Located in Carrollton, Texas, Sandy Lake Amusement Park is a family-owned amusement park offering a variety of high and mild thrill rides, along with a swimming pool, mini golf course, arcade, and picnic pavilions. The origins of Sandy Lake Amusement Park date back to the turn of the 20th century, when Frank Rush moved to the Oklahoma area after his appointment as the supervisor of a 59,000-acre site designated for the reintroduction of native buffalo into the region.
Following his retirement in 1923, Rush established the Craterville Park and Dude Ranch facility near the refuge’s southern border at a site approximately 15 miles northwest of the city of Lawton. As a result of his work with the refuge project, Rush had developed a significant relationship with area indigenous tribes, which led to the organization of an American Indian Exposition event at the park. A number of amusement attractions were also added to the park, including a skating rink, dark house maze, cobblestone golf course, swimming pool, arcade, and rides such as bumper cars and a Ferris wheel.
After Rush’s death in 1933, park operations were taken over by Rush’s son, E. Frank Rush, and his children Frank Rush III and Suzy Self. In 1957, the park’s land was seized by imminent domain by the Army Corps of Engineers and drafted into the Fort Sill military base, prompting a move of Craterville Park to a new location near Quartz Mountain State Park. Following a decline in park attendance after the move, the Rush family sold Craterville Park and relocated to the Dallas region. In 1971, the Rushes acquired the current Sandy Lake Amusement Park property, which officially opened to the public in 1971.
Rides and Attractions
Today, Sandy Lake Amusement Park is a third-generation family-owned amusement park, operated by Vickie and Frank Rush III and Suzy and Tom Self. The park has received significant support from the Dallas community and has been recognized nationally as one of the top traditional family-owned amusement parks in the country. A variety of amusement rides and attractions are offered, along with public park facilities and amenities designed to create a community gathering atmosphere.
Thrill rides offered at the parking include a Space Shuttle, a pirate-ship-style ride themed to mimic a spacecraft in flight, and a Rock-O-Plane caged-car spinning Ferris wheel attraction. The Pretzel dark haunted ride offers lights-out thrills for riders of all ages, while a Train provides scenic views throughout the park. Other classic midway rides include Paratroopers, a Tilt-a-Whirl, a Scrambler, a Merry-Go-Round, a free-spinning Spider ride, Zumur swings, and classic Bumper Cars.
Children’s rides at the park include the Little Dipper kid-sized roller coaster, which may be ridden by family members of all ages. The Dragon Wagon miniature roller coaster is also offered for young riders up to a maximum height of 54 inches. A Star Fighter flying spaceship ride is offered in the park’s children’s section, along with a Bulgy the Whale flying fish car ride, a Rock ‘N Roll miniature whip ride, a Midge-O-Racer circle track car ride, and a Kiddie Boat Ride. Pony rides are also available at the park on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for riders under 48 inches with adult supervision.
A variety of other attractions are offered in addition to rides, including one of the largest family swimming pools in the region. A miniature golf course is offered, along with a full arcade featuring a variety of video, sport, and pinball-style games. All games operate on quarters and offer chances to win prizes such as plush toys.Paddle Boats are also offered, which may be rented for 20-minute excursions on the park’s lake.
A number of Picnic Pavilions are offered throughout the park’s 60 acres, which may accommodate individual families throughout the operating day or large groups of up to several thousand as part of rental reservations. Food served at the park’s concession stand includes a variety of standard American fare, including a signature all-you-can-eat hickory-smoked Texas barbecue meal. Other meal choices include hot dogs, nachos, Frito pies, and Blue Bell ice cream.
Events and Rentals
A number of amenities may be added to rental packages for groups looking to rent the park’s picnic pavilions, including access to volleyball and softball fields, cornhole games, sack race equipment, dunk tanks, and other games and amusements. Speaker podiums, public address systems, karaoke machines, and CD players are also available, and arrangements for clowns, face painters, balloon artists, and disc jockeys. Several tiers of birthday party rental packages are available for young visitors wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the park, offering pool passes, amusement tickets, and food add-on packages. In addition to private special events, several annual public special events are held at the park, including a FunFest school music competition and a Santa Fe Days community event focusing on indigenous culture and history.
1800 Sandy Lake Rd, Carrollton, TX 75006, Phone: 972-242-7449