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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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..???
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
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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'?
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...
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.