IDAHO FALLS — Nostalgic celebration will come to Idaho Falls’ Tautphaus Park with the grand opening of Funland at the Zoo.
The newly restored historic rides will turn again for the crowds at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 12 during the celebration. The community will also be able to experience tasty food, music and activities. Wristbands will be sold for $5 (cash only) and will allow guests an all-you-can-ride experience at the ribbon cutting.
“Funland is an Idaho Falls gem. We are delighted to bring back this place that holds memories across multiple generations,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “This community fundraising effort to assist in the restoration of the historic rides and festive atmosphere will bring smiles to many more generations of city residents. I hope everyone in town makes time to come on out and enjoy the sweet, simple, old-fashioned fun this summer.”
As part of the ribbon-cutting celebration, a time capsule will be placed at the park to be opened after the next 75 years of operation.
Funland has been a central part of the longtime Idaho Falls Park. Opening in 1947, rides like the Eli Wheel, Octopus, train, airplanes and carousel brought the community together. The rides, which were professionally restored to like new condition over the three-year project, will be open at the celebration.
The City of Idaho Falls purchased Funland in 2019 to restore the rides and add the property to the Idaho Falls Zoo’s operations. A Funland Committee under the Falls’ Tautphaus Park Zoological Society was formed, and commemorative bricks and sponsorships were sold. This summer, the attractions began taking shape as new asphalt was installed, lighting was added and professional ride mechanics began working on ensuring safety and functionality.
“There is more space for developing future Funland attractions and features. The city is always looking for generous partners who wish to invest in our community. If you have an idea and the resources to support a family-friendly expansion to Funland, don’t hesitate to reach out,“ Casper said.
In addition to Funland’s opening, the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department will also cut the ribbon to Leo Larsen Drive, which runs adjacent to the rides. The city named the road after Larsen, who operated Funland for 50 years. One of Larsen’s favorite projects was helping with and contributing financially to the zoo's success.
“It’s exciting to open Funland again and remember Leo Larsen’s legacy,” said Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Director PJ Holm. “His contributions to the Zoo and community are remarkable, but it’s his mentorship of the teens who worked for him that is just as commendable. These workers learned the value of hard work and integrity and we hope Funland will continue this tradition.”
To learn more about the celebration and additional information about Funland, visit https://idahofallsidaho.gov/1871/Funland.
Funland will also be open on Saturday, Aug. 12, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for regular operations before the grand opening. Starting Sunday, Aug. 13, Funland hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day weekend.
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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Eric Grossarth at (208) 612-8562 or [email protected].