Tonight I went bowling with Sarah and Erik. When trying to decide if Southland or Eastland Lanes were closer, it occurred to us that there was another bowling alley that is almost always forgotten. Joyland Bowl & Park is an alley on the north side of town past the interstate. We would always try to go there for there cosmic bowling night in high school, but no matter how early we arrived, all of the lanes were booked. Well, tonight was a totally different story. The place was almost empty, no more than 6 lanes were in use. They still had the glow lights and the disco balls, but my guess is that the ever growing suburban community is looking for a more homogeneous bowling experience. It is really sad since Joyland is part of our community's history and I am willing to bet that most Lexington residents don't even know what was once there.
The Joyland Bowl & Park was built in the former site of the Joyland Park, an amusement park that opened its doors on May 30, 1923.
In 1926, they added a wooden roller coaster called the Wildcat; my dad used to tell me stories about riding this roller coaster as a teen.
There were other rides such as a carousel and the Pretzel which was described as "that funny mysterious dark ride." I can only wonder what went on behind those doors.
There was also a scenic train tour around the park.
In the 1930's and 1940's its open aired dance hall played host to some big names such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Cab Calloway, it was quite the place to take a date.
Joyland Park closed in 1964. In the place where this area's great amusement park once stood there is now a school and an empty bowling alley. Now you know.