Anyone who spent time in Council Bluffs in the 1950s or first half of the ’60s will certainly remember Playland Park. It would be impossible to miss a roller coaster three blocks long that passed over two city streets adjacent to the city’s busiest thoroughfare.
Playland Park was to open on Decoration Day in 1948, but not all approved of the plans. Concern was raised that footings on land so near the river wouldn’t be sound enough to support such a large roller coaster; some neighbors were concerned about noise. Once it opened, the park prospered and grew. Rides and attractions were modified over the years. “The Bullet” was allegedly a favorite of park employees because they got to keep whatever change flew out of the riders’ pockets onto the ground during the ride.
In addition to the amusement rides, the owners developed the Dodge Park race track. In 1949, it was converted from a dirt dog track to a paved midget auto track. In 1952, the track was adapted for modified stock cars.
The amusement park closed in 1964 to make way for interstate work. The race track closed in 1977.