ADVENTURE Island on Southend seafront is one of the UK’s best theme parks but for generations of families, its forerunner – Peter Pan’s Playground – will always evoke the warmest childhood memories.

Dozens of rides from the Barracuda to the iconic space man and the Crooked House – which is still a huge part of the theme park – provided families withjoy for decades.


Roll up, roll up! - queues for the Barracuda in March 1996

But the park has developed and enhanced over the decades, overseen by the Miller family, who have been the custodians of Southend’s famous fun park for more than 40 years.

The park now boasts more than 50 rides and attractions and the current site of the amusement park flanks the north end of Southend Pier and has been an amusement park since 1976 when the land now forming the west side of the park was purchased by the Miller family.


Adventure Island started out in 1918 as the Sunken Gardens, a seaside garden that in the 1920s installed a handful of children’s rides.

In 1976, the land to the west of the pier was purchased by the Miller family and in 1995 the park was vastly expanded when the land to the east of the pier was purchased to form part of the park.


Old times – Peter Pan’s Playground in August 1975. The Crooked House and the Whip are still entertaining visitors

In 1999, the park launched the highly popular roller coaster, the Green Scream.


Fun - Peter Pan's in June 1986

It was once described as the park’s signature ride but this title has now been taken by Rage, which opened in February 2007.


Waves - June Miller, wife of owner David, in 1984

It is one of the biggest investments the park has made, with the ride costing in the region of £3million and is located on the former Raging River Log Flume site.


Top of the world - an Echo photograph from the 1970s

It was named Rage after a competition in the Echo to decide a name for the ride.

The slogan is ‘For Superheroes only!’ which is said before the first drop of the rollercoaster.


Throwback - Peter Pan's in March 1996

In 2011 a crow built its nest at the top of the loop, which gathered national attention from tabloid newspapers.


Ride of your life - revellers enjoy the rollercoaster in June 1986

In 2014, Adventure Island demolished the Pirate Boat – which was one of the oldest attractions – to make way for a new soft play and indoor ride area, named Adventure Inside, which opened in spring 2015.


Pair - a man and woman walk their dog through Peter Pans’s Playground in September 1986. They would be asked to leave if they were visiting now, as both dogs and naked torsos are discouraged

Adventure Island is one of the East of England’s true success stories, continuing its journey giving families a fantastic day out in Southend, helping to generate millions of pounds for the town’s economy, as well as many jobs.