At a recent client meeting, I heard yet again "Did you know that there used to be a Penny Whistle Park in Dallas?", to which I replied "Not when I selected the name "Penny Whistle Photography" (you can read how that came about here), but you're the fifth or sixth person who has told me that so I'm going to research it and write a blog about it" and here we are.
A 1980's Dallas Morning News article wrote “At Penny Whistle Park, an indoor amusement arena geared toward the under 12 set, brightly colored rides beckon youngsters, while ice cream parlor chairs provide a spot for mothers to relax and watch their offspring. ‘This is like a mother’s day out, sighed one parent,’ It’s really an ideal spot because you can sit back and talk and since all the rides are for small kids you don’t have to worry about big kids pushing and shoving.'”
A little more digging turned up this articlewritten in 2018 by Elvia Limon with the Dallas Morning News. It states "Penny Whistle Park became a Dallas favorite soon after it opened at 10717 E. Northwest Highway and Plano Road in 1967. The park’s attractions included an aluminum merry-go-round, a ladybug ride, a ball crawl complex and its Ottaway steam train.
According to a 1993 article by The News, the indoor entertainment park was "clean and pleasant, and the carnival rides with lots of flashing lights harken back to a weekend festival at the fairgrounds." The calliope music and first-rate carousel also gave the park an "old-time feel."
The park's main source of income was from parties. In its prime, Penny Whistle hosted 60 to 70 parties a week, former owner, Dwayne Steck told The News in 1995. But by the mid-'90s, the park was hosting fewer than 30 parties a week. Steck also said the park had to compete with other venues that had more modern rides and other park equipment. "In the early days, we were the only people doing this," he told The Newsin 1995. "But now, big corporations have gotten involved and operations like this can't compete."
As Limon wrote, "Penny Whistle, one of Dallas’ first indoor amusement parks, closed in January 1995. The park’s games, rides and T-shirts and caps with the park’s logo were auctioned off that year.
The location is now a soccer center, but the indoor amusement park’s legacy continues to live via an old, rusty sign in front of the parking lot with the faded words “Welcome to Penny Whistle Park” still displayed."
If this has made you nostalgic for Penny Whistle Park, you can still purchase items with the original logo here. Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography is a Certified Professional Photographer with the organization Professional Photographers of America; a designation held by fewer than 2,500 photographers nationwide and a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry and professionalism. Penny Whistle specializes in both on-location and studio photography providing pet, equine, family, couples & engagement and high school senior portraits as well as corporate headshots and commercial photography services in her studio located in historic downtown Carrollton as well as on location in Coppell, Grapevine, Southlake, Flower Mound and surrounding communities in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.