Bells Amusement Park

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

1951 to 2006

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It all started with a train. Robert Bell Sr. built the train for his kids, encircling their home with track. The Bell children, and all the neighbor kids, loved it.

When Robert and his wife Vera opened Bell's Amusement Park at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds in March 1951, the park featured 6 rides said to be made from things found in a junk yard. After growing for 20 years, the Bell's built Zingo, and with that the park really began to grow. Although neighborhood concerns forced them to agree to a 9 p.m. curfew, the Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters ride, designed by John C. Allen, was a big success and made the small park a destination for many coaster lovers.

But despite all the growth and success, the park was still sitting on leased land, owned by the county and administered by a Board of Adjustment. But by the 2006 season, the third generation of the Bell family was running the park, and things seemed to be going well.

In August of 2006, after five years of hearings, court rulings, and meetings with neighbors that resulted in a compromise agreement, the Tulsa County Board of Adjustment unanimously granted permission for Bell's to build a new roller coaster, and other rides and buildings. But this saga was not to have a happy ending.

On November 8, 2006 Bells officially lost their lease at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. Reasons given by the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority for not renewing the park's lease were challenged by the Bell family, and many questions remain, but the bottom line is, Bells Amusement Park is gone.

Nearly 3 years later, we can still only hope they find a new home and again delight patrons of all ages,

© Copyright 2010 ATRA - all rights reserved

From Uncle Duke:
"Bells was a wonderful small park that we were lucky to visit in 2003 with the Coaster Zombies, one of the many highlights of the Zombies' Parks of the Ozarks Tour. And Zingo was an amazing coaster – top notch spanking air-time! Park employees soon began to observe the enthusiasts in their midst, and could not help but notice us as we filled train after train on the coaster, often chanting 'Zingo! Zingo! Zingo! Zingo!...' or 'Bells! Bells! Bells! Bells! Bells!...' We all left with huge satisfied smiles.

"Ah, it was a magical evening, one few of us will forget. If only we could go back again this year..."

© Copyright John K. Maxwell 2010 - all rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author.

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© Copyright John K. Maxwell 2003/2009 - all rights reserved. Used with permission.

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External Links

Bell's Amusement Park

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© Copyright 2010 ATRA: American Thrill Ride Association - all rights reserved.

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