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Puzzle Park Revisited

Home > Adelaide > Vintage and Retro | Unusual Things to do | Fun Things To Do | Free | Escape the City
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published January 13th 2014
Only ghost riders remain
gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, urban exploration
Puzzle Park Entrance Near Murray Bridge


Puzzle Park was an extremely popular Adelaide amusement park in the later years of the last century. On its better days it attracted 3,000 visitors.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, snakes and ladders
3D Snakes and Ladders


While it would never compete with Disneyland or Gold Coast theme parks, its rides and other activities were loved by local children for years.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, climb the ladders
Climb the Ladders Then Slide Down


Despite being based near Murray Bridge, Puzzle Park drew large crowds to their varied attractions. But in the early years of the new century disaster struck. The public liability insurance crisis changed our lives in many ways, and adventure parks were just some of the many casualties.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, slippery dip
Rusting Slippery Dip


Part of the attraction of Puzzle Park was the high risk rides it offered - think of a massive ninety metre water slide, a flying fox, mechanical giraffe and horse, and Australia's largest maze with overhead walkways.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, water slide
Part of the Puzzle Park Water Slide


Children and parents delighted in the range of activities, and the cost of non motorised rides was included in the admission charge.

The park opened in 1985 and operated until 2007, at which time insurance premiums were so excessive as to price the park out of operation. Since then the equipment has lain dormant, the scrub and nature slowly reclaiming what it once lost.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, pool
Puzzle Park Pool


A retirement village had been touted for the site a couple of years ago, but there was no sign of any building work yet. A different generation now explores puzzle park - the urban explorer or urbexer.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, rocking horse
Rocking Horse Ride


It is surprising how much of the original equipment remains. It's not hard to imagine the screams of children as they flew down the giant water slides, the music from the merry go round blaring, and the public address announcements about behaviour in the long empty pool.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, monster maze
Monster Maze with Overhead Walkways


The entrance probably looks much as it did while the fun park was at its peak, but that veneer of excitement and colour fades rapidly inside the disused grounds.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, table and chairs
Table and Chairs


The shelter reminiscent of Derek Jolly's Futuro house in North Adelaide will inevitably disappear, leaving only memories with those who still grow older.

gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, futuro house
Shelter Reminiscent of a Futuro House


gold coast, disneyland, theme parks, amusement parks, fun park, adventure park, rides, puzzle park, murray bridge, merry go round
Puzzle Park Merry Go Round


Update 2014: Debbie Williams from Facebook group The Ghosts Within has filmed a video of Puzzle Park - watch it below.

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Why? Bring back the happy memories
Where: Murray Bridge, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I love the idea of 3D snakes and Ladders
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11461) 1640 days ago
Public liability killed Monash too - it's a shadow of it's former self now that the Occy Health and Safety fairies have been through. Thanks for the piccies - it was haunting viewing as I do remember going to Puzzle Park as a kid and having a great time. Especially that massive slide.
by helen (score: 1|16) 1637 days ago
There was some safety concerns about some of the playground equipment at Puzzle Park too. + It was risky going up on some of the slides etc in very windy weather. The wind can be exceptionally strong out there.
by r.eng (score: 2|278) 198 days ago
We took our sons there - somewhat lack lustre and it needed upgrading then…1988…obviously generates some fond memories but it was pretty ordinary…this website is a start but when is SA really going to capitalise on all the wonderful things we potentially have to offer..???
by comme (score: 1|13) 1192 days ago
iam from holland 20 years ago i was for a hollyday in austalia and we go to puzzle park and had a great time i wanna show my kds where i was been but i say this video and iam in shock it was a great park good memmories greeting juanita
by juani (score: 0|8) 1262 days ago
My mum and dad didn't have much money, but puzzle park was the destination my younger sister and I would request twice per year when they managed to put some money aside. I remember all these rides/equipment with fond memories. The butterfly house used to be next door too!
by Amand (score: 0|8) 1295 days ago
Great article Dave. Painfully nostalgic read.
by Reductio ad absurdum (score: 2|170) 42 days ago
IT SHOULD BE ALL TAKEN UP TO OLD TAILEM TOWN TO HELP PROMOTE THE TOURIST RAILWAY AND THE PIONEER VILLAGE by IVAN WOOD
by touri (score: 1|16) 1637 days ago
what a shame it,s closed I would have loved to take my Grandkids
by mauza (score: 0|8) 1638 days ago
Another sad loss. Would be interesting to see what eventuates here. With the local attractions including of course the Murray, and Monarto - it has potential - but for who and when, guess we shall wait and see. Great article !
by mehid (score: 2|131) 1384 days ago
Well, that was a blast from the past, bought back some nice childhood memories, thanks Dave.
by Hayley (score: 3|1012) 1640 days ago
This is an example of the Americanization of our Australian social fabric.
Dave, you do a great job in making S.A. known and accessible to the community! Brendan McGuire.
by slogg (score: 1|62) 1638 days ago
I took my kids there a few times and we had an absolute ball...pitty its gone now and south Australia has virtually nothing that is fun for kids any more.
its all too clinical
by joytr (score: 0|5) 703 days ago
Haha i love how you said despite being near murray bridge
by vrss1 (score: 0|5) 771 days ago
I'm 14 now, but I loved this park when I was 6, still do :( They need to get it up and going now :)
by nay_2 (score: 0|5) 923 days ago
So many kids enjoyed the whole day out with family, full weekend trips together staying at the local caravan pk or motels and enhancing the Murray Bridge economy. Familys playing together and keeping fit. No electronic stay indoor hand held games seen here....I dont recall anyone being seriously hurt or dying playing on their slippery dip. Our whole generation grew up with this iconic playground and we all survived...What was the Insurance companies excuse? Massive Insurance corporations, making massive profits for the shareholdes. Look at what they have done, Not only closed down a nice carbon neutral, healthy living business that employed quite a few locals but it affected a whole town. Insurance companies greed has done a horrible thing.
by samir (score: 2|126) 1638 days ago
Thanks for this write up as was looking to visit as had been there 5 or 6 years ago and wanted to go again. Very sad as it was an awesome place for all to have fun!
by beach (score: 0|5) 1298 days ago
Well that bought back some fond memories. We visited there quite a bit every time there was a birthday, as it was a great place to enjoy the day. The kids of today have no idea what fun really is and most only Excersise there thumbs on electronic devises. What a shame. Great loss.
by lucy9 (score: 0|5) 1375 days ago
Wow! what an awesome park that would've been. As a kid I begged with mum to take me, but since she didn't drive I never got to experience the great fun at the park. The stories I've heard from friends sums it up to awesome. I can still remember the advertisement on tv. Being school holidays now, I would take my daughter there and it'd give her exercise, laughter and help build confidence. Plus she'd have to put her electronic device away. It's a terrible thing that our kids today can't enjoy what we had. Why can't it be applied to enter park at your own risk? If you don't agree, you don't go in. I dunno, but I can tell you that 'fun' in Adelaide comes at a small fortune these days and there's time limits also, meaning you wish to spend a day, you pay more. Money, money, money that is all companies want from us now. If you want to see your child have fun pay the big bucks or miss out. It's so wrong. Every child should have the right to experience great fun like Puzzle Park or Monash and families shouldn't have to go broke todo it. Great article Dave thanks for sharing.
by charl (score: 0|6) 1563 days ago
Great article Dave!
by cannd (score: 1|32) 1637 days ago
This website is great! Well done…I've forwarded to my friends and have published the site in our organisation's newsletter…no contest there...
by comme (score: 1|13) 1192 days ago
We recently had a rare black-out in our suburb that lasted 3 hours. After an hour, we heard these weird noises outside. We investigated. It was the noise of children playing in the street. Riding bikes. Kicking balls. All the 'old fashioned stuff' that made Puzzle Park such a fantastic place.

The power was out - so no TV's and the Batteries went flat on the rechargeable hand helds. Was beautiful to see so many kids interacting. Meeting. Keeping fit. Sucking up some sun. Wouldn't it be nice to see a way to regenerate Puzzle Park and bring back the 'good old days'?

((posted by an Ancient 43 year old))
by bill. (score: 0|5) 1637 days ago
Puzzle Park, Monash, St Kilda... The parks that are still around aren't as much fun. My children will never get to experience the St Kilda of my day. Even the small parks, like the one that used to be on towers tce, edwardstown, have been replaced by those boring fort and a swing clones. I don't blame my kids for wanting to stay inside. Has anyone seen one of those roundabout rides lately? we used to call them whizzees...
by Chane (score: 1|28) 1637 days ago
We found a great place for families & it's CHEAP ! It's called the Plaster Fun House at 244 Unley road, Unley. We went there during the school holidays and they had two specials one for $10 & another for $7. They both included the plaster mould, paints, glitter & the varnish plus a small packet of chips plus a fruitbox ! How can they do this ! it's great value & a great store to visit. Great staff. Highly recomended.
by diann (score: 1|23) 1637 days ago
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