Codonas Amusement Park

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Codona's Amusement Park
Codonas Amusement Park.png
Most recent logo
Slogan "It's Scotland's Favourite!"
Location Aberdeen, Scotland
Coordinates 57°9′4″N 2°4′39″W / 57.15111°N 2.07750°W / 57.15111; -2.07750Coordinates: 57°9′4″N 2°4′39″W / 57.15111°N 2.07750°W / 57.15111; -2.07750
Owner Andrea, John & Alfred Codona
General Manager Jack Codona
Opened 1969
Total 11
Roller coasters 674

Codona's Amusement Park is an amusement park based in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was established by the Codona Family in 1969 and is currently managed by the third generation of the family. It is situated adjacent to the Aberdeen Beach and Queens Links on the coast of the North Sea.


The first known records of the Codona family begin with Francesco Cardoni when he moved to the United Kingdom in the 1800s. Very little is known of him other than he was likely to have arrived from Italy and that he was of Italian gypsy descent. Cardoni's descendants inherited his circus genes working in circuses throughout Europe, but the majority remained in Scotland.[1]

Throughout the 19th century the circus family toured Scotland entertaining towns and cities with various acts. In the latter half of the 1800s, some of the Codona family emigrated to the US leading to the formation of the world-famous trapeze act "The Flying Codonas". The act went on to become International Stars and featured in various films, including Varieté (1925).[2]

Once the industrial revolution hit in the 1860s, the Scotland-based Codonas were able to purchase steam powered fairground rides which they toured the country with. Gradually expanding their business and receiving criticism by religious groups for their "cheap theatre" and "Low travelling caravans". The first recorded visit by the Codona family to Aberdeen was in 1877 by John Codona to see his son marry.[1]

Another member of the Codona family, from the emigrated side made headline news when Alfredo Codona, a trapeze artist from the family, killed himself and his ex-wife Vera Bruce after the tragic death of his second wife in 1937.[3] This did not seem to impact upon the rest of the family whom continued with their work in Scotland, and his brother Lalo who took his place with the flyers abroad until he was forced to retire from damaged muscles in his legs.[4]

Alfred and Gordon took over their father John Codona's Pleasure Fairs business which they ran until 1960. Alfred took over the beachfront amusement park which became the Codona's Amusement Park of today. By the 1970s the number of visitors began to decline, but has remained viable because of the combination of relatively low unemployment in the area, the beach itself, locals of Aberdeen, and contribution from UK holidaymakers[1]

List of current rides and attractions[edit]

Amusement park[edit]

Roller coasters[edit]

Name Manufacturer Opened Description
Apple Coaster Pinfari 2003 A small, sit-down coaster designed for children, it has 1 train with 6 cars which makes it a 24 riders per train. It was opened in 2003 and lasts for 2:50 minutes. This ride is a Pinfari. It has the standard Big Apple figure-eight layout which is used on over 200 roller coasters around the world.
Looping Star Pinfari 2000 A Pinfari Looping Zyklon, it is the only ride at the park with an inversion. It was built on top of the mini-golf and restaurant and it cost 5 tokens (£2.50) to ride. It replaced the Galaxi roller coaster, which was moved to Loudoun Castle amusement park (now defunct). It used the newer Pinfari trains, which could be seen on rides built from around 1999.

Other rides[5][edit]

Codona's Ferris wheel, Aberdeen
Codona's Ferris wheel, Aberdeen
  • Vertigo Aerial Assault Course
  • The Grampian Eye (Ferris wheel, opened in 2005)
  • White Water Log Flume (Standard Reverchon model)
  • The Galleon (Swinging Ship)
  • Dead Man's Drop Tower (manufactured by SBF)
  • Waltzers
  • Giant Slide
  • Circuit 2000
  • Super Trucks
  • Animal Barn Pet Centre
  • Spinning Cups and Saucers
  • Carousel
  • Skydeck Super Dodgems

Notable Past Rides[edit]

Opened Closed Name Manufacturer Description
1981 1990s "Big Wheel" Eli-Bridge A traditional Ferris Wheel.
1998 "Galaxy" S.D.C. A Galaxi rollercoaster, relocated to Loudoun Castle.
1977 1977 "Mad Mouse" Maxwell A wooden wild mouse rollercoaster. Possibly relocated to/from Ayr and Redcar.
2003 2014 "Crazy Train" Pinfari A MM29 rollercoaster, relocated to Gulliver's Land Warrington.
1979 1982 "Jets" Lang Wheels A traditional jets ride, relocated from Wonderland Cleethorpes.
2000 2008 "Shockwave" Barbieri A waveswinger ride. Sold to showmen M&D Taylor.
1992 2003 "Twister" Sonacase The park's second twist ride.
1991 "Twister" Ivan Bennett The park's original twist ride.
1976 1980 "Sky Rider" Maxwell A lifting paratrooper ride, purchased from travelling showman Enoch Doubtfire. Still travels the U.K. with showman Mark Hadfield.
1990 1994 "Octopus" Bakker Denies A polyp ride purchased from Dutch showman J. Dauphin. Sold to West Midlands Safari Park in 1995, where it currently operates as "Hurtling Hippos".
1972 1977 "Speedway" Maxwell A traditonal ark ride, with motorcycle shaped seats. Sold to showman Gordon Eddy in October 1977. Operated at Brean Leisure Park as a Waltzer briefly during 2003.
1985 1988 "Super Loops" Larson International A Super Loops ride.
1959 1970 "Octopus" Lusse A traditional Octopus (ride). Sold to Colin Noble in 1971.
1987 "Swing Around" Mel Park (Technical Park) A ramba zamba ride, later operated at Loudoun Castle and Seaburn Amusement Park.
1950s 1969 "Big Wheel" Eli-Bridge The park's original Ferris Wheel.
2014 "Haunted Mansion" A small ghost train.

Adventure Golf[edit]

Pirate Island Adventure Golf[edit]

Opening in March 2007 this outdoor attraction accommodates 18-holes. Throughout this exhibition the theme of pirates is extremely evident with the highly technical special effects that are in use. As well as this the 25 ft volcano and pirate ship are in keeping with the genre. The exhibition is known as one of Aberdeen’s must do attractions.[6]

The Congo Indoor Adventure Golf[edit]

Opening in the March of 2008, this attraction which is located indoors was the first of its kind within the North East of Scotland. [7]

Sunset Boulevard[edit]

Smugglers Cove adventure play and role play street[edit]

Smugglers Cove opened in 2013 and replaced Ramboland. It consists of an adventure play area similar to Ramboland but has the addition of a restaurant bringing the amount of restaurants to 4. When the Wimpy restaurant closed Smugglers Cove was expanded and a Kids disco room and fire station were added as well as a new, larger under 3s area featuring a bouncy castle.The adventure play, which was the first in Aberdeen, consists of two sections, one for children under the age of three and one for older children. as well as providing a three storey play structure, featuring a spiral slide from the top to the bottom, and also the 'free fall' a near vertical drop slide. on top of this, there is a role play street, where children can dress up and pretend to work as members of staff in various industries including a supermarket and pizzeria.

XD Theatre (Dino Safri)[edit]

The simulator, which originated from Canada, sits eight people on the ride at once and takes the riders on an exciting expedition. The theatre used run The Haunted Mine, Cosmic Coaster and Underwater Adventure. Since early 2015 the only run the theatre only runs one show Dino Safri. The outsides of it has also been decorated to this Dino theme.

Caesars Games Emporium[edit]

The games emporium is split into four different areas, three of which are for people ages eighteen and over. Within the three areas they are many different fruit machines, some of which give the user to collect winnings of anything up to and including £500. The other area consists of fruit machines that don’t offer as much money as winnings and ones for the whole family to use.[8]


Sunset Boulevard has 4 restaurants. 'The Carsoal Cafe' can be found in the theme park and serves fast food. It opened in March 2015 to replace fast food restaurant Wimpy, which had shut down. The second restaurant is the 'Congo Bar & Diner', located above 'Congo Adventure Golf' and sells various types of food and drink. The third restaurant is 'Sunset Diner & Bar', located next to the bowling alley and sells similar types of food to the 'Congo Bar & Diner'. The fourth restaurant opened early 2013 in the 'Smuggler's Cove' soft play area. In early 2015 the restaurant got an extension occupying the area Wimpy was situated at.

Other attractions[edit]

  • 10-Pin Bowling
  • American Pool
  • Video Games Deck
  • Cuba Pool Suites
  • Play'N'Win


Other facilities[edit]

One of the amenities located on site is a small conference room, which has the ability cater for up to and including twenty people. In addition to this, all of the services the park has to offer are available for exclusive hire day or night for over two thousand people.[9]


In 2006, the park introduced Dodgem the Dog as the mascot for the park. It was the winning creation of a Primary School competition - by Amy Cardno, Scotland - to design a mascot for the park. Dodgem the Dog is seen walking around the park as well as on rides.[10] Later on they added a new mascot Candyfloss the dog.


  1. ^ a b c Bruce, Frank. "Codona's and the forgotten fun of the fair". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  2. ^ "The Codonas". Circopedia. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  3. ^ Staff report (1 August 1937). BULLETS OF CODONA FATAL TO HIS EX-WIFE; Vera Bruce Dies in Morning After Aerialist's Suicide at Long Beach, Calif. New York Times
  4. ^ "Codona family (circus performers)". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Codonas Amusement Park". GoThisPlace. Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  6. ^ "Crazy Golf Aberdeen Beach Pirate Island Miniature Golf Codonas". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  7. ^ "Congo Indoor Adventure Golf Aberdeen". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  8. ^ "Caesers Games Emporium". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  9. ^ "Corporate Events". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 
  10. ^ "Codona's". Retrieved 2013-04-01. 

External links[edit]