End of the Ride for Kiddieland

Thousands show up to say goodbye

By Matt Bartosik
|  Monday, Sep 28, 2009  |  Updated 10:44 AM CDT
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See Ya, KiddieLand

Pixeljones / Flickr

After 80 years, the historic amusement park closed its gates for good.

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See Ya, KiddieLand

If you want your kid to take one last ride on The Little Dipper, you'd better hurry. Kiddieland is closing for good.
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Today, the steam locomotives at North and First Avenues in Melrose Park stand still. The Ferris Wheel has made its last round, and a faint memory is all that remains of decades of children's laughter.

Kiddieland shut down Sunday, marking the end of an era. Hundreds of adults and children showed up before the gates opened, waiting in line for their last chance to see the historic amusement park. Open since 1929, Kiddieland has provided cotton candy, free soda, and great fun to multiple generations.

According to park estimates, about 6,000 people turned out to say goodbye to the Big Dipper and the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Kiddieland is closing due to a dispute between the landowners and the managers of the amusement park. Early this year, the landowners declined to extend the lease on the land.

But what will happen to the park itself is still uncertain.

"Nobody's been able to find out," said Tom Norini, one of the owners, according to Chicago Breaking News. "There's all kinds of rumors."

And while hundreds of kids laughed and enjoyed themselves, the visit was bittersweet for their parents.

T.J. Pleva fondly remembered visiting the park with her parents, and she had been taking her own two children to Kiddieland regularly.

"It's really sad that [my children] couldn't have grown up and have their kids come here," she said, tearfully.

The park's gates closed for the final time at 8 p.m.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, first learned to drive on the bumper cars.

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