In 1974, one of Oregon's most unique mom and pop amusement parks closed. Pixieland, located near Otis along the central Oregon Coast, had captivated guests for just 5 short years. Around that same time in Salem, Oregon the Vettrus family decided to add go-karts as an extra enticement to their RV park. What followed was roughly 30 years of amusement park entertainment at what would soon become known as Thrill-Ville USA.
Sadly the park ceased operation at the conclusion of the 2007 season. While it's undeniable that we've lost another piece of roadside history we would like to thank the Vettrus family for three decades of memories.
We've noticed that over the past two years the park has been slowly emptied of rides and other fixtures. With our complete fascination with advertising mascots and their unique histories (as evidenced by our fiberglass "family" of six) we had been hoping for a chance to stop by and take a closer look at the mighty Thrill Man while he was still perched proudly on top of the sign.
Below Thrill Man greets another summertime sunset.
While the park is closed to visitors (the KOA at the rear of the property is still going strong) we were lucky enough to meet Vince, a long time employee of the park, at the gates. After talking with him about our interest in learning more about both Thrill Man and the history of the park, Vince kindly spent some time showing us around.
Remember how much fun these giant slides are? At over 50' tall all this one needs is a new coat of wax to get back up to speed.
A 1971 Jet Star Coaster that once thrilled riders in Santa Cruz, California. We're looking forward to seeing this one find a new home.
Another of the classic rides. A 1949 Rock-O-Plane. Amazing to think about just how many people have ridden this one over the past 60 years.
One of our favorites at the park. "Bulgy the Whale" is another of the great rides looking for a new home.
What amusement park is complete without its own train? We loved the streamline style of the Thrill-Ville train.
One of the biggest draws at Thrill-Ville was the giant waterslide. Standing 55 feet tall and hurtling riders down 350' of fiberglass tubes the waterslide now stands eerily quiet.
One of the things that really caught our eye were the few remaining painted signs. While items like rides and fixtures generally find new homes, many times wooden signs like these are left behind. It's easy to see why - they're worn and faded and understandably a ride needs clear signage. For us, the true value of these types of signs is simply their history. They give us a look at a time when talented sign painters created simple signs by hand.
Another great sign listing the rules for go kart ridership.
A wider look at the Jet Star Coaster - The Ripper.
Ok, we'll admit that when we asked if you remembered how much fun giant slides were we had an ulterior motive :-) Here Mrs. Roadside conducts a highly-controlled experiment in order to confirm that indeed giant slides are still awesome.
The remaining rides are currently offered for sale. If you have an interest in anything let us know and we can give you further information. Prices range from $19,000.00 for Bulgy the Whale to around $100,000.00 for the Jet Star Coaster.
Also, please remember that the park is closed and not open to visitors (there are several No Trespassing signs along with security patrols). The park is no longer safely set up for guests and we'd hate to have someone get hurt - that wouldn't be good for anyone!
Jeff & Kelly