View Full Version : American Adventure Theme Park

27-01-2012, 01:39
I loved this place as a child what great memories and such a shame it has now gone - brinfs tears to my eyes watching pics and clips on youtube of this great 80s & 90s happy place
if anyone has memories or even pictures of American Adventure Theme Park especially of its early days please let me know - have some old cine footage of this place whic never fails to make smile

04-05-2012, 05:58
I've always been fascinated by amusement parks and from seeing the old pics, American Adventure must have been a fun place in its heyday. Here's a little history of American Adventure that I found:

"The American Adventure (at one time briefly known as American Adventure World) was a theme park located in the East Midlands region of England; quite close to both Nottingham and Derby on the edge of Ilkeston in the county of Derbyshire. The park for many years had a number of large white-knuckle attractions, but in 2005 was re-themed as a 'family' park aimed at the under-14 market. In January 2007 the owners announced that it would not reopen for the new season, and the rides would be sold off.

The American Adventure, built on an area of Country Park which had been subject to deep seam and opencast coal mining, was originally opened in June 1987 with an Old West and Cowboys vs. Native Americans theme. A theme park called Britannia Park had been opened on the site in 1985 but closed soon after due to a lack of visitors. In June 1987 the American Adventure opened heralded as 'Britain's Major New Theme Park. Initial attractions at the American Adventure included the two-drop log flume, the runaway mine train, the Buffalo Roller Coaster, a pirate ship, and a Ferris wheel. 1989 saw the opening of the Missile roller coaster, a Vekoma Boomerang coaster which was at the time voted the number one roller coaster in the UK. Shortly before this there was the Canadian themed addition of the Rocky Mountain Rapids. In 1993 the log-flume was extended to have a third drop and was renamed from "Cherokee Falls" to "Nightmare Niagara". The extra drop made it the tallest log-flume in the UK throughout its operational life (this record has now reverted to Logger's Leap at Thorpe Park). In 1995 the Iron Wolf roller coaster (now located in a Polish theme park and known as the tic tac tornado) was installed, which broke away from the American theming of the park and was instead themed around the ITV gameshow Gladiators.

From 1996 onwards the park began to decline and in 1997 then owners the Granada group decided to pull out of owning the park. It was sold to a company called Ventureworld which was headed by John Broome, a former Alton Towers developer. During the reign of Broome as owner of the park the only noticeable change was the addition of minor or upcharge attractions, and the slow decline of many of the park's attractions.

Ventureworld immediately renamed the park "American Adventure World", with the intention of dropping the American theming and ultimately renaming the park "Adventure World". Various logos produced over the next few seasons would use the "American Adventure World" name, but with the prominence of the first and last words varying wildly. By the end of the park's life, the title had reverted to "The American Adventure".

In 1999 Broome announced he was stepping down and the THG Group, who also own Pontins and Blackpool Tower bought the park. After 1999 many of the smaller rides disappeared from the park and it slowly fell into decline. The old main entrance to the park had to be closed due to subsidence, and the new entrance was nowhere near as attractive as the old one. It was also in this season that it was re-named "The American Adventure".

2005 saw the closing down of three major rides for which the park was famous, including Nightmare Niagara and The Missile. At the time it was also believed that the Rocky Mountain Rapids was also ending its life. The two water rides were supposedly closed due to structural instability and water pollution problems, whilst the Missile was not deemed to fit in with the parks new 'family' label and had also experienced heavy disrepair. Missile was relocated to Pleasurewood Hills as 'Wipeout'. At the start of the season, the pirate ship ride called the Yankee Clipper was closed with the intention of it being re-opened later in the season. However, due to refurbishment taking longer than planned it did not open until the following season.

2006 was the final year the theme park operated. There were some signs of investment and heavy emphasis on the new 'family' image. New rides included the Mini Mine Rush, a kids rollercoaster, now re-located at Flamingo Land, a new motorbike attraction in the building previously used for the log flume station, as well as the re-opening of the newly refurbished Rocky Mountain Rapids and Yankee Clipper rides.

The American Adventure announced on Thursday 4 January 2007 that the park would not be re-opening for the 2007 season. Derbyshire County Council was reviewing options for the site's future.

Part of the park has been leased, while the rest is being controlled by Derbyshire County Council. The park has been given the name "Shipley Lakeside" and is now up for sale.
The park is now being demolished to make way for development.

DCC have stated that they will allow minimal development on the site.
The land was for sale on the Derbyshire County Council Website, under the name Shipley Lakeside (Former American Adventure). The land is no longer for sale and three potential buyers are now being lined up by the DCC.

Plans have been put forward for a retail and office park to be built on the site (June 2011)"

Aerial views of American Adventure then & now.



04-05-2012, 06:37
Is that pond means to be some sort of head shape? The top island looks like an eye, while the lower one looks like an ear. The nose and chin face to the left.

04-05-2012, 08:13
You're right, it does! And in the 2009 view it looks like he ate the red-roofed building. :D

04-05-2012, 18:35
I live less than 10 minutes drive away from The American Adventure Site.It has been turned over to a nature reserve.There are a number of photos on this site taken whilst it was closed and deteriating.Links below.



23-06-2012, 10:57
memoman when you say it has been turned over to a nature reserve, do you mean officially or do you mean succession has taken place so much so that its sort of naturally become a nature reserve? i was thinking of visiting again after visiting last year, even though theres nothing left of the place it was nice for a walk and stuff. I read that the pier burnt down, do you know if thats true? cheers.

23-06-2012, 16:57
Those derelict photos were very interesting.

24-06-2012, 09:06
I went there in 87/88 with a school friend. Must have been soon after it launched. I remember it being fairly quiet. The runaway train was good. Can't remember a lot else though.

18-02-2016, 11:20
There were some signs of investment and heavy emphasis on the new 'family' image. New rides included the Mini Mine Rush, a kids rollercoaster, now re-located at Flamingo Land, a new motorbike attraction in the building previously used for the log flume station, as well as the re-opening of the newly refurbished Rocky Mountain Rapids and Yankee Clipper rides.

18-02-2016, 20:30
It was just up the road from where I lived

18-02-2016, 20:50

Declan 2016
08-03-2016, 11:01

Hi guys, this is my petition I started 2 weeks ago and I have almost 5,000 signatures, so please sign and share it. I have found land for the park to be rebuilt.

George 1978
16-07-2018, 16:11
It had such a high profile in the late 1980s and early 1990s - I went there three times; once with school on the penultimate day of the school year, and twice with a group from Nottingham City Hospital that I was a member of. Of course, it was easy for Nottingham people to get to due to the fact that it wasn't too far from Ilkeston. I actually forgot when it closed - I am certain that the profile of it went down from the late 1990s onwards. I know that it was prominently advertised in the East Midlands part of the Central TV region.

Lots of people actually thought of it as a poor man's Alton Towers, probably because Alton was more successful and more recognisable as a tourist attraction when it came to people visiting which they did from all over the country. The Missile was probably just the counterpart of Alton's Corkscrew ride, and no, I was too chicken to get on it. I did get on that ride where one was rocked from side to side, and that was enough of an ordeal!

In my first visit in 1989, I had an unofficial picture (a selfie of its day) with one of the bear mascots (can't remember the name of the character), but he reminded me of ALF the alien if you remember that. I know that it wasn't really like getting snapped with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland but it was the next best thing.

One memory is getting the bus back with a carrier bag full of souvenirs such as a frisbee and one of those bottles with a straw to have soft drinks from.

Quite a great place to visit at the time.