Amarillo Convention and Visitors Bureau
1000 S. Polk St. * Amarillo, TX 79101
806-374-1497 * (FAX) 806-373-3909
April 8, 2011
Eric W. Miller * Director of Communications

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Sixty years ago, Paul Roads had a dream. If he built an amusement park, the children would come. But his problem was where to build it. His vision took Paul and his wife, Alethea, from their San Angelo home to a barren hill in Amarillo’s Thompson Park. It seemed the dream would die right there for lack of water.

“There were no trees, just scrub grass and sand burrs,” Mrs. Roads remembers. “It was pitiful.” So pitiful that Paul and Alethea headed home to San Angelo.

“We only got as far as Canyon when we decided to give the location a second look,” Mrs. Roads laughs.

With the promise of transplanted trees and grading to level the area, Mark Miles, then the city’s Parks and Recreation director, convinced the Roads to give Amarillo a try.

On August 12, 1951, Kiddie Land opened with three rides: the Hershell kiddie boat ride, the Lil’ Dipper roller coaster, and a kiddie car ride built by Mr. Roads. With these three children’s rides and a make-shift ticket booth made out of a shipping crate from one of the rides, Kiddie Land was an instant hit.

During the next ten years, Mr. Roads continued to work a day job as a fabricator at the Amarillo Air Force Base and spent his nights and weekends working at the park. Finally, he had to choose between the park and his day job. He chose the park and never regretted his decision.

Today, the Roads’ daughter and son-in-law keep the dream alive. Paul and Paula Borchardt have been an integral part of Wonderland for over 40 years, bringing keen business sense, innovation, upgrades and fantastic new rides.

Its 60th birthday season opens weekends (Friday-Sunday) starting on April 2, 2011 and daily operations start on May 27, 2011. Closing day is Labor Day, September 5.

This year, Wonderland has 28 rides and more than 35 games and attractions for admission prices ranging from $16.95 to $23.95. It is surrounded by a lush green forest of today’s Thompson Park.

The Borchardt’s invite their loyal customers to join the 60th celebration by sharing their Wonderland memories and photos.

“We know that many memorable events have happened at Wonderland over the past six decades,” Paul Borchardt says. “We’ve hosted weddings, watched a proposal on the top of the Ferris Wheel and even raced ducks down the log ride chute. But there are many more memories that haven’t been shared.”

Be a part of Wonderland’s 60-year celebration; submit your favorite Wonderland memory at


The Amarillo CVC is the premier marketer of Amarillo. Our mission is to increase hotel and attraction visitors by promoting the Amarillo area as a unique destination.

Visit the Amarillo CVC website at