Children on roller coaster at Brooklyn‘s Memphis Kiddie Park (photo courtesy of Memphis Kiddie Park)

Have Big Fun at Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park just outside Cleveland has been delighting little ones and their parents for decades with its collection of kid-size thrills.

Each summer since 1952, families across northeast Ohio have visited and loved Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn. Designed and built by Cleveland native Stuart Wintner, the landmark had nine mechanical rides when it opened on May 28, 1952. That lineup included the Little Dipper, which still holds its place in history as the oldest continuously functioning steel roller coaster in North America.

The amusement park, which opens in late May each year, embraces kid-size thrills with 11 rides designed for children under 50 inches tall. All rides are fully restored and bear a retro resemblance to how they appeared in the 1950s. The electric cars curve around a winding track, while the boat ride floats in its water-filled tank. The classic Allen Herschel merry-go-round welcomes all ages to take a spin, and the miniature-golf course provides a fun challenge for kids and adults alike. A concession stand serves classic favorites like popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy, as well as the park’s best-known snack: funnel cakes.

During its early years, Memphis Kiddie Park saw lots of change while experimenting between rides and attractions, even including live ponies with a little corral at one point. The park’s roots are still present more than 70 years later, thanks to the effort of Memphis Kiddie Park vice president Scott Wintner’s father, Russell Wintner, who spent 10 years or so restoring the attraction to the look and feel of its early days.

Kiddie parks were popular across the country during the mid-20th century. Many closed as interest dwindled over the years, but Memphis Kiddie Park is the oldest of the few remaining “kiddie land” parks in the country, according to Scott Wintner. He adds that the beloved family memories the park helps make is why he believes it has endured.

“It feels really good being now the third generation to operate the kiddie park,” Wintner says. “It’s the people … who are now third and fourth generation sharing it as part of their summer tradition and then coming to us and expressing to us how much it’s meant to them.” 10340 Memphis Ave., Brooklyn 44144, 216/941-5995,