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Amusement Parks: Joyland Amusement Park – a Potted History

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Joyland is a traditional family-owned amusement park located in Lubbock, Texas.

The amusement park is actually set within the grounds of the city’s Mackenzie Park and dates back to the 1940s when it, in fact, went by the name of the ‘Mackenzie Park Playground’. It was an extremely popular leisure attraction from its earliest origins entertaining many visitors, particularly those from the West Texas area. However, by the late 1960s, both the amusement park and the area itself had started to become very dilapidated. This low point in the amusement park’s fortunes, however, was to be the catalyst for its eventual revival.

In 1973, it was bought by Jimmy and Katie Dean who had already established themselves in the amusement park industry owning a number of rides in parks across the state of Texas. Once they had acquired the amusement park, they decided that many changes were necessary if it was to be a successful venture and they began by announcing a change of name – Joyland Amusement Park.

Although Jimmy Dean died in 1993, the amusement park has remained in the family and, today, its president is Jimmy’s son, David whilst his mother Katie and wife Kristi are also actively involved in the operations and management of the amusement park.

The amusement park has always retained a small, intimate feel about it but from its humble beginnings when it started life with just 13 rides, it now has around 30 rides, including 3 roller coasters – the Galaxy and the Mad Mouse, being 2 of its most popular rides. There are also a large number of rides aimed at younger children at the amusement park and family favourites too, including bumper cars and a carousel that actually dates back to the early 1900s. The Dean family’s long term plans include adding other exciting rides and water attractions aimed at the whole family. 

Still as popular as ever, this amusement park usually operates from March to September each year and is open 7 days a week, although only during the evenings on weeknights.

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