Sunday, May 22, 2011

Demise of Wisconsin Dell's Storybook Gardens Blamed on Today's Kids

LINKcat title search for "Jack and the Beanstalk" returns 123 results.

On Wisconsin: Dells' Storybook Gardens closes without storybook ending. (Wisconsin State Journal, 5/22/2011)

Excerpt: Storybook Gardens, a staple in this community of fun since 1956, will not reopen this season. The 10-acre park, created by Melvin Flath and known for its fairy-tale scenes, ponds and the Goodship Lolli Pop, has succumbed to the wear and tear of the elements and time.

The park, located between Dells Army Ducks and Noah's Ark, served as an oasis of calm as Wisconsin Dells Parkway exploded with development over the decades. It was also void of video screens, loud music, images of Harry Potter and vampires with GQ looks.

At Storybook Gardens, it was all about bringing old school tales like the Three Bears, the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Sing a Song of Sixpence closer to reality.

"Storybook Gardens has run its course," said Flath's grandson, Jason Field, who manages the property. "What kids know about these characters? Jack and the Bean Stalk, maybe, or Humpty Dumpty. We're at a new generation now.
"  [Emphasis added.]

I've never been to Storybook Gardens myself, but I gotta think its demise can't be blamed on the fairy tales.

Here are some comments from Trip Advisor.  (You might end up believing that two different parks are being discussed.)

Took my four young nieces and they loved it. The animal show was very cute and educational. Clean and well maintained the animals were in great condition and well kept.

I remember visiting Storybook Gardens as a child 50 years ago. When I returned last year, I was excited to see that the attractions I enjoyed, were still in place!

Maybe it has to do more with "deferred" maintenance and the cost of admission.

I had been here when I was a child, maybe 5yrs old. I'm now 36yrs old and the place looks nearly the same! They've painted and done landscaping maintenance since then, but really, not much different.

When we asked why things were in such disrepair, we were somewhat spitefully told that the new owner of the last 6 years has actually repainted and repaired some of the StoryBook Garden attractions as well as added Gulliver, from Gulliver,s travels

As a child, I visited the Dells at least every 2-3 years. Storybook Gardens was a favorite of mine in the very early 80s. Unfortunately, that was probably the last time they refreshed/painted/fixed up this park.

The price of admission is absolutely ridiculous.The price for an adult is $12.95 and children $9.95....

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