Anyone who has seen the 2007 documentary King of Kong has heard of Funspot in Laconia, New Hampshire. This famous arcade museum now holds the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest arcade in the world with over 600 games! It’s where Billy Mitchell breaks high score records, and if you’re lucky you might even see Steve Weibe reach a Donkey Kong “kill screen“.
I bet what you didn’t know is that at one point Funspot was home to a Storybook park of it’s very own! When Bob Lawton opened the “Weirs Sports Center” in 1952 with $750 borrowed from his grandmother, no one had even heard of video games! In fact, for 25 years, Funspot operated as a family fun center offering little more than a mini golf, a penny arcade, and a snack bar. However, by 1964 Bob had expanded to a larger 21 acre location and renamed his business Funspot. After the expansion, in 1971 they added a new theme park called “Indian Village”. Five years later, Bob opened his first kiddie park, a walk through attraction based on fairy tales, and called it “Storybook Forest”.
The park featured walkaround characters like the Gingerbread Man and the Big Bad Wolf, fibergass figures made by Peter Hall, and housed a famously gingerbread shaped lake!
By the following year, Indian Village would have closed, followed by the closure of Storybook Forest. Now the only remaining structure from the park is a lone red schoolhouse which still stands on the property.
But lucky for us, Bob still works at Funspot every day and he respects his history because 60 years of memories can be found on display in the snack bar, the “Braggin’ Dragon“. While you enjoy a slice of pizza or some nachos between games, we encourage you to stroll around the restaurant and take in the history that Bob has lovingly preserved here. You’ll find old park maps, menu boards, costumes, props, and signs from the park’s history. Nearby, you can still find some of Storybook Forest’s figures rescued from the trash heap and on exhibit for the enjoyment of future generations. We never like to see attractions close, but what a wonderful way to pay tribute to a fallen park! Here are some of the items I found on display. (Do you recognize anything?)
Thanks for saving these things for us, Bob! Keep on playing!