Remember When Boise Had an Amusement Park?
Once upon a time in a land not so far, far away lived a Roller Coaster, a Tilt-A-Whirl, a Ferris Wheel and more...but their memory has long since vanished.
Last week, I went down a rabbit hole while writing our "How Old Boise Are You?" poll. Full disclosure, I moved to the Treasure Valley about nine years ago, so unfortunately I missed out on all the great memories in the poll. While researching it, I was shocked to find out that a building that I run past on the Greenbelt all the time used to be a roller skate and tube rental shack called Wheels R Fun so I decided to Google it...which led me to a Reddit post about Boise Fun Spot.
That's when the pieces started coming together. The previous weekend, a friend swore her parents once told her Boise used to have an amusement park but couldn't remember where it was or what it was called. This HAD to be it!
Thanks to some generous contributors to the "Boise & the Treasure Valley History" group on Facebook, I was able to dig up a few photos and memories of Boise's own little amusement park that used to live near where the paddle boats are currently located at Julia Davis Park. It's hard to pinpoint the exact day the Boise Fun Spot/Boise Depot opened, but Facebook user Pam Walker shared this photo that her father took of the park's roller coaster in 1965.
Group member Tim Martin shared that the roller coaster was a "Mad Mouse" coaster designed and manufactured by the Allan Herschell Company in the early 60s. Over the years, the company manufactured 183 kid friendly roller coasters around the world, many of which have been removed or are currently in storage. As far as we know, the last "Mad Mouse" coaster produced by the Allan Herschell Company is located at Little Amerricka Amusement Park in Marshall, Wisconsin.
The Boise Fun Spot was also home to other family rides like a ferris wheel, airplane ride, bumper cars and a Tilt-A-Whirl, where plenty of kids got sick after insisting to their parents that their tummies could handle it! If the rides were too much of a thrill for you, you could try your luck at the mini-golf course or chow down on cotton candy, caramel apples or ice cream from one of the Fun Spot's food vendors.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when or why the Boise Fun Spot closed, but Reddit user "Geekslinger" dug through archives and found information indicating that its operator failed to maintain the lease and the city decided to to tear down the rides. They believe that the park had been completed, but many contributors to the Boise and the Treasure History Group believe that the park stopped operating in the late 90s. The mini-golf course survived a few more years before being removed.
Many group members remember the Boise Fun Spot fondly, saying that it provided a much more cost-effective way for families to enjoy rides than going to the Western Idaho Fair. In fact, a few of them grew-up believing their parents had actually taken them to the fair and didn't realize it until much later in life.
Were you around for the Boise Fun Spot era! If you were, please share your memories! Maybe you still have one of these tokens sitting around somewhere! If you weren't, check out these photos that the contributors from the "Boise & the Treasure Valley History" group granted us permission to share with you.