Lil' Buddy's Blog: Chicago Kiddieland Closes This Weekend . . . And It is SAD!

Real Estate Agent with Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL


Buddy Writing His Blog , 1Writer's Block!  It's a terrible thing!  Even for dogs, you know!

The word "Nostalgia."  Look it up!  It derives from the Latin "nostos" for "home," and "algia," for "fervent desire, longing."

It's why my first Little Brown Water Dish - the one with the imprinted paws on the side, means so much to me.  And why the very first tree I ever marked - the big Maple Tree in front of our Casa Moss home in the South Edgebrook Neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago - holds a very special place in my little heart.

This weekend, Kiddieland in the Chicago Suburb of Melrose Park IL will be open to the public for the very last time. Vikki Ortiz Healy wrote a tribute in yesterday's Chicago Tribune. 

The family-owned amusement park, with thirty or so rides, geared primarily to little human kids, is not very large.  It's Little Dipper Roller Coaster - not very scary. 

But the passing of this local landmark - one of the last of it's kind across the country that is owned by a private family, rather than corporate owned, and catering to small children, rather than older teenagers hoping to get a head rush from a mind-numbing roller coaster drop - leaves me, as a dog, a bit sad!

All summer, attendance has been at record levels at the smallish, 17-acre amusement park.  Thousands have passed through its turnstiles this year, knowing this will be there last opportunity to do so.

The park closes to the public for good this Sunday, September 27th.  It will be open for a private final celebration the following weekend, but only for those who have paid high prices, via Ebay, for a chance to be the last people to ride on one of the park's gentle, child-friendly rides.

Back in the day, you history buffs, you might remember when small, kid-friendly parks with themed rides dotted the Chicago area.  Santa's Village in East Dundee IL, Adventureland in Bloomingdale IL, Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom in Oakbrook Terrace, Old Chicago in Bollingbrook IL.  All gone!  Long Gone!

But, since way back in 1929 - 80 human years, or 560 dog years ago - Kiddieland has held its ground.  And now, it has to close down!


There is a rift between two factions of the family who owns Kiddieland.  One side wants to keep it open.  The other - close the prime piece of land, across the street from the Maywood Park Harness Track, and diagonal to a Menard's Home Improvement Store, and turn it into another strip mall.  Or condos.  Or something!  As of yet, no specific plans have been submitted to the Village of Melrose Park IL detailing proposed use.

A few warm-hearted folks have even discussed buying Kiddieland from the family to keep it open, citing the big throngs of customers in their final year.  But, alas, the business this year is just a mirage.  Business has declined steadily in the park for years prior, as competition, from the Internet to mammoth Great America Theme Park in the Chicago Suburb of Gurnee IL, has eaten at its business. 

If you are a business person, you might say that the land where the old amusement park sits is not at its "highest and best use."

So, these days, you dogs, speak a bit reverently to our Team Leader Dean on September 27th, the day Kiddieland closes.  It will be a sad day for him, as another one of his childhood memories bites the dust.  It's also his birthday, this Sunday - perhaps a bit fitting!

And be careful how you approach him.  Or, we might begin to wax nostalgic about the Chicago iconic mega-amusement park, Riverview Park.  That much larger, seven-roller-coaster childhood fun campus met a similar fate - but 42 years ago, on Labor Day, 1967, when Dean was only 11 years old. 

That storied Chicago Amusement Park closed suddenly, however, with no warning, and no last opportunity for one last ride!

Bark with you next week, you dogs!  Enjoy the Chicago Weekend!

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