COLOMA, MI – Oh, the memories. What was once a bustling theme park is now a ghost of itself and is up for auction. No more rides. No more animals. What remains are subtle reminders of many good memories.
Deer Forest Fun Park opened to visitors in 1949 and was a place many Michigan families have come for a day of fun activities for many decades. Many school children were also looking forward to excursions there. Now it is being discontinued and will go to the highest bidder via auction.
The land where the theme park was located is located at 6800 Indian Lane in Coloma, about 45 minutes west of Kalamazoo. The 25 acres are all up for auction and include many buildings still standing, which you can see in the photo gallery above, including the train station, a log cabin, and Mother Hubbard’s gift shop.
“Zoning will allow someone to do whatever they want with it,” Rick Levin of Rick Levin & Associates told MLive. “It is well located and the property is surrounded by houses. Maybe the residential could make sense to whoever buys it. Not sure if the best use now is a zoo and an amusement park, but we’ve had a lot of people calling with their fond memories of being here.
Rachel Edwards has lived in Coloma her entire life and is saddened to see what Deer Forest looks like now. She has been there several times over the years.
“I used to go there when I was a kid with my two sisters and we also went there on school trips,” Edwards told MLive. “I remember walking down Storybook Lane and taking the train. There was also a little red house which was the summer village of Santa Claus. You would go inside and imagine this is where Santa Claus goes on vacation in the summer. There was even a sled you could sit in.
There were also rides and a petting zoo, Edwards recalls.
“There was a part of the park that had a nice playground. I also remember going on the old fashioned Ferris wheel and other rides like a scrambler. You can get deer food and go to the pen to feed them. There were also rabbit cages and I remember there was a stage near where there were different performers like someone playing the banjo. We would sit and watch.
Edwards says that while it would be a daunting task, she would love to see the amusement park restored to its former glory.
“I know it would take a lot of work, but I would like whoever buys it to reopen it. I actually live down the road now. I always dreamed that one day I would live a few steps away and now it’s closed.
You can view all the information about the auction here. You can also contact Rick Levin & Associates at 312-440-2000 or by email. The suggested opening bid for the property is $ 450,000. The auction deadline is October 14.
“He’s sitting there sleeping and that’s a shame,” Levin added. “For the community, you don’t want cool, historic properties like this lying dormant for the long haul. We hope to find an entrepreneur who will come and do something positive here.
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