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America's Fun Park Closes in Branson

BRANSON, Mo. -- It's the end of the ride for a new amusement park in Branson.

"America's Fun Park" that just opened last month, is now closed.

The park was built on the strip where the old Branson Heights Shopping Center used to be -- but was destroyed when a tornado ripped through the area six years ago.

There were high hopes around Branson for the park, but a low turn-out brought it all to an end.

 "But we did really enjoy the time that we were here," said Marlene Vandervorste, General Manager of "Ride Venture" -- a separate company that owns most of the rides and food stands at America's Fun Park.

The park had several expected start dates before it actually opened in June. Management responded by saying they wanted to make sure everything was just right so that people would have a great time. 

In a post on the park's Facebook page, the owners of America's Fun Park blamed this summer's extreme heat for the lack of business.

"Unfortunately there wasn't very many people coming through the doors to sustain, to pay the employees and everything that comes along with it," said Vandervorste.

Kim Jones is the Office Manager for "Ride Venture" 

"I loved getting up everyday and coming to here because the people..I'm gonna cry. The people I work with are absolutely wonderful," Jones said holding back tears. 

"I've done everything from office work to even operating the rides when they didn't have somebody to operate the rides..or working the food truck when they didn't have somebody to work the food truck," said Jones. 

The closing brought shock and heartbreak.

 "It was shocking. It was heartbreaking..it was upsetting. I just kind of..my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach when they told me," said Jones.

So, what will she do now? 

"I have no idea," Jones said, "I guess back out on that job prowl. I know what I'm worth. I know what I can do and I know Marlene and them would give me a good reference." 

"We hope that the success of America's Fun Park is good for everyone here in Branson," said Vandervorste.

Although Ride Venture will no longer be at the park -- America's Fun Park left a Facebook post saying they will be back in October with fall activities the whole family will enjoy. 

 


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