Houston’s AstroWorld closed its gates Oct. 30, 2005, and all these years later, a hole is still in our hearts.
Once the park closed, its property was sold off and the park was razed, becoming an empty plot that sits across from NRG stadium.
While newcomers may not give it a second look, people who grew up in southeast Texas can still remember the excitement of crossing the narrow overpass that still stretches over the South Loop. Stepping out over the busy city highway was only the first thrill entering Houston’s very own amusement park.
AstroWorld was one of 30 parks owned by Six Flags in 2005, and it wasn’t performing well for the company that was $2 billion in debt. While it made sense for the company to shed the park, its two major attractions — AstroWorld and the Astrodome — became icons for its patrons.
AstroWorld opened June 1, 1968, as an independent theme park owned by former Houston Mayor Roy Hofheinz, a philanthropist who wanted to make Houston a city to be rivaled. The Astrodome opened in 1965, at the same time the Colt 45s became the Houston Astros.
The famed Texas Cyclone roller coaster opened the park, along with the Serpent, Excalibur and Greezed Lightnin’.
Six Flags took over the park in 1975, and an expansion began. In addition to changing some rides, Six Flags opened Water World, the city’s first water park, in 1983.
Together, AstroWorld and the Astrodome became a symbol of Houston, but now they’re long gone.
The plot of land that once housed the theme park is now used seasonally for Rodeo parking and storage.
While a reincarnation of the beloved park seems like a lost hope, it will not be forgotten.