The Silesia Amusement Park, or Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko, is Poland’s oldest funfair, with a tradition of over 57 years. It is situated in the area of Silesia Park, which straddles the border between the cities of Katowice and Chorzów. Let’s travel back in time to trace its history.
Construction of the Amusement Park began in 1957. Laid out over 39 hectares, it was planned as an entertainment area for the region’s inhabitants. The first stage of the project was completed in 1959 and the funfair welcomed first visitors in the same year.
By 1960 there were 63 machines and devices in operation and the new funfair enjoyed great popularity. On average, it was visited by 6,000 people on weekdays and about 50,000 at weekends or on public holidays. One record was broken in September 1966 when the Trybuna Robotnicza Newspaper Festival attracted 80,000 visitors. People arrived in Silesia from all over the country to enjoy the attractions of Poland’s first funfair.
The biggest carousel, once called the Big Planes and now the Dream Flight Airlines, has been in operation since the funfair opened. The planes are suspended from a 45-metre tower and rotate around it at a speed of up to 55 km/h. Their flight lasts about 5 minutes.
Both adults and teenagers used to frequent the Arizona floating café, which offered aromatic coffee and a unique atmosphere. Today many recall it as the place where they met their future spouses. The café was known for regular dance evenings owing to which people who moved to Silesia in search of jobs could easily make new acquaintances. The place closed in the late 1980s.
One new attraction added in 1985 was the Ferris Wheel (now the Legendia Flower). Offering a panorama of the surroundings from its carts, it still makes one of the best viewpoints in the area. The Legendia Flower is 40 metres high and was beautifully illuminated in 2011 with the use of 405 metres of LED strip lighting.
Until March 2015 the Silesia Amusement Park was managed by Wojewódzki Park Kultury i Wypoczynku im. Gen. Jerzego Ziętka S.A. Significant changes started in 2007 when the funfair saw the arrival of a 21-metre-high roller coaster with a double loop, all new in Poland. New carousels were purchased in 2014 from the Danish Sommerland Syd funfair.
Since May 2015 the Silesia Amusement Park has been managed by Tatry Mountain Resorts, the controlling shareholder, which owns 75% of the shares. The company committed itself to invest PLN 120 million (EUR 30 m) over the next five years. The funfair’s first theme zone, put into use in 2016, was the Magical Mountains zone, including the Diamond River, a new attraction themed as a diamond mine guarded by the legendary Kobold. The 2017 season brought even more changes. Firstly, new theme zones were created: the Magical Village, the Valley of Dreams, and the Magical Forest. Secondly, the most popular attractions were given a face-lift. However, nothing could beat the hit of the season: the Lech Coaster, put into use in July and known as the biggest of its kind in Central-Eastern Europe. Next year will see more investment in new attractions, including construction of the Adventure Valley, a new theme zone.
This the old funfair was redeveloped into a theme park that meets European standards. Its mission is not only to provide good fun: an important asset is its educational value, based on the beautiful cultural heritage of legend, fairy tales and other stories.