Riverview will always remain my all-time favorite amusement park! Of course, nostalgia has a lot to do with it. Everytime I recall Riverview, I always remember the best days of my childhood.
This was an amusement park right in the city of Chicago and it was easily accessible by car or public transportation. What I remember most about it is the circus atmosphere about it, something today’s modern theme parks seem to lack. They had a tattooed lady, a bearded lady, world’s smallest man. But we never actually went in there because my father said that we couldn’t afford the tickets. There was Aladdin’s Castle fun house with its distortion mirrors and the maze that scared the heck out of me when I was six. And half the fun was getting there. My father usually drove us to Riverview, but occasionally, we would take the bus and El to get there. When I was older, I realized that my father took us way out of the way just so we could ride the El, but we always had fun. Of course, my mother never went when we took public transportation. I think my father had the most fun on these trips.
My little brother Dicky was about four the first time he went to Riverview. He got scared when we rode the El and realized we were about two stories off the ground. We thought he wouldn’t have fun at Riverview because he would be too scared for all the fun rides. We took him on the age-appropriate Merry-Go-Round, but he cried. Then we took him on the Caterpillar, which was basically like train on the Tilt-a-Whirl tracks. During the middle of the ride, a canopy covered all the cars. Dicky started screaming and kicking when we were under the canopy. I tried to calm him down, but he didn’t stop screaming until the ride was over. I thought we wouldn’t have any fun at Riverview.
I tried to think of rides that he would like, but I was sure they would all scare him. Back then, there were no size restrictions, such as having to be a minimum height to get on a ride. So even though Dicky was only four, he was able to ride the Silver Flash roller coaster that went around the amusement park. I thought for sure that Dicky would start crying immediately, but no, he loved the ride and laughed his head off the entire ride. So we rode roller coaster the rest of day, even though I would have liked to ride the Caterpillar a few more times. I never could figure out Dicky. On the way home, he was no longer afraid to ride the El.