The park was a kiddie park operated primarily by the Rocco family. There was free admission to the grounds but you paid-per-ride.
The Rocco's are perhaps best known for being the developers and manufacturers of the Flying Scooters ride. Playland Amusement Park was a small showcase for Bisch-Rocco's kiddie and adult rides.
There were also several ride concessionaires in later years, some who moved to Playland Amusement Park when Riverview Park closed, including one person affiliated with the Adventureland in Bloomingdale, Illinois (advertised as Addison, Illinois).
The park itself was somewhat boomerang-shaped and looked more like a fair than an amusement park, with dirt and gravel walkways and no landscaping. The front and original section had mostly kiddie rides.
There was a great set of Lusse bumper cars and the chilling Pretzel Dark Ride. Also, this is where the last Bisch-Rocco Flying Saucer ride ran (a tilted, rotating platform with two additional platforms that rotated in the same direction, thus providing a whip sensation - see video below). A streamlined diesel train ran through a 300-foot tunnel.
Overall there were 30-40 rides during the parks life, including the Live Ponies, Kyle Express Train, Big Rocko, Octopus, Roller Coaster, Tea Cups, Carousel, Helicopters, Electric Street Cars, Lady Bugs, Little Rocko, Zig Zag, Ferris Wheel, Rollo Plane, Tilt-A-Whirl, Bumper Cars, Boat Ride, Jet Plane Ride, Swingin' Gym, Hand Cars, Sky Fighter Ride, Roto Whip, Cyclone, Mad Mouse, Zipper, Toboggan and the only Electric Bus Ride in the U.S.
The park closed quietly in 1979 with pressure from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) expanding roadways. Sterling Estates' desire to buy the property and the competition from Chicago's newest parks, Marriott's Great America and Old Chicago Amusement Park, made the decision easy.
Playland Park 1969
Rare footage of Bisch-Rocco 'Flying Saucer' ride.
Ride example. Not from Playland.
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR A FULL-SIZE VIEW
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
Contributer: Roller Coaster Database