Little Bitz – Adventureland Memories
Adventureland in Newbury opened the summer of 1957. A map of the amusement park shows its position on the corner of U.S. Route 1 and Scotland Road, and describes it as “America’s Most Fabulous Family Entertainment: An occasion the whole family will remember happily ever after.”
Visitors entered through a Story Book Castle and walked straight ahead to a magic fountain on the Village Green. Snacks were sold from a gingerbread house. Half of the park was called Dodge City and had a Western theme, featuring a root beer saloon, stables and shoot-‘em-up shows with traditional bank robberies, horses and cowboy hats. People still reminisce about being so scared that they cried during the stagecoach robbery, thinking it was real.
The other half of the park was called Story Land, and included installations based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes. There was a giant pumpkin for “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater,” a cabin for “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” and the giant from “Jack and the Beanstalk” reclined on the ground. There was a house for the “Three Little Pigs,” an enormous boot for the “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe,” and the very “House that Jack Built.”
The park didn’t last long. It closed by the mid-1960s, but memories of the place are alive and well. Former employees recount stories of tipped-over stagecoaches, escaped monkeys and visits from The Kingston Trio.
The three-masted pirate ship that acted as the park’s billboard on Interstate 95 burned down in 1966, and the remaining buildings eventually were torn down to make way for the Massachusetts State Police barracks that are now in place. A wall outside the commander’s office there has been designated for the placement of Adventureland memorabilia, and donations to the collection are welcomed.