After 38 years of making kids smile the owners of the amusement park Kiddie Acres have decided to shut down. However, they are giving you the opportunity to keep the nostalgia alive.
Joe Herring fires up the merry go round at kiddie acres for one last spin.
It will soon be put up for auction along with the other rides.
After 38 years of operation the herrings have decide to retire. "We wanted to have some time for ourselves. We work on the weekends. And we work while everyone else plays. Now it's time for me to play a little bit,” said Joe.
The desire to find a place play is how they got into the business back in 1979.
"We had a three year old and didn't have a whole lot of places to take a three year old in Austin,” he said.
They first opened where the North Austin location of Opal Divine's is now-- off Parmer Lane.
In 1987 TXdot bought out the property for the expansion of Mopac and helped the Herrings re-locate to the current address off Howard Lane. The rides remained frozen in time. Every attraction has a memory.
"I had one little girl used to come out here every Sunday and she'd use all her tickets on the pony ride. I went down there and told the man you know you just need to buy the girl a pony. He pulled me to the side and he said I told her those were her ponies and you were just keeping them for her,” said Joe.
It offered a fun way for the Herring's son and a daughter, who came six years later, to grow up. "We used to tie a balloon on her out here on crowded days because she liked to run around. She'd walk out and we could see where she was,” said Joe.
The property served as a backdrop for two movies--The Return and A Slipping Down Life, a music video and an Osh Kosh commercial.
Through it all the Herrings--now married 45 years-- remained best friends.
"We share duties and we're still crazy about each other,” said Marina Herring.
The Herrings are hopeful someone will pick up where they left off.
They are selling all of the rides through an online auction.
The most sought after item is likely the 1953 model train. The Herrings brought it here from Illinois in 1980. It was an anniversary gift for Marina.
Jones Swenson will orchestrate the auction. Bidding starts next Tuesday and will continue until August 8th.
“There’s a great deal of interest,” said company president Scott Swenson. "We've been completely covered up in emails and calls. There’s a lot of people that have great memories. Some people want to buy things for memories sake, but there's a lot of collectors across the country."