Skip to main content
In depth

Amusement Parks: Wild West City – a Potted History

Related: Wonder World Park / Waldameer and Water World / Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch /  Sandcastle Water Park

Wild West City is a theme park located in Netcong, New Jersey.

As its name suggests, the theme park is based on the ‘wild west’ heritage of the USA and features realistic portrayals of many real-life western characters and legendary events, all set within an old western ‘frontier town’.

The idea of the theme park came just after World War II when a group of investors who were looking to capitalise on the fact that the area had started to become an all-year round residential community, rather than just being a ‘summer vacation only’ location and they wanted to attract an increasing number of people to the area, hence the idea of a theme park.

The building of the western-styled theme park began in the autumn of 1956 with the investors behind the project having flown to Dodge City in Kansas upon which their theme park was to be based.

The theme park opened the following spring in 1957.

In spite of the surge in popularity of all things ‘Wild West’ which came about due to more exposure through TV and films, the theme park never really reaped the benefit of that until it was taken over by Michael and Mary Stabile in 1964. Initially, Mike, an ex-army veteran, had simply intended to revamp the theme park at the time and then to sell it on so originally it was looked upon as a short-term investment.

However, it soon became clear that he and Mary had a good combination of both management and ‘hands-on’ skills and, with the help of his children, the theme park would eventually turn into a lifelong family business.

Today, the theme park truly gives visitors a sense of living in the old West. There are 22 live action shows performed each day, alongside the opportunity to take a trip on the ‘Old 97’ miniature train through places like the Arapaho Territory visiting the Earp’s, Doc Holliday and a full cast of good guys and bad ones who are always squaring up in the town’s square.

The theme park also has a stagecoach and pony rides, a petting zoo, miniature golf and there’s both a general and candy store, a working blacksmith and an old 19th century schoolhouse. And, if you get a bit thirsty, swing by the Golden Nugget Saloon which houses a full service bar.

Search for something

More from this author

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update