What happened to American Adventure?

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On the edge of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, there use to be a theme park called American adventure. I remember going a few times when I was little. As I got older I completely forgot about it. Not really my fault. No one talked about it. In Britain if you want to goto a theme park you goto something like alton towers, spend all day in queues, get on about 5 rides and go home happy.
I looked up American Adventure on wikipedia and I was shocked to find it had closed. It's even near 2 large cities Nottingham and Derby, but as it turns out it closed after "a period of difficult trading".

The website is now down, however the google cache reveals:
The American Adventure Theme Park has announced with regret that following a period of difficult trading it has taken the decision to close the American Adventure Theme Park near Shipley, Derbyshire. As a result American Adventure will not re-open for the 2007 season. All rides are currently being marketed for sale and the remaining staff are assisting with these disposals. It is anticipated that this exercise will be completed during this year when the leasehold for the park will revert to Derbyshire County Council.

The American Adventure Theme Park states that it has invested considerably in trying to make the Park a commercial success but a fall in attendances, which has been experienced across the UK theme park market, has proved impossible to overcome. The company would like to thank all of its staff and customers who over the years have contributed to making American Adventure a fun family experience.

The theme park has a funny history...
For example, in order of events:
  • It was originally the Britannia park started by Peter Kellard in 1985.
  • It was opened by a boxer called Henry Cooper (one of the greatest British heavyweights of all time).
  • Supposedly it rained a lot on the opening day. (not a great start)
  • Britannia closed 10 weeks after opening with a huge £9.5 million debt.
  • Henry Cooper and various other people were never paid.
  • Peter Kellard was sentenced 4 years in prison for fraud.
  • The County Council bought the park for £2.5 million in 1986.
  • It was sold to Grenada and finally called American Adventure in 1987.
The American adventure started with a log flume, runaway mine train, a Buffalo Rollercoaster, a pirate ship and a ferris wheel. Not bad for something out of the 80's.
Later additions included:
  • Missile roller coaster (which was the best roller coaster in the uk for sometime)
  • Rocky Mountain Rapids
  • Iron Wolf rollercoaster (gladiator tv show themed ride, oh the joy!)
Unfortunately after 1996 the park started to decline. In 1997 Grenada sold it to Ventureworld who changed a few things such as rides, branding and its name to "American Adventure World" though they gave up after a while and went back to "The American Adventure" (saves money I guess).
The park went from something like this: Crazy Cowboys and Indians...

...To something like this: Super happy family park thing

In 2005 some of the rides closed due to just generally being run down and the missile, not fitting in with super happy family park image, was put to bits and sold to Pleasurewood Hills as 'Wipeout'. In January of this year the park officially closed.

The park is now like a ghost town. Check out picasaweb.google.co.uk/gazandflyss/AmericanAdventureGoneButNotForgotten. Some great pictures showing how run down and empty (without people and most of the rides) it looks now.

Btw. I dont own any of these images used in this post, all rights belong to their rightful owners; Ventureworld.

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