Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wistful Wednesday: Aqua Park 1978

Back in 1978 Park Rapids had a few tourist attractions.  One was called Aqua Park or “The Aquarium.”

Aqua Park Summer 1978 Park Rapids

The little non blondes are cousins of Jessica and Melissa who are on the far right.  Our daughters;  Trica and Jennifer are the other two blondies.  ( Jen’s shirt is dirty from holding  after a rain shower bunnies.)

Aqua Park had a gift shop with oodles of made in Japan “stuff” that our girls were enthralled with.  You know…Native American drums with feathers, Native American dolls, Yo Yos, Slinkys, playing cards, souvenir pencils and every kind of plastic or rubber animal you can imagine( snakes would be held up and wiggled just to scare their Mom).

There was one display case that was a revolving stair step design, you pushed the button and a new row of jewelry would appear just like magic.  Of course they would have to take turns pushing that button and making sure that one got as long of a turn as the other.

Aqua Park was also known as the Aquarium.  I am not sure of the sequence.  I think it was the Aquarium first and then Aqua Park.  The Aquarium was just that…beyond the gift shop you could enter a darkened room that held huge glass tanks filled with fish. On a hot day it was a wonderful place to visit. Aqua Park had animals; deer, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats and a trout pond.  You could buy food out of a dispenser to feed the animals. 10 cents I think was the going rate for a hand full of some kind of pellets.Aqua Park Summer 1978 Park RapidsTrica and Jennifer with rabbit

Trica and Jennifer with the rabbits.

Aqua Park Summer 1978 Park RapidsTrica with rabbits

Aqua Park Summer 1978 Park Rapids jessica and jennifer

Jessica and Jennifer

I used to babysit for Jess and her sister Missy.  They lived just down the street from us when we lived in Regal Estates in Moorhead Minnesota. Jess was hearing impaired and wore an external hearing aid.  She learned how to read lips all by herself. I went to grade school with Phillip, Jess and Missy’s Dad, he was a year older than me. 

I am looking for old photographs of the outside of the Aqua Park/Aquarium building for the museum.  This one wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but that bear must have had a bit of history himself.  I know he was on wheels so they could bring him inside overnight.

Just like so many small businesses in small towns, this one is no longer in business. Back in the day it was the place to go if you had little kids!

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20 comments:

  1. Was that a stuffed bear? On wheels? I think that is a little amazing all by itself. Great little piece of recent history. :-)

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  2. Your girls are so cute. Such pretty blond hair.

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  3. Lovely photos and memories of this place . I fear not many of the places we all went to back in the day are still in business sad really they were the best places to go to ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

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  4. Your photo brings back so many memories for me. Places I visited and trips I took in northern Wisconsin as a child. thank you for a trip down memory lane.

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  5. Morning, love your post reliving such great memories, enjoyed, Francine.

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  6. What a wonderful place to take kids. I'd have loved to go myself and play with those bunnies!

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  7. A great post today! The photos of the kids are so cute!

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  8. Wonderful to see these old photos and hear about a fun place to take the kids.

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  9. Ah.... I loved Aqua Park and I would say it was the Aquarium and then Aqua Park... I will have to look through pictures... we were just talking about the park recently and a friend said they remember staying at Super 8 and have the peacocks (from Aqua Park) wake them up early in the morning!

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  10. I would have loved playing with all the animals and watching the fish...who am I kidding, I still would!

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  11. Fun photos - now there are only a few places for young families to go and have fun without a lot of expense.

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  12. Back in "those days" these were common attractions. People spent a whole day at these places and it was talked about for years after.

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  13. What great memories and what cuties those girls were. Was that a real stuffed bear? Now that would be a great conversation piece in your living room!

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  14. So fun to see those photos and love the bear out front! Wonder how may kids it scared!

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  15. They were such cute little blondies. I always have fond memories of petting zoos.

    Jen

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  16. Hi there, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
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  17. Whenever I see an old photograph I try to avoid looking at the dates and seeing if I can guess the decade by the look of the photograph - both the colour rendition and the objects within the photograph. I came pretty close with your selection : great photographs with that 1970s feel about them.

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  18. My family has lots of photos with us kids in front of stuffed bears Up North. It was so exotic to stand right next to such a ferocious beast!

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  19. I can remember being to a deer park when I was a kid, but can't remember where it was. My brother, sister, and I had that white blonde hair when we were little. My brother and sister's hair stayed pretty blonde, but mine gradually turned ash blonde to light brown. Great memories! :)

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  20. Their beautiful hair definitely is characteristic of their heritage, isn't it?!! I remember buying pellets from the machines for animals at the places we visited, too. Petting zoos are still a fun place to go.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie