Bell's Amusement Park rebuilding slowly but surely

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 4/02/2013 9:09 am Published: 4/01/2013 6:41 pm

The "Tilt-A-Whirl" and "Zingo" are familiar names for those who grew up in Tulsa.

It's been seven years since Bell's Amusement Park lost its lease at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds and had to shut down.

But Robby Bell, the grandson of Robert Bell, who started the original park, is bringing Bell's back to life at the Saturday Flea Market in west Tulsa. He has four rides back up and running, and will have two more, the helicopter ride and the "Tilt-A-Whirl" back in service within a few months.

But it's a slow process, because Bell is rebuilding the whole park by himself.

Long before Disney World and Six Flags, back in 1951 Robert Bell and his son started Bell's Amusement Park at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds with six rides. Over time it grew and became a staple and icon in Tulsa.

"Your first birthday party that you can remember, you kissed your first girl there, maybe it's your first job," Bell said of the memories others have told him about.

But in 2006, it all came to an end and Robby had to tear the park down.

"We have rides stashed all over the country in storage," he said.

But in 2012 he worked out a deal to rebuild the park at the flea market.

"We felt that we had to give it our absolute all to try and get it started again because of the way our customers feel about the park."

Slowly but surely, he's been building, and parents are once again able to bring their children to ride the rides.

"They're happy," Bell said of his customers. "I've had a couple moms cry, you know, because they rode this stuff when they were little. You know, people are excited."

But Robby has to balance sanding, painting and re-assembling rides with his other full time job working at a school.

"When I'm doing it by myself it usually takes anywhere from a month to two months," he said. "Right now I'm working on the 'Tilt-A-Whirl.'"

He expects it will take another two months to finish that ride.

And while it might not look like the old Bell's yet, Bell says he won't stop until it does.

"We will try our best to bring back everything," he said. "And hopefully someday that will culminate with 'Zingo' up and running again."

While he doesn't know how long that will take, Bell did mention his father is 73 years old, and he plans to be able to ride the 'Zingo' one last time together with his dad before he's too old to handle the wooden roller coaster.

Bell's is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sundays. Every ride costs $1.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 8/3/2013 7:24 PM
0 Votes
Hard to promote something when you dont provide a location.

rotc420 - 4/2/2013 3:10 PM
0 Votes
i know that they are having a carivel the 3-6th at the crystal city shopping center this week. they had lost of rides set out getting ready. looks like its going to be lots of fun

Jolie - 4/2/2013 1:13 PM
2 Votes
I wish that reporters would take the time to put specific address/location in their news stories. Many people are aware of the Tulsa Flea Market that operates on Saturdays at Expo Square--but that is not where this one is--to just say West Tulsa, might be confusing to some. The official name of the flea market where the new Bell's is operating is "Swick's Flea Market" and it's located at 5808 W. 51st St., Tulsa, OK. It's west of the Gilcrease Expressway, just west of S. 57th West Ave., in Tulsa. The website is here:

james340 - 4/2/2013 11:19 AM
2 Votes
i want to send a reopening invitation to randi miller former city official. glad she could bring her personal vandetta to the councel and shut down bells. best of luck to bells!!!

Mayor Maynot - 4/1/2013 8:24 PM
1 Vote
Hey I loved Bells Amusement Park :-). Great place. But you'll never be able to replace or rebuild it. Today's entertainment calls for state of the art equipment. Bell just does not have deep enough pockets. Remembering icons of days gone by #8 ^]] looboyls soundtrack der weinerschnitzel shotgun sams shakeys pizza bells the list goes on.
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