Dallas

This popular DFW amusement park is closing for good after 50 years

Sandy Lake Amusement Park announces that it is closing permanently

A popular attraction for North Texans since the early 1970s, Sandy Lake Amusement Park announced that it is closing permanently. The park lured families with rides, mini golf, swimming and events.
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A popular attraction for North Texans since the early 1970s, Sandy Lake Amusement Park announced that it is closing permanently. The park lured families with rides, mini golf, swimming and events.

Sandy Lake Amusement Park, a popular Dallas-Fort Worth attraction for nearly 50 years and home of the annual FunFest music competition, announced yesterday that it is closing for good.

The announcement, made on the park’s Facebook page, said that the owners have sold the property “after 48 successful years.”

The post didn’t go into details about the sale, but owners said the park was bought by a nearby landscaping company, Southwest Wholesale Nursery, for an undisclosed sum.

“We’ve had 48 successful years,” said former co-owner Frank Rush.

“Things change. Nolan Ryan quit pitching baseball at one time. And we’re going out on top,” he said.

He said he and the other owners were glad to sell to Southwest, which won’t bulldoze the land and build on it, like previous potential buyers had proposed.

Rush, like the other co-owners, lives on the property and says Southwest is allowing them to continue living there for another year as they sell off rides, picnic tables and other property of the park.

The former owners noted on Facebook that while the park’s history dates to the 1930s as a swimming attraction, it wasn’t until 1971 that Sandy Lake blossomed into a true amusement park featuring rides, miniature golf, an arcade, paddle boats and annual events.

One such annual event was the FunFest competition for school bands. The park reported that more than 65,000 students were entertained at this year’s competition.

“At this time I do not have any plans to continue Funfest,” another former co-owner, Suzy Self, said via email. “However, you never know what the future holds in store.”

Self said it makes her smile to know so many kids had the experience of competing at FunFest, which she organized.

“We felt like we gave thousands of students the opportunity to display their musical talents,” she said.

“For years, I would wear my Sandy Lake hat into a restaurant and a waiter would tell me, ‘I was at that music thing,’” Rush said.

The park, which operated seasonally and charged $2 for general admission until the day it closed, said it also hosted thousands of company picnics, reunions and birthday parties over the years, along with giving thousands of teenagers their first jobs.

“If the park’s legacy is leaving most people with golden memories or pleasant thoughts, then the park has done its job,” the post reads.

Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74

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