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Disappointing news about Balboa Fun Zone

July 17, 2006

Re "Newport Harbor Museum Will Move to Balboa Fun Zone Location," July 10

Joe Tunstall, who recently sold the Balboa Fun Zone, is wrong when he says that there are "only three nostalgic things at the Fun Zone -- the harbor boats, Ferris wheel and merry-go-round." For me, the entire Fun Zone area is nostalgic, from the Pavilion to the ferryboats. The food stands selling Balboa Bars and frozen bananas have been there since at least the '60s.

Many of the games in the first arcade building are the same ones I played as a child more than 40 years ago, and some date to the post-World War II era -- and still work. The area being rebuilt for the museum is a fairly recent addition, and the Ferris wheel that Tunstall is saving is not the original, which once soared as high as the one on the Santa Monica Pier. It would be sad if the entire area of arcades, food stands and shops was demolished, along with its decades of history.




What sad news that the wonderful, nostalgic Fun Zone no longer will be as it was. The area is going to lose lots of tourists. My six children, who spent summers at Balboa, now bring their children to the Fun Zone and to ride on the ferry. Renting [a beach house] is prohibitive to many in this day and age.

Now there will be no reason to visit for the day. I don't think the owners realize how many families will be affected -- and disappointed. It's been a miracle to take my grandchildren and find the area almost exactly like it was when I was young. Please, say it isn't so.


Niceville, Fla.

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