Hatchets, trampolines, a mountain of garbage and retired rides: The evolution of recreation in 2018

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City Park, July 2, 2018 — Zak Neumann/Little Village

After 66 years, Iowa City’s much-loved children’s train made its final run this fall, after the Iowa City Department of Parks and Recreation decided to close down and dismantle the amusement rides in City Park. It had become increasingly expensive to repair and maintain the aging rides, and the amusement rides area also isn’t fully in compliance with the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Parks Department is replacing the rides area with a new adventure playground.

“I can understand the city deciding to close it,” Guy Drollinger told Little Village. “It was a really wonderful thing for the community, but there was no revenue in it.”

Drollinger’s grandparents brought the amusement rides to Iowa City in 1952, and his family owned and operated the rides until they sold them to city in 1999.

“My grandparents were so proud of those rides,” Drollinger said. “My grandfather used to have a little journal and he’d do a lot of math in it. I remember one day, he was adding some stuff up, and I asked what he was doing. And he says, ‘Well, we’ve been out to the park now for almost 40 years, and I was trying to add up the number of tickets, of how many children we’ve had on the rides.’”

“I walked away thinking, he wasn’t adding up how much money he’d made. He was adding up how many children had enjoyed the rides.”

Children won’t be enjoying those rides in City Park any longer, but 2018 did see some new recreation options open in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

The axe-tossing bar trend came to Iowa City when Hatchet Jack’s opened in the space that used to house Family Videos. And Iowa City finally caught up with some other area cities, when it got its own indoor trampoline park in December.

In September, Cedar Rapids finished a bit of civic alchemy by turning decades of garbage into a new attraction, and having a grand opening for the trails of Mount Trashmore. Landscaped into the highest point in Linn County, the former landfill boasts panoramic views of Cedar Rapids, as well as trails for walkers, hikers and bikers.

Monday, July 2, 2018. — photo by Zak Neumann

After almost 70 years, City Park is closing down its amusement rides

Guy Drollinger said one of his favorite memories of the park involved something that happened in the 1970s — something he wasn’t there to see.

“After my father died, we got a letter from a couple in Scandinavia,” he said.

In the letter, the couple explained they had been graduate students at the University of Iowa, and one night, walking through City Park, they noticed the lights of the carousel. It was closing time, and Drollinger’s father, who was shutting down the ride, was the only person there. The couple asked if it would be possible to ride the carousel.

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“My father said yes,” Drollinger said. “But they said [in the letter], he asked if it was okay if he played his trumpet for them, instead of switching on the carousel music.” Drollinger’s father was also a musician, and he was playing at The Airliner later that night. The couple rode the carousel as he played for them.

“They said, ‘It’s a memory that we’ll never forget.’” [read more]

Hatchet Jack’s, July 6, 2018. — photo by Jordan Sellergren

Hatchet Jack’s: Bringing the axe-tossing bar trend to Iowa City

“It’s like darts or like bowling, something fun to do with friends,” said Nick Carroll, one of the owners of Hatchet Jack’s. “It’s something different than anything that’s around Iowa City.” [read more]

The overlook pavilion on top of Mount Trashmore. — photo courtesy of the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency

Mount Trashmore trails open on Thursday

“It’s has an incredible panoramic view of all of Linn County, and especially downtown Cedar Rapids, Czech Village and the river,” said Joe Horaney, communications director for the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. “There are benches at the top for people to enjoy the view.”

There are also three trails on the man-made mount: the Stumptown Trail, a 5,000-foot trail for just walkers and hikers; the Overlook Trail, a 3,400 foot multi-use trail for hikers and bikers; and the Trashmore Trail, a downhill biking trail. [read more]


Planet 3 Extreme Air Park opens in Iowa City

Planet 3 Extreme Air Park Iowa City brings almost 15,000 square feet of trampolines to the space that used to house Kmart on Highway 6 East. Iowa City’s first indoor trampoline park opened on Saturday.Full story:

Posted by Little Village Mag on Monday, December 10, 2018

Iowa City’s first indoor trampoline park opens on Saturday

“There’s about 15,000 square feet of trampoline space,” Mo Haretuku, the owner of Planet 3 Extreme Air Park told Little Village. “Whatever your skill-level is, there’s something for you. We have toddlers — the minute you can walk, you can jump — all the way through grandparents.”

“I feel like the reason the [indoor trampoline park] industry has blown-up in recent years is that they’re really is one of the only places where you can go as an entire family, or just a group of people of different ages, can have an activity in which everyone can participate,” Haretuku said. [read more]

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