The Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum
Arnolds Park Amusement Park and "Save the Park" Campaign
In 1889, a water toboggan slide near this pier was the beginning of the Arnolds Park Amusement Park. Toboggans and wool swim suits could be rented by the day.
Over the next century, the area, named after pioneer developer Wesley Arnold, became a favorite vacation spot. People flocked here seeking thrills of rides and roller coasters, the "brass ring" of the carousel, hours of fun in the Fun House, and dancing to big bands and rock 'n roll at the Roof Garden.
By 1991, the Maritime Museum was opened near the State Pier. In 1999, it moved into the new facility behind you. That same year, the cherished amusement park and adjoining property were sold for commercial development. The Maritime Museum led the charge to "Save the Park," the oldest amusement park west of the Mississippi
An amazing fundraiser ensued as the public's interest and passion were aroused. "Save the Park" became an all-consuming topic for 1999. In six weeks, over $7,500,000 in donations were contributed from individuals and businesses from all 50 states, 9 foreign countries, local municipal entities, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the State
The Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum is dedicated to being a good steward of the amusement park and the adjoining green space. Please visit the museum to learn more about the fascinating history of the Iowa Great Lakes.
The Arnolds Park Amusement Park and Green Space were saved by generous, visionary people who wanted to preserve a piece of our history and lakeshore for future generations. To all those who contributed money or volunteered their time to the project we say, "Thanks, You Helped Save the Park."
Steamships of the Iowa Great Lakes (a few steps from this marker); Massacre Monument (approx. ¼ mile away).
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Parks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1889.
Location. 43° 22.025′ N, 95° 8.194′ W. Marker is in Arnolds Park, Iowa, in Dickinson County. Marker is on Lake Street 0.2 miles north of Okoboji Grove Road. Located on a pier on the West Lake Okoboji. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 37 Lake Street, Arnolds Park IA 51331, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. American Indians & Settlers (a few steps from this marker); A Glacial Gift (a few steps from this
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 2, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 87 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 2, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.