"...A valiant attempt was made to extend the choice of
rides (at Happiland) by constructing a Dinosaur Ride on
the sand hills opposite, adjoining the pier."
Ah, yes, the Dinosaur Ride...
The photo to the right was taken on one of those days
when the sea decided to take a 'stroll along the prom'.
Funny really because themagiceye can only ever remember
it being sunny on its days in Southport. Time playing
The Dinosaur Ride was situated opposite Happiland and
just a short walk from the Lakeside Miniature Railway
station. It was circa 1974 and it was definitely a sunny
day when I had my one and only experience of the ride.
It was the loud 'dinosaur-like' roar that attracted me
to the ride in the first place. It was coming from a
loudspeaker somewhere...probably behind the dinosaur in
My dad and I walked through the entrance and found
ourselves in a very dark covered area. It was the
station for the train that was to take us on this
exciting journey back in time. The dinosaur roar was
even louder in this area - it was quite unsettling.
Then the (two carriage?) train came in, some people got
off and we clambered aboard. If I remember correctly
(and when did I last do that?) it cost each of us 15p to
ride - expensive in those days...
The train started up and went outside into the
sunlight and began to circumnavigate...er...what looked
to me like someone's back garden. An untidy one at that
- littered with some plastic cups thrown down no doubt
by people walking on the pier.
The pier ran parallel to the ride - albeit at a higher
This garden had a large, motionless paper mache-like
dinosaur at its centre and a small twisting track.
People were literally looking down on us from the pier
and smiling (or were they smirking?). I couldn't believe
this was all there was to this ride!
There were a couple of other smaller dinosaurs that the
train twisted around but that was it. It was back inside
to the darkness of the loading area. In fact, no, I tell
a lie: You went around twice for your money giving
people on the pier a second chance to laugh with you/at
This was one of those rides whereby going around
once was more than enough. The Dinosaur Ride was truly a
'dinosaur' of a ride!
Nick Ousey: I spent a few days on the Dino
Ride when the bloke who ran it was ill. It was run
slightly different from the rest of the rides because
you took CASH instead of ride tickets!