Forgotten Houston for Kids: Peppermint Park
When you are VERY little, way too short to reach the hand of the wooden cutout that says you must be "this high" to ride a roller coaster, there aren't a lot of options for you. But, in the '60s and '70s, there was a place that could accommodate you called Peppermint Park.
A micro-sized amusement park that catered to birthday parties and holiday celebrations for little tikes, it was a place you could go and not have to worry about being small. I guess they were right when they sung in Free to Be You and Me, "we don't have to change at all."
Name: Peppermint Park Description:Miniature Amusement Park for Small Kids Location: Multiple, including Gulfgate Mall, 59 in SugarLand and the North Loop at TC Jester Features: Bumper cars, cotton candy, merry-go-round
Honestly, I was shocked to find out there were multiple videos of this park of my extremely young youth on YouTube. I frequented the location on the North Loop, but there were apparently several different versions of this tiny amusement park including Gulfgate Mall and in SugarLand. Who knows if it was just one owner or multiple battling for kiddie dollars, but all of them were relatively similar, inside warehouses with bumper cars and carousels.
The one I went to looks tiny by my adult standards, but I went to many a birthday party there in the '70s.
Why did it disappear?
Like most things of this nature, I'm sure it was just the nature of the economy. With more entertainment options available and newer, bigger adventures, the Peppermint Parks just kind of died off. A Wikipedia entry says the one in SugarLand was open until the early '90s, but the others closed much earlier.
What replaced it?
Nothing. As far as I know, there are very few micro amusement parks like these. The closest would be the carnivals that occasionally set up in mall parking lots, the Kemah Boardwalk and the Galveston Pleasure Pier, but those are huge compared to Peppermint Park.
What is there now?
The Gulfgate location just merged with Gulfgate Mall. The SugarLand location became an auto body shop affiliated with the Jeep dealership. The North Loop location is now just a nondescript warehouse office building. Sigh.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.