Riverland Amusement Park

Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA

1935 to 2003

A picnic park that became Utica Amusement Park in 1935, it was renamed Riverland in 1989 when three investors purchased the park. Rick and Emiko Roll purchased the park in 1992, and were the last owners. The 10 acre park was nestled at the edge of Detroit suburbia, amongst strip malls and chain restaurants.

The park hosted a world famous miniature golf tournament in the 1960s, and the majority of its rides were built in the 1950s. Rides included a pre-1915 C.W. Parker carousel (although the horses were circa 1950) and a 1946 Eli Ferris wheel.

Riverland finally succumbed to high real estate prices in 2003. According to a Detroit Free Press article (April 1, 2004), "Local corporations and groups cut back in recent years on company picnics, which were the financial backbone of one of the last family-owned amusement parks in metro Detroit..." "And the number of guests on Fridays and Saturday nights, when the park was open to the public, couldn't compete with the skyrocketing value of the property..." "'We didn't want to, really,' Roll said of closing the park, 'We had to do what we had to do.'"

The rides were auctioned in early 2004 and an assisted living apartment complex was built in its place.

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