Adventure Island is Southend's very own theme park containing over 60 different rides and attractions for all age groups. Everything from slow rollercoasters for young children to extreme white knuckle ones for the thrill seekers. Scattered around the park you can find arcades, sideshows, stalls, gift shops and cafes. Admission into Adventure Island is free, you only have to pay for wristbands, so if you don't fancy going on the rides yourself and you're just taking the kids out for the day, you won't need to worry about spending extra. You can watch them as they excitedly run from ride to ride, sipping on your coffee all from the comfort of a picnic bench. Adventure Island is conveniently located at the end of Southend highstreet on the City Beach seafront, within walking distance of all Southend seafront has to offer, including the entire length of all the arcades leading up to the sealife aquarium and Kursaal's bowling alley. Witness the spectacular views out into the sea from the tops of the tallest rides.
The story of Adventure Island begins in 1918 in a small garden park on the seafront called the Sunken Gardens. Within the next few years, Sunken Gardens acquired a few children's playground rides. As a theme park though, Peterpan's Playground (as it was formerly called) didn't open until 1976 when it was purchased by the Miller family and heavily redeveloped as a theme park. It was later expanded in 1995 to include the east side of the pier, both sides separated by the pier but joined by a short underpass below the pier's trainline.
Peterpan's Playground was pirate themed with nautical references to complement the image of Southend-on-Sea. The pirate theme has dropped gradually over the years with the renaming to Adventure Island in the late 90's all the way up to the recent loss of the Queen Anne's Revenge ship in the park, but the seaside spirit is still there.
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