Adventure Fun Park Gippsland: Bairnsdale family who made their own theme park selling up
People told Glenn Calvert he was “crazy” when he decided to build a theme park on the edge of Bairnsdale 30 years ago.
But the former electrician and his wife Laurel have proven their critics wrong, with the family’s one-of-a-kind Adventure Fun Park Gippsland now boasting more than 25 attractions and valued at more than $2.3m.
Go karts, mini golf, laser tag and even a walk-on pool table played with soccer balls are joined by karaoke, multiple jumping castles, an old-fashioned merry-go-round, batting cages set up for cricket or baseball, and a swimming pool.
“And we have a ‘space ball’, where you sit in it and you spin around in it — people call it the ‘vomitron’,” Mr Calvert said.
“You won’t find all this anywhere else in the world.”
It all started with a combat archery course, after Mr Calvert saw one in action while on holiday in Western Australia.
“On a whim, I bought 5ha of land,” he said.
“People said ‘you are crazy and it won’t work’.
“But I planted 700 trees for a combat archery course and got to spend more time with my kids. And they always had a great birthday party.”
And while the pandemic might seem an unlikely time for a theme park to attract a crowd, it’s been busier than ever over summer.
“We have had our best year ever during COVID-19, everyone wants to get out of Melbourne,” Mr Calvert said.
With the pair into their 60s, they are selling up to move closer to family and also so Mr Calvert can put an end to his 1000km-a-week round trip to play for the Bendigo United Cricket Club.
“Plus the kids are all grown up, and we have had enough fun,” he said.
The next owner will have their choice of moving into the onsite manager’s residence and living in a theme park, or retaining the current manager who resides in the three-bedroom house.
They could also take advantage of permits in place to turn part of the neighbouring land at the entrance to Bairnsdale into a caravan park and petrol station.
Adventure Fun Park Gippsland is currently listed for sale with a $2.3m price tag and inquiries can be made at the venue.