handful of ponies and charged local families for rides. Even during those tough times, much like today, parents were willing to pay a small fee so that their children could enjoy a little bit of fun. In the 1930’s Fritz expanded the business with the purchase of miniature cars. And soon thereafter, mini cars and pony rides turned into Ferris wheels and carousels. KiddieLand was born!
In the 1970s, three of the Fritz family grandkids purchased the park and throughout the years there have been several different owners. On May 19, 2009 KiddieLand announced to the local press that this year would mark their final season. Apparently their lease on the land is up and they have chosen not to renew it. Their last day of business will be on Sunday September 27th. Many locals hope there will be some sort of museum or display to pay homage to this celebrated park.
Fortunately, KiddieLand is celebrating its final days this summer in a big way. Almost every weekend kids can meet life size versions of their favorite TV show characters like: Dora the Explorer, Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Word Girl, Clifford the Big Red Dog and more. Radio Disney and other local stations will also be making appearances and will be giving away lots of free prizes.
KiddieLand prices range from $20 and up depending on age and the time of day. Prices are discounted after 5:00 pm. Hours vary throughout the season but KiddieLand is usually open from noon until 9:00 pm. Call 708-343-8000 for specific times or visit www.kiddieland.com for more details. KiddieLand is located at 8400 West North Avenue in Melrose Park, Illinois.