A Sad Day in Bedrock

7 Sep

It is interesting to hear people talk about how they love the beach. They talk about how it relaxes them and provides them with an escape from real life. As I listen, I find myself understanding because I feel the same way about the American West. The mountains. The desserts. The prairies. I love it all.

I love riding the back roads of Kansas and seeing the grain silos in the distance.

I love walking through the dunes of White Sands.

I love exploring old frontier forts.

The list could go on forever and include a variety of places. However, they all have one thing in common. They relax me and provide me with an escape from real life.

I have been thinking about this because one of my favorite places is in danger of going away. It is not a forest or a majestic mountain. It is not an endangered animal being protected in Yellowstone National Park. Instead, it is a cheesy tourist attraction that could be found in any part of the United States.Bedrock

A few days ago, the Associated Press reported that the Flintstones Bedrock City Theme Park and Camping Resort, which has operated in Custer, South Dakota since 1972, is closing. Apparently, the property has been sold to another party, but the future of the park is in doubt.

I cannot remember how old I was when I first saw the park. It was on a trip with my family and could not have been long after it opened. We were in the Black Hills to see Mount Rushmore and came upon Bedrock. The houses. The cars. Everything look just like the drawings in the cartoon.

Years later, I returned to Bedrock as an adult. I had already been to Mount Rushmore and the unfinished Crazy Horse Memorial and was on the way to Deadwood, South Dakota, the notorious mining camp where Wild Bill Hickok met his demise. However, there was one other stop to make.

No one else was in the park. I walked through the grounds and passed buildings that were meant to contain concession stands and magic shows. As I made my way through, I wondered if I arrived ahead of the summer crowds, but I felt that the park was on its last legs. A sadness came over me as I sat in a car that was supposed to be powered by feet. It was a place that I wanted to be open forever, but I doubted that would happen. Now, I read that this may be its last day.

I hope that it is a good day with a lot of kids. I hope the concession stands are open and the magic shows are, well, magical. As the theme song says, I hope everyone is having “a gay old time.”

13 Responses to “A Sad Day in Bedrock”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong September 7, 2015 at 21:39 #

    I never made it to Bedrock, but many other places I have loved have closed. Disappeared. One of my rare triumphs — well, not mine personally but it felt personal to me — was the resurrection of Coney Island. Even though I have not been there for quite a while, it makes me happy knowing it exists for new generations. Maybe someone will step in and save Bedrock. If only we were rich …

    • Rick September 7, 2015 at 22:13 #

      Coney Island is on my bucket list.

      • Marilyn Armstrong September 7, 2015 at 22:20 #

        It’s one of the places that makes America American.

  2. frontrangescribbles September 8, 2015 at 00:03 #

    Never made it to Bedrock and I just spent two days driving back and forth thru KS this holiday weekend. Ugh!

    • Rick September 8, 2015 at 01:35 #

      There are a few good things in Kansas.

  3. Agatha Ann September 8, 2015 at 02:57 #

    I remember going to one of these when I was really small. I know we have photo evidence of our bedrock visit! Lots of fun… Sorry to hear yours might close down!

    • Rick September 8, 2015 at 03:15 #

      We don’t have a Bedrock in these parts. Although, we have Rock City. I only know that Custer, SD will never be the same.

  4. NotAPunkRocker September 8, 2015 at 14:59 #

    On a related but not really note, I was sad when Kings Dominion, after years of different owners got bought back by Cedar Fair a few years ago and got rid of all the references to the Hanna Barbera characters. Especiallly in the kid’s area. The Scooby Ghoster Coaster is some Snoopy thing. Not that I don’t like Snoopy, but I love HB stuff more and worry about it becoming more and more obscure (classic-type, not 90s Cartoon Network era)

    • Rick September 8, 2015 at 15:40 #

      I understand. I am also a big fan of HB, but their marketers do not seem to be as good as others. Although, my favorite cartoon, Thundarr the Barbarian, was created by people who split from HB.

    • Rick September 8, 2015 at 18:21 #

      We need to collect some money and make this a history department retreat.

  5. Necole Bell September 9, 2015 at 02:29 #

    I’m a tad late like always of reading this post. I have to say I’m one of those Beach People that you’re talking about. I love the sounds, smell and relaxation that the Beach brings. However, your love of the open sky, rolling mountains and red Dirt is taking its toll on my soul! I’m looking forward to our upcoming vacation to one of your favorite places because what I love more than the beach is the feel of your hand in mine and looking over and seing you beam with pure joy that we are in a place that is your place of peace. I can’t believe that you are converting me…I’m no longer a beach bum but a tag a long for your adventures which by the way normally come with great accommodations, wine and food:)

    • Rick September 9, 2015 at 02:40 #

      I love you.

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