Piece of Okanagan’s Adventureland theme park gets fairytale ending | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Piece of Okanagan’s Adventureland theme park gets fairytale ending

Adventureland in Lake Country.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Alan Gatzke
February 20, 2021 - 7:30 AM

What may be the only surviving piece of a popular Okanagan fairy tale theme park in the 1970s will be transformed into a fruit and nut stand.

Adventureland was likely the Okanagan’s first theme park. Owners Samuel and Dorothy Pestes opened the park in 1966 along Highway 97 (now Pelmewash Parkway).

The adventure park had a time machine, Old Mother Hubbard's shoe that doubled as a ticket booth and gift shop, a petting zoo, rides, a mini-golf course and more.

READ MORE: Fairy tale theme park a popular place to hang out for Okanagan kids in the 1970s

Then it was sold to the owners of Flintstones Bedrock City, another former park in Kelowna, in 1982. It went bankrupt during the recession.

The park was originally based on the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, and the ark wound up in Lake Country resident Alan Gatzke’s possession after a family used it as a playground in their backyard in East Oyama along Wood Lake.

Noah's Ark, an old piece of the Adventureland theme park, will soon have a new home.
Noah's Ark, an old piece of the Adventureland theme park, will soon have a new home.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Alan Gatzke

“It needed a little bit of work, so I fixed it up and brought it on a trailer and brought it home,” he said.

Gatzke had plans to use it in a fishing pond, and for years it was used in parades on behalf of the Oyama Community Club, and even decorated as a pirate ship.

He said it was time to pass along the ark to another owner, after his dream of the fishing pond never came to fruition.

Gatzke is giving the boat to another long-time Lake Country resident, Rose Gaudet, who remembers Adventureland well.

“Our whole family went there and enjoyed it,” she said. “We’d been looking for an idea for a fruit stand for our little farm that we have. We’re right on the rail trail and we thought that would be a nice historical thing to put there as a fruit and nut stand for when we start selling our produce out of our orchard."

She doesn’t know if it’ll be ready this summer, but it’ll suit the property on Lodge Road, as she and her husband already have an old historic church and a 1912 boxcar.

“We just like historical buildings… we just both like it, my husband and I,” she said.

“(Lake Country residents) treasure it… it truly is a piece of unique Okanagan history,” Gatzke said. “To my knowledge, there aren’t any other pieces left of Adventureland, only photographs.”

Adventureland in Lake Country.
Adventureland in Lake Country.
Image Credit: Lake Country Museum

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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