Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Weird Tales of Pixieland, Central Oregon Coast History, Part I

Published 10/03/2018 at 2:44 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Weird Tales of Pixieland, Central Oregon Coast History, Part I

(Lincoln City, Oregon) - The whole tale actually begins with Pixie Kitchen, which was an enormously popular restaurant on the central Oregon coast from the ‘50s until the ‘70s, finally folding in the ‘80s. From that sprung Pixieland, a sprawling playground of Disney-esque ideals that was just outside of Lincoln City for a few short but rather legendary years.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials when beaches reopen
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Lincoln City:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Newport:
Look for major specials when beaches reopen
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials coming when beaches open
In Yachats, Florence
Big specials coming; lodgings not listed anywhere else

This is part one of this two-part series on Pixieland and its kooky tales. Part two: Kooky Oregon Coast History: Lincoln City's Pixieland Part Two.

It’s funny how time has treated this Oregon coast amusement park: it’s now more legendary and popular than it was throughout most of its short, often wobbly days.

On Highway 101, not far from the Highway 18 junction, you’ll find a plaque showing where Pixieland was. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Nature has reclaimed the 53-acre attraction completely, and that’s the way Oregon state officials wanted it.

At its heyday – which was awfully brief - it boasted a dozen or so rides, a sizable park for trailer campers next door, and a smattering of eatery booths. Rides like the Grunykinland put you in the arms of a giant bear and sent you into a dark area lit by black lights that was supposedly the home of the pixies. There was a log flume that got you slightly wet, some bumper cars, and a train that meandered around the property.

Pixieland opened its doors to much fanfare in 1969, with an appearance by Governor Tom McCall. It was on land that Pixie Kitchen owner Jerry Parks had purchased in 1966, part of a backup plan in case a proposed bypass of Highway 101 actually happened. Parks figured it would cut off the tourist throngs from the restaurant, but luckily it was never built.

So up this vision of pixies on the Oregon coast went: but cracks in it showed pretty quickly.

There are plenty of interesting anecdotes about it. Among them, that Paul Newman visited there in 1971 during the filming of Sometimes a Great Notion.

Ed Dreistadt, director of Lincoln City’s visitors center, has become a bit of an expert on the place.

He recalls Parks’ daughter, Sharon Walters, telling the story of when they were in the middle of some construction in its early days, with the help of her husband, Howard. One day, a dump truck was dropping dirt near the train trestle that the park’s little choo choo ran on.

“The driver forgot to put the bed down, and started driving out of the park and took out the trestle,” Dreistadt said. “Sharon was working at the park’s restaurant at the time and heard a horrible noise. So she had to call down to where Howard was at another end of the park and told them to not let the train leave.”

There was a lot of enthusiasm and optimism for Pixieland for even the first two, three years: even by the second year, when problems began to be evident, everyone plowed right ahead. They simply began work on fixing the various issues. One thing, however, seriously eluded them: turning a profit. The right “formula” for grabbing enough visitors to really turn things around was somehow never within reach.

More on Pixieland and coastal history is found in these books:

By 1971, serious cracks began to show, including Parks lowering his own salary. They slowly began trying a flurry of new things, including selling longterm lots at the trailer park and a variety of changing rides. In 1972, the Salmon River flooded parts of the complex. A Ferris wheel came and went, they began charging admission, and suddenly in 1973 Parks openly complained the operating season was too short and that the amusement park was too far from a major population center like Portland.

Dreistadt remembers a man who gave him a DVD of some home movies made there, somewhere around 1974.

“There was no one there,” Dreistadt said. “It’s like he had this whole amusement park to himself.”

Then there was the freaky monkey they kept. That and other oddities are coming in part two.

Part two of this historical series: Kooky Oregon Coast History: Lincoln City's Pixieland Part Two . Lodgings in Lincoln City - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Also See:
Inn at Lincoln City. Right on the famed D River with ocean views, and just a block from the beach. Elegant guest rooms come in a wide range, from smaller to those with views and whirlpool tubs. ADA-defined service animal-friendly. Centrally located, it’s a quick drive to the casino, seven miles of beaches, the bay, and not far from the outlet mall. Copious complimentary breakfast in the morning, free wi-fi, a business center, accessible elevator, a sizable DVD library, pets allowed and a 24-hour lobby catering to your needs. The entrance is a grand beauty all its own. You get access to a lakeside fire pit, perfect for those light breezes of evening and s’mores. Plenty of parking, and there’s an indoor spa. All rooms come with coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, flat screen TV, hair dryer, air conditioning. 100 percent smoke free. 1091 SE 1st Street. Lincoln City, Oregon. (541) 996-4400. Website here.

Oregon Coast Lodging


Below: Highway 18, Van Duzer Corridor, not far from the old Pixieland site

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....


Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss


Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Depoe Bay History: the Story Behind Some Oregon Coast Landmarks
The aquarium, spouting horn, famed restaurants: a trip through time. Newport, Yachats, Lincoln City
Extremely Rare Find: Pacific Snake Eel on Oregon Coast
Only a few times documented in Oregon, south coast; Washington coast last year. Seaside Aquarium
Looking Back: March '64 Tsunami That Wrecked Oregon Coast, Photos
On March 27, 1964, it was anything but a good Friday when the infamous Good Friday quake hit Alaska. Sciences
Chillin' in Retrospect: Oregon Coast in the Snow
When snow does hit the Oregon coast it's always a grand entrance
From March 25: No Tsunami Threat for Oregon, Washington Coast, Hawaii
An updated special statement about an earthquake offshore from Russia, saying there is no threat. South coast
View Oregon Coast Whale Watch Week Online: Updated Daily (Orca Footage)
Luckily, you can still watch them as you 'shelter at home' and perhaps keep your sanity a little longer
When a Mysterious Shipwreck Popped Up Out of Nowhere: Oregon Coast History
Ten years ago, a 100-year-old surprise popped up on the north Oregon coast, essentially forgotten by time
Oregon Coast, Washington Slowly Close Down Beaches, Towns: Latest Shutdowns
State parks around Oregon are shut down, some towns have closed themselves to tourists, with many beach accesses now closed off. South coast, warnings

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging


Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details