Story Land

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This article is about the New Hampshire theme park. For other uses, see Storyland (disambiguation).
Story Land
Storyland Billboard.jpg
Slogan "Where Fantasy Lives"
Location Glen, New Hampshire, U.S.
Coordinates 44°06′58″N 71°10′58″W / 44.11611°N 71.18278°W / 44.11611; -71.18278Coordinates: 44°06′58″N 71°10′58″W / 44.11611°N 71.18278°W / 44.11611; -71.18278
Owner Palace Entertainment (Parques Reunidos)
Opened 1954
Rides
Total 21
Website www.storylandNH.com
A carved wooden structure at the entrance of the park.

Story Land is a theme park located in Glen, New Hampshire.

In the few years prior to opening, the founders, Bob and Ruth Morrell, had purchased a large number of dolls from Germany based on storybook characters. This was the basis for the park. When it opened, it had just one ride: a ride on an old fire truck. By the end of the 20th century, the park spanned some 35 acres (140,000 m2)[1] and had over 20 rides.

Story Land was operated by the family-owned Morrell Corporation from 1954 to 2007. After Stoney Morrell, son of the original owners, died, the park was sold to The Kennywood Entertainment Company. Kennywood was in turn bought by Parques Reunidos the following year. In 2009, it was placed under Parques Reunidos American division, Palace Entertainment.

Voyage To The Moon[edit]

Voyage To The Moon in 1983

After a year of study and preparation, Story Land announced in 1981 that it would add a new, original, state-of-the-art dark ride. It would be housed in a fabric-covered dome 50 feet tall and 124 feet wide. Bob Morrell had seen a similar structure in a Florida cow field and was determined to add one to the park. The interior of the white fabric roof was painted black, and two of the creative collaborators on Heritage-NH, artisans Peter Stone and David Norton, were hired to create the storyline and scenes inside. The dome took shape in 1981. The skeletal steel of the huge cannon was ready in winter 1982. Space Fantasy, later renamed Voyage To The Moon, officially opened in June 1983 after nearly three years of engineering and construction. Gov. John Sununu shared the first five-minute voyage with Bob Morrell in the bullet cars built by Bradley and Kaye of California. Each car had speakers to broadcast sound effects triggered by an antenna underneath, computer-synchronized with lighting effects. The cars moved slowly through the cannon on a chain-driven conveyance into the darkened dome, slowly winding back down through a series of fantasy scenes such as a candy land and a polka dot sea, each populated by friendly, animated, imaginary creatures. By the mid-1990s, the high maintenance costs and low capacity of the Voyage To The Moon led to consideration of alternative uses for the domed structure. Story Land's only dark ride operated for about 15 years before the dome was converted to Professor Bigglestep's Loopy Lab play area during the winter of 1998/1999. The Loopy Lab contains an indoor playground full of foam balls, giant vacuums and hoses, and compressed air cannons. The original blackened ceiling was replaced by an all-white one in 2008.

Heritage New Hampshire[edit]

Heritage New Hampshire, an attraction owned by the Morrell family and dedicated to New Hampshire history, was located next to Story Land for many years, but closed in 2006. The building still stands, while the inside of the attractions were taken out and Storyland now uses the building for storage.

Heritage New Hampshire was an interactive museum that featured several actors that would play the role of a person who impacted New Hampshire's history. There was the captain of a tall ship from England, a woodsman, a newspaper printer, Mathew Brady (famous Civil War photographer), an engineer of a steam train through Crawford Notch, and others. The Morrell family often directly employed British university graduates as actors under the auspices of the BUNAC "Work America" work exchange programme for the summer season; this was a reciprocal arrangement which thus allowed American graduates to work in the UK during their vacations. The family were known for their hospitality and their foreign employees often featured in the Story Land Yearbooks.

As guests would move in between different sections of the museum, they would see some video footage, some animatronics, and some exhibits. There was a gift shop at the end of the museum tours.

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