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Astroworld Memories


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My memories:

My very, very earliest memory is riding the tram that takes you back to the parking lot. It was a warm evening; almost closing time, and I was clutching my stuffed hippopotamus that my parents bought me at the gift shop. I remember the glowing lights of the entrance.

I loved the live shows in the theater in the Texas Cyclone area: Midsummer Night Scream, the Chinese Acrobats, Sid & Marty Krofft live.

Fright Nights/Fright Fest. Every time I left feeling a little disturbed because of all the fake blood and bodies, but I loved it.

Holiday In The Park with the melting snowhill.

The Horizon theater. I was always afraid to lay down because, 1. it was scary and 2. because it was dirty.

My cousin's husband leaving before everyone else because they weren't selling beer and one of the straps on his "Tiddy's" broke.

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I'm old enough to remember when Astroworld first opened. I was 8 yo and we were thrilled!!

Memories:

The tram which took you from the parking lot to the park -- the driver used to give you a sort of tour -- interesting things about Astroworld, etc, as he transported you. What I remember most was the fact that Hofheinz paid ONE MILLION dollars JUST to build the bridge across 610. Doesn't sound like much now, but in 1968, that was a fortune --- and just for the bridge!

The advertising jingle: Astroworld, Astroworld, what a wonderful world of fun fun fu-un! Astroworld, Astroworld, what a wonderful world of fun!

The astrowheel -- the two sided ferris wheel and the Astro Needle were sort of the signature rides when it first opened.

Alpine Sleigh Ride -- it always had the longest lines because you got to ride through the tunnel where freezing cold air was blasted at you. When Astroworld was still very new, at the very end of the ride, just as you exited the last tunnel, the Abominable Snowman would jump out at you. It was a guy dressed in a furry white costume -- a real person. It was so cool and very scary (especially at my young age). Even though you knew he'd be there, you were still anticipating the scare! He didn't last very long because unfortunately I think people threw things at him or tried to hurt him somehow.

The Lost Riverboat Ride -- don't remember the exact name of this ride, but you know the routine. They used that tired old "Shirley Temple" joke (Shirley tribe's temple) ad nauseum, but we loved going on it because you could get sprayed with water!

The Black Dragon -- too wild for me at 8 yo, I didn't go on it again till I was a teenager!

The Serpent -- it was Astroworld's first "roller coaster". It was so tame but all we had at that time! Then....

Dexter Frebish's Electrical Roller Ride opened -- now THAT was a roller coaster! I was 12 years old and a friend and I rode on it ten times in a row one day.

Crystal Palace -- you had to arrive at least 20 minutes before the show was scheduled to arrive or you couldn't get in. It was such a relief to sit in the A/C and rest your feet. The shows were pretty good too, with live male & female dancers and a comedian or ventriloquist or some such. I'm pretty sure it was local college aged kids who had an opportunity to use their talents!

OUTDOOR A/C -- The outdoor patio tables at some of the cafes had air conditioning shooting out of the center of the table. Wow! We were so impressed!

The bread shop -- Mrs. Baird's if I remember correctly. You could buy a freshly baked mini-loaf.

This all sounds so tame now, but in my youth, Astroworld was the highlight of my summers!

That's all I can remember right now. I'm sure I'll remember more later. I have to admit, I haven't been there in years -- I'm not a kid anymore. How sad that it will go away.

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OUTDOOR A/C -- The outdoor patio tables at some of the cafes had air conditioning shooting out of the center of the table. Wow! We were so impressed!
What I remember most was the fact that Hofheinz paid ONE MILLION dollars JUST to build the bridge across 610. Doesn't sound like much now, but in 1968, that was a fortune --- and just for the bridge!

Just now on Fox 26 news, they revisted the opening of Astroworld and brought up both the outdoor air conditioning and the bridge.

I remember the bread shop too! I forgot about that.

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I remember when I was little and my dad talked me into riding Grease Lightning (the one that shoots off the ramp and goes in a loop and finally goes straight up and then comes back backwards.) That ride scared the crap out of me and I wanted to get off of it right away, but my restraint was stuck and I thought I was about to go up it again.

Last time I ever rode that thing.

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I remember the first time I went there. It was a company picnic for my grandmothers job. My grandmoter took me and two of my other cousins with her. I think us and the company she worked for and other peoples kids all rode GreyHound or some other bus from Bryan to Houston. I did not get to ride many rides because I was really young. I remember back then there where dog leash for parents to tie to there kids arms, and my grandmother had one of those for me and one of my other cousins.

My parents, along with my aunts, uncles cousins, and I, use to take trips to Houston during the summer so that we could go to Astroworld. Back then I remembered that the biggest modern looking ride there that we all wanted to ride but coundn't because we where to young was the Viper.

The last time I was at Astroworld (Summer 2004), my cousins, brother and I stayed the whole dad. We got in free because my cousins had free passes for us. The last ride I rode was the Texas Cyclone, we where the last ones on that ride for the night, so when the ride stoped, it stoped on the tracks and we had to walk all the way down to where we were supposed to get off. We we all mad because we could have fallen of that thing from way up there walking down. Any ways, when we got back to my cousins house we told my uncle what happened, and he said he would call and try to get us some free tickets for what we had to go through, but that never happened, and I probably will never see Astroworld again.

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1. Worked there for 5 years

2. Met my first love.

3. Met my best friends, who are still my best friends to this day

4. Saw some of the most bizarre things I've seen in my life while there.

5. Just in general had some of the most memorable experiences in my life. I consider it a place where I grew up.

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I've had the blues like Karen Carpenter sings about in Rainy Days and Mondays since I heard the news yesterday. I think it is just tragic how such a key landmark and attraction of Houston that almost everyone has been to and enjoyed is set to go away for good. We can build all of the lofts and such we want downtown and create all of the mcManasions with strip malls we want in the burbs but this town has a really stupid way of taking a wrecking ball to REAL TRUE history and nostalgia.

I'm sure almost everyone here has an Atsroworld story of how they recall going with mom and dad as a kid, with friends as a teen, on a date, etc. I've really been thinking of the most memorable trips I had there for the last day and I'm very depressed about this.

I've been there many times but a few times stand out like the time I was 9 and scared to go on the Serpent rollercoaster. I can still recall being in middle school when new rides like the Ultra twister and Batman' Ecsape opened. The concerts at the outdoor theater I was not so much into but I can remember some big name stars from the early 90s playing there. Driving those antique looking cars on the tracks was such a treat as a kid. The dome where they showed projector films of a ride on the Texas Cyclone was also a fav. I think they used to have a Dolphin show there as well back in the late 80s. The sky lift that took you from one side of the park to the other was also a nice thing. So many memories there.

Six Flags management is saying the parking law suit with Harris county was not the one factor that made them decide this way but I speculate it was the thing that broke them. Attendance many have fallen a bit but fluctuation is normal and a business cycle applies to everything. It's not like their collections took a 30% dive in the past few years.

The Harris county officials who picked a fight about parking are total JACKAZZES IMHO. What did it get them now? They were so worried about Texans games and the Rodeo (events that take place only on a few Sundays and about a month, respectively) that they have squandered an $8 per vehicle revenue all summer and many weekends out of the year.

After they close the parking will mostly sit idle less the shows and events in Reliant Park which are no where close to replacing the sheer number of cars that came to the theme park.

I see the park every weekday as I drive to work on 610 so when they start ripping it up this winter it'll be very hard on me.

I just wish someone else would buy the freakin thing and keep it running even if it means closing down Waterworld to cut costs. Someone like Bob McNair or rather some group of individuals like him with money to burn should buy it and restructure it to be a money maker. Convert it to a church if you have to Bob. Hold services on Sunday and get the tax exemption.

The carzy inflation on land value is forcing even iconic things to be shut down.

I will just go insane if they build a Walmart on the site so it can be next to the Sams Club already there.

Your thoughts on this?

Your memories there?

The last day is Oct 30th and I plan to go that last weekend and buy at least a few momentos.

I had planned on taking my future kids there and going on the rides and playing the games I played there when I was a kid but sadly this is not going to be possible.

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Well, Six Flags stoped caring about AstroWorld along time ago. For years now I have been seeing other Six Flags Parks add new rides every year, but at AstroWorld not really big was happening like new rides upgrades, and expansions. This is when I realized that they where letting the AstroWorld go down the drain. Mabe something good will come out of this, mabe Houston will get the new giant theme park that it has been wishing for!

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I think blaming County Officials is short-sighted. As has been previously stated, Six Flags gave up on Astroworld years ago. The parking situation and expensive real estate are convenient excuses to give to the public.

I think Six Flags decided to close Astroworld and found reasons for the decision, not the other way around.

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Thanks for sharing those pictures, jb4647. It's great that you have those. I guess I've got pictures somewhere around.

The Astrodome sure looked purdy.

This is a wonderful site. It has maps going back to the first year. I havn't thought about the "Wagon Wheel" in years!

http://www.sixflagshouston.com/

I've been visiting that site since the announcement was made. Mostly just reading the forums, though. Too depressing to look at the other content.

Something else I loved at Astroworld was the shooting gallery in Western Junction. Interactive animatronics are so neat.

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Thanks for sharing those photos.

I've probably got some from the mid 80s when I was a kid somewhere in the closet.

I don't even know you or the people in the photos but it's depressing to see people having such a good time there and how it will all come to an end soon and needlessly. The dome area looks so peaceful in that photo. I long for 610 to have traffic at those levels these days. ha...it's more crowded than that even at 3 am on Sunday.

The county govt. is totally out of control IMHO. They are just plain greedy and want to have development so they can get their cut in increased tax revenues.

Six Flags added multi-million dollar rides to AstroWorld right up until 2003. This parking issue law suit was filed early in 05 so I'd speculate some sort of negotiations were taking place in 04 and things got so bad no new investments were made to the park. There is no proof of this but perhaps the county was giving them a hard time and harassing them with several inspections, fines, and red tape on mundane issues in a hope to drive them out of Houston and mainly off of that prime land.

If such a thing occured we will never know. That's all just speculation and a possibility but the bottom line is that this park is Houston History. It just makes me nuts how places like downtown are revitalized to preserve our history but a place like AstroWorld that generations of Houstonians love and have memories of are eliminated. WTF?

The county should have done everything in its power to help keep the park running. Hey, they got their parking revenues for decades so why are they so hostile and non-cooperative? The county could have even given them a subsidy in the form of a tax break or perhaps a %age of the parking $$$ to help them in the lean years if needed.

Remember that we just had about a quarter million people move to this region due to Katrina. Here in the early stages of relocation a theme park is the last thing on those peoples' minds. But hey, by next summer they would have been settled in somewhat and explored the city. Astroworld would have no doubt in my mind seen many patrons who are new to Houston in summer of 06 had they stayed around.

It's just sad how no one has appreciation and respect for historic stuff. The county just things of these things as "aged, old, or outdated".

A bit off topic but I thought building the Reliant Stadium next to the dome was sheer stupidity. This sort of planning puts the dome at great risk for demolition. God help us if we tear down that keystone iconic houston landmark.

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Moved to Houston as a mid to late teen, and AstroWorld was my first job. I have a ton of memories but they are due to having been employed there for 5 seasons. I met my two best friends, who are still my best friends to this day, at AstroWorld, I fell in love there, I got over my shyness there, I learned responsibility there, I met celebrities there, and I had some of the best and most bizarre times of my life there. I will miss it.

Long live AstroWorld.

*note*- Flower Child, Mongoose, Phsyco, and Reeper, where are you guys today? A lizard in the ketchup bottle at Shanghai Grill........you guys were insane. My goodness, the stories I could tell of my 5 years at that place.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

My best friend and I used to get a season pass every year for $10. Our favorite ride was the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride. We also liked the round theater where you watched while lying on the floor. I remember seeing helicopter rides and the curves on Lambart Street in San Francisco. We got kicked out of Astroworld once when we spit on a man's head from the sky ride that took you from one side to the other. Sorry.......we were kids! :huh:

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  • 8 months later...

In 1970 I worked first on the old-fashioned cars and later at the Wacky Shack. The Shack had just been built and the wood smelled really awful--very strong chemical odors. We could hardly find our way to our cars after hours bc we were so sick. :blink:

My cousin worked in the park too and his favorite thing to do after his shift was over was to get on the Alpine Sleigh Ride with his coworkers and harass his friends who were playing the Abominable Snowman.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My dad took me, my cousin and a friend to Astroword during one its Fright Night periods. This was before they called it Fright Fest. The big deal that year ('87, '88?) was that Freddy Krueger was appearing there. My god, it was so crowded. You could barely walk through the park in some places.

Someone was shot inside the park that night, but it happened after we left that day.

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what was the name of that other ride that dropped you there, preceding the dungeon drop? was it the sky screamer? it had an agonizing beep that would go off two or three seconds before it dropped you i liked that one but it scared the crap out of me! I remember my brother getting kicked out for taking his seatbelt off on thunder river and jumping in, he claimed he and his buddy were thrown out!!

last time i was there was the mid-90's on a fright night halloween night. I could tell we didn't belong there anymore. This was confirmed when we were walking across the parking lot and some kids ran between us and the shots rang between us as some other kids chased them shooting.

good ridance as it's time of family fun was done in my eyes. but I'll cherish the memories except those last ones.

Edited by westguy76
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Yes westguy, that was SkyScreamer--OMG! Freaked me out!!

I had many good memories, but unfortunately, one time I was there on a day that I wasn't supposed to be (my mother expressly told me not to go), and when I came home I found out my father died. I only went one time after that, needless to say it was not the same.

I am sad that it is gone though.

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Sky Screamer was great, you could put a quarter on either knee and when you dropped you could watch the quarters just hang in mid-air about chest high to you.

I remember puking my guts out when I was about 10 after my first trip on the Texas Cyclone. I rode Excalibur for a longtime after that. The Wagon wheel was OK. Loved Greased Lightning.

I remember the Texas Star Ampitheater, saw Flock of Seagulls, and The Fixx there. Bryan Adams played there one night. I remember the last time I went we rode XLR8 and the Flock of Seagulls were playing, And I Ran , as a teeneager, that was a pretty cool experience, but as an adult looking back on it, just seems lame. :lol:

Edited by TJones
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Astroworld brings back so many memories. My Father sold concrete blocks and construction material and he provided most of it for the company that built Astroworld. As a kid he took me out to see the construction site numerous times in the late sixties when it was being built. Then in 1976 and 77 I worked at Astroworld. That was when they were building the Cyclone. I worked in the warehouse and we delivered everything out to the parks. One day I had to take a forklift and move a pattelt full of BB's out to the Cyclone. We had the BB's because they were used at a game in the Country Fair where you used and air gun to try and shoot all of a star out of a paper target for a prize. The shot came in 50 pound bags and they used 6 to a car on the Cyclone to test it before anyone rode it after it was built. Several of the bags flew out of the seats and busted open sending the BB's everywhere. For years after that I was one of the few people who knew why there were BB's on the ground under the Cyclone.

For anyone interested in a really old piece of Astroworld history if you are ever driving on Highway 6 west of 288 and a little west of 521 if you see a fenced in area on the south side of 6 you can still see several of the original buckets from the original Astrowheel. That was the two side ferris wheel type ride that was original to the park opening. It was closed after so many mechanical problems and as I remember one of the mechanics who worked at the Park asked if he could have some of the cars. They said sure and he put them out on Highway 6 where they are still sitting today.

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