Lagoon added very significant addition in the 1950s – Mother Gooseland. Seven years in the making, this feature opened on May 5, 1956 at a cost of $150,000.
Centered around Mother Goose rhymes characters, this five-acre attraction feature its own mini-roller coaster, Bulgy the Whale, Skyfighters, a speedway and a total of 10 rides. This was a “Fairy Tale come true” for Lagoon.
There was also a playground with swings and a sand box. Most children also loved the Old Woman’s Shoe, faithful to the nursery tale. There was also a wishing well, a moving humpty dumpty and other nursery rhyme favorites to be found there.
In the wake of the post-World War II baby boom, kiddie parks were springing up across the country in the 1950s. In 1956, Lagoon introduced an area of the park just for kids called Mother Gooseland. This was the first time Lagoon had such a large variety of attractions available for younger riders.
Before that time, Lagoon offered a free playground complete with swings, teeter-totters, slides and even a small wading pool. Eventually small rides were set up near the Carousel such as the Baby Boats and Kiddie Planes.
Mother Gooseland was in an area between the Midway and the Swimming Pool and consisted of some previously exidting rides, several new rides and themed attractions resembling familiar nursery rhymes. The Mother Goose displays were accompanied by a small sign with the first line of the nursery rhyme it was based on.
Practically everything was especially created for children from the rides to the food. An article in the trade publication, The Billboard, related how manager Robert Freed found a way to cater to smaller patrons in Mother Gooseland.
Creative Playthings, a toy company which had entered into the playground industry not long before, was reportedly involved in the layout of Mother Gooseland. Messmore & Damon, a company specializing in stage and film props, store displays and dark ride features, was also in the business of making “kiddieland figures”. They provided many of the original props found in Lagoon’s dark rides. I haven’t found any definite proof yet, but it’s possible they built elements used in Mother Gooseland such as Peter’s Pumpkin Shell, the Old Woman’s Shoe or Humpty Dumpty’s Wall.
Original Mother Gooseland Attractions Edit
Located near the Carousel, this was a small, simple ride with cars sitting on a spinning wheel. This was much like the European Carousel that was later added to Mother Gooseland in the ’60s.
- Kiddie Coaster
The coaster was an Allan Herschell Little Dipper which operated in the same location as Puff The Little Fire Dragon does now. Later on, a playground was placed inside the track and kids would ENTERthrough a giant Hi-Land milk carton under the lift hill.
- Lakeshore Express
The Lakeshore Express miniature TRAIN debuted in 1951, traveling around Lagoon Lake much like the current Wild Kingdom Train. It’s unknown whether or not this was a ride solely for kids, but it was listed as a Mother Gooseland attraction in 1956.
- Jack & Jill's Hill
A small hill with a water well on top. It had two slides accessed by two sets of stairs. This used to BE FOUNDnear the women’s restroom.
- Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe
Originally a TICKET booth, many people remember being able to climb inside this shoe as a kid. Today, it’s the only remaining Mother Gooseland display.
Various Mother Displays Edit
There were supposedly 15 Mother Goose displays introduced in 1956. Other displays include a Ding Dong Well (if it was different than the one on top of Jack & Jill’s Hill), Humpty Dumpty’s Wall, Little Boy Blue’s Haystack and a large mushroom similar to the new one added at the entrance of Ladybug Bop in 2006.
Transition to Kiddieland Edit
Over the years, rides were relocated, removed or replaced. Attractions that were added after 1956 include:
- 1961 I.Q. Zoo (inside Peter’s Pumpkin Shell)
- 1963 Helicopters
- 1964 Hi-Land Playland (built in the center of the Kiddie Coaster)
- 1964 European Carousel
- 1977 Scamper Bumper CARS (replaced the Auto Skooter)
- 1982 Flying Elephants
- 1983 Moonraker
- 1984 Red Baron (replaced European Carousel)
Carousel Plaza, added in 1981, had a Mother Goose mural on the BACK wall which faced the kids’ area. But by the end of a renovation in 1985, most of the Mother Goose references had disappeared. The area became known simply as Kiddieland and Puff The Little Fire Dragon helped introduce a new era for later generations.