Amusement parks, theme parks, ride photography

End of an era for Rhyl’s Ocean Beach Fun Fair

Well after been threatened with closure for a number years its finally happened Ocean Beach fun fair closed it gates for the last time yesterday (Sunday 2nd September 2007).

I wasnt suprised to see the park busy for its final day as press the mayor and a lot of local residents came to give the park a good send of.

Ive visited Rhyl since I was a little child perhaps 30 years or more and have fond memories of visiting the park with my family over the summer holidays.

After operating in the area since 1954 the fun fair become one of North Wales most visited tourist attractions. The park has suffered over the last few years though with the only recent addition been the Pepsi-Cola Looping coaster a Pinfari ZL42.

It was a sad day for me yesterday as I have visited Ocean Beach for the last 30+ years and I have some great memories as a child. None of them are very vivid mainly the smell of donuts, toffee apples and chips. But it was a place that kept my family visiting a number of times every summer. To many residents in the north west of england Rhyl, Towyn and Colwyn Bay were always somewhere we looked forward to visiting at summer. Looking back now we never had much money but we always spent the full day on the fair and come home with a belly full of fast food and sugar filled snacks.

The park has been on its last legs for a number of years though and after our visit last year and the year before I was suprised the park could open for another summer the visitor numbers were rock bottom and that was in the middle of summer.

What attractions were left in the end.

All of the attractions that were open at the start of the season were operational yesterday, heres some pictures of the fair on its last day. The weather was really bad yesterday and I don’t think it stopped raining during the duration of our visit.

Waltzers.

Giant Slide.

Ghost Train.

Twister ride.

My two children enjoying the twister.

Juvenille Big Wheel.

Fun House.

Ski Jump.

Dodgems.

Star wars ride.

Nessie Kiddie coaster.

Terminator 3.

Jetstar Coaster.

Pepsi-Cola Looping coaster.

Water Chute.

Selection of Juvenille rides.

And finally some general views of the park.

Heres some comments about the fair from a reader Juliet and her family.

I spent lots of time there as a kid with my older sisters. They were usually getting chatted up by the ride operators..I got quite a few free rides just to keep me out of the way! I remember very fondly the Speedway, Caterpiller, The Roter (I never went on it…but it was my cousins favourite). I also remember from when I was little a Big Wheel, a large wooden Rollercoaster, A beautiful set of Gallopers (which seemed to vanish about 5 years ago!!). The Waltzer i spent many happy hours on burned down (can’t recall when) but thankfully the replacement was just as good..its the one we rode on yesterday. The Helterskelter appears to be the same one its always been. The Twister I remember was an older, wooden model which was near the entrance to the park.
When I was in my early teens, me and my friends would get the train from Abergele into Rhyl to go shopping…usually spending our money on records. In the summer months (even after school!) we would take our new tunes to the fairground and ask the ops to play them for us while we were on the rides!
Happy times.
Happy memories.

I had a quick look on youtube and found a couple of Ocean beach videos.

The Water chute taken by David Ellis.

YouTube Preview Image

Jetstream Coaster taken by David Ellis.

YouTube Preview Image

Pepsi Cola looping coaster taken by David Ellis.

YouTube Preview Image

A video shot in 1982 and published by furiekins.

YouTube Preview Image

A nicely put together video by serialdownloader.

YouTube Preview Image

So whats happening to Ocean Beach.

As part of a 50 million pound regeneration plan the developers Modus based in Manchester have called the new development Ocean Plaza. It includes an 85,000 sq ft Asda supermarket, 40,000 sq ft of leisure space likely to be used as a fitness suite and bingo hall, offices, 60-bedroom hotel, bars, restaurants and cafes, 1,000 car park spaces and 180 apartments.

Heres a proposed view of how the site will look taken from Modus website.

I don’t want to get really nostalgic about this but im really going to miss this park. I wish Rhyl Council good luck with the regeneration. 😉

If you have any comments or memories about this fair id love to hear from you.

Related articles and websites.

A Closer look at Rhyl’s waterchute.

Modus Properties

Closed Park archive on Ridemad.

Thanks to Juliet and David Ellis for the use of the materials.

If you want to use any photographs on this blog please get in touch paul@ridemad.com im quite happy to share and have high resolution copies of everything used, to see the complete gallery visit the Ridemad Gallery

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Thanks for Reading.

There Are 68 Responses So Far. »

  1. Hi Steve,
    Great to read your comments its comments like this that the site wanted to capture. Its easy for me to take the pictures but to add any depth it comes from experience.

    Thanks for sharing 😉

    Paul

  2. I’m 44 now and used to travel from Telford to Rhyl on day coach trips with my Mum, brothers and sister. As a teenager I would do the same with my mates. We even had a couple of ‘end of term’ trips to Rhyl. I have wonderful memories of all these times, the fair ground was always the epicentre of all that joy.

    We visited Rhyl just this last weekend,(we were actually destined for Prestatyn, but I made sure we diverted via Rhyl). Imagine my absolute dismay when all I found of the fair was some boarded up wasteland!!

    Since it had been many many years since I had been to Rhyl and my Wife had NEVER been before, both she and my young children, aside from being very dissapointed, teased me relentlessly claimimng I had perhaps ‘imagined the whole thing’!

    Your site has confirmed otherwise, I really enjoyed reading other peoples comments too, it brought back that lovely warm feeling on a cold winters day. Such a shame about the fair though.

  3. Had to smile at the Modus artist’s impression of how the new development will look…with it’s sun kissed plaza populated by ultra smart holiday makers!
    Nearly six years on and it doesn’t look quite like that yet!

  4. Born in Rhyl 1949 went to fair as young child, used to love it. Left to live in Chester but still visited a lot and did for some time live again in Crescent Road Rhyl. When was there again was teenager and spent a lot of time at both Pleasure Beach and Marine Lake. Had great fun and many happy memories. Now aged 60+ it was very sad to see it all in decline and then eventually close. Was the end of an era and one can only hope to remember the fair at its best, and look back at old photos on sites like this for help!!!! Thanks.

  5. Well, this is pants. I used to go to Rhyl ALL the time as a child. I’ve never been abroad and for me, that was our holiday, a week in Rhyl. I used to love going to the fair. I only stumbled across this because I was planning on going back with a friend for nostalgias sake and saw a picture on google of the roller coaster being demolished.

    Talk about sucking all the fun from the world. Taking away potential fun memories from children for the sake of a Nandos and a Sainsburys…There really is nothing left any more. All there is now is shops, shops and more shops! More to the point the same shops…Sad stuff. Truly.

  6. Went to the funfair around 1979/80.Remember this guy getting hit by the water chute car.Was sickening to witness it.Always wondered if he was ok.

  7. I cannot believe it – I was having a nostalgic day and decided to go on google mapa and wander along West Parade – imagine my shock / horrow to get as far as the fun fair to see it had all dis-appeared – damn nearly brought a tear to my eyes.

    I spent many a happy time in Rhyl / Prestatyn as a kid / young adult – before exploring further afield (I am guessing that is actually part of Rhyl’s downfall).

    I’ve stayed in guest houses along the front / side streeets, at a Caravan park in Prestatyn, in a filed in Prestatyn (camping for the one and only time lol), Winkups in Towyn etc etc – you get the picture. But all roads led to the Fun fair !! I loved the water chute – standing along the glass and waiting for the spalsh to hit the glass, even plucking up the courage to go on it a few times (normally after a pint lol). The cyclone twister was a real spin joy and I loved the dodgems too – I’m getting all melancholy again now.

    Reading some of the local press it looks like the redevlopment has stalled – such a shame – lets hope it is a temporary blip.

    Fab memories of bygone days back in the 70’s early 80’s….

    Olly

  8. As a keen model maker and horror/sci-fi buff, my favourite thing on the Rhyl Fun Fair during the 1980s was the sideshow ‘Space City’ (later known as ‘Alien World’) near the coach & car park steps. Literally an out of this world exhibition of fantastical science fiction miniature models exquisitely designed and crafted from scratch to the degree that would make George Lucas jealous! All created and ran by one man called Fred. A walk-a-round, it housed the largest model space city in the UK that measured around 14 feet across, 4 foot wide and 4 foot high ‘towers’ all set in the backdrop of some lunar landscape! As well as the city, the exhibition had an array of smaller scratchbuilt spaceships (ie. made and converted from everyday household items such as tape recorders, vacuum cleaner parts, hairdryers etc as they do in the special effects film industry) and all suitably painted, airbrushed and ‘weathered down’ to look used and dirty. As I recall, Fred then later started to shift his talents into making full-size alien beings (again, using thrown-away items and ‘gubbings’ found in skips etc.) and other gruesome, nightmarish and slimy-looking creatures as the boom of the ‘video nasties’ came into being during the mid to late 80s. The show was forever evolving and something new was always put in every year unlike the stagnant and old-fashioned Ghost Train a few yards around the corner. When it became ‘Alien World’ I think it was made in mind to be some sort of zoo or top secret ‘Area 51’ type with a menagerie of otherworldly monsters, even the interior walls of the place were made to look like the corridors you’d see in films such as Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’. It really was one of the scariest places you could visit, very atmospheric with sound effects, lighting and some ‘shock’ tactics with movement using motors. Utterly brilliant!

  9. I was told they did a documentary about the closer of Rhyls funfair, I have tried find it but had no luck. If there is anyone with knowledge of how to find it or has a copy they can share I would be eternally and immensely grateful. Please help if you can, thanks.

  10. I’m now 46 & living in Sydney Australia but grew up in Ffynnongroyw as a kid. I put myself through college by working in the cafés here during the season for many years (1983 – 1987 approx). Sad how time can just seem to ‘delete’ parts of our past. I also have fond memories of the Sun Centre too.

  11. remember the rotor and the mad mouse, always thought that first bend on the mouse would fail and drop you on the prom!

  12. Hi Darren,
    I didn’t know they did one either, I was at the Fair in the final day and they did have local news channels reporting from memory but It would be nice to see a complete documentary. If I hear anything ill be sure to let you know.
    Thanks
    Paul

  13. Rhyl fun fair was a great part of my childhood. Living in Wales there wasn’t a lot to do in the early 90s so spending the day at the fair, the sun centre was fantastic, but now all that’s left of a great memory is a grey dull car park. What happened to the AMAZING plans to build hotels etc on? Now the Sun centre is closed…In my opinion they would have been better to spend money on refurbishing the fair, bringing tourism back, creating more jobs thus improving the economy of Rhyl, But no another Town that’s gone down the pan. Rhyl will never be the bustling seaside down it oust to be. Such a shame 🙁

  14. Rhyl is not rhyl anymore without the fantastic ocean beach funfair what are they thinking of!they have taken the heart life and soul out of rhyl.This was the most famous tourist attraction of the whole area and the most loved place to go in rhyl,WHO wants to go to ASDA ?

  15. Glad it’s gone… It was a pile if shit and looks better now than it ever did…
    The whole of north wales is a pile of shit…

    Do us a favour and knock down the entire town not just the fair.

    If you don’t like the comment..I couldn’t give a shit

  16. Hi there and thanks to everyone who has posted on here, I live in Chester , started holidaying in golden sands caravan park with my mate johnny snell and my grandparents ,my grandad used to drive us and there was no a55 them days we used to go thru connahs quay and bagillt etc, we used to walk up to town in the day ,he would put a bet on and maybe buy us fish and chips we would sit outside the pub either the wendover or the seagull, we would walk into Rhyl with my aunties and uncles, when we were a bit older we used to go with a few mates start the night off at the fairground ,into the Dixieland fun pub ,and end up in either the bierkeller or the orange peel disco, what times , I ended up working with a great lad called Steve jones (tiger) he was a manager at the Dixieland ( fun pub) he lived in Rhyl used to drink in pub at the back of the fairground called the Sun, his mate Earl used to work on the markets along the front, best times of our lives,

  17. Good evening, I am looking for a photo of Marine lake pleasure beach Rhyll in the 1950’s can you help? Many of the Churches and Chapel from my area to the west of Wrexham used to visit the sea side on annual trips and I want to find a photo to go with the short article I am writing. Best regards Jim The Chairman

  18. I am wondering if anyone remembers a horror house next to the funfair that had a large moving monster on the outside?
    I always remember being terrified and my parents having to cover my eyes.
    This was during the 70s and 80s and I would love to see a picture of it as have scoured the internet and can’t find one
    Thankyou

Post a Response