Visitors celebrated Labor Day on Monday at Stricker’s Grove, which is only open to the general public a few times a year. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF

This 95-year-old amusement park is hidden in plain sight just outside Butler County

Editor’s Note: This story first published on Sept. 4, 2019, and is being republished to again share information about this unique Butler County facility.


A special event earlier this year was an opportunity for many to see the 95-year-old private amusement park hidden in plain sight just outside Butler County.

Thousands showed up on Labor Day to share fun experiences of their past with children and grandchildren at Stricker’s Grove, an amusement park with fun rides, especially for children.

The park is open to the public only a four times a year, in addition to several days in July for the 4H Community Fair. Other days it is open are July 4, the second Sunday in August, and Customer Appreciation Day in October.

The park is just outside Ross Township on Hamilton Cleves Road.

“It’s very family-friendly,” said Hershel Shumard, 29, of Ross. “I’ve been coming here since I was young and I took my son here today.”

Hershel Jr., 2, most enjoyed a ride featuring “motor boats” that spin around in water.

His dad, on the other hand, most enjoyed the tea-cup ride.

Why?

“The spin,” he said. “Makes your stomach tickle.”

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Hannah Hale, 20, from the West Side of Cincinnati, took her daughter, Brooklyn, 3.

She has been to the park several times through the years, and likes the park because “there’s a lot of rides for the kids.”

Those rides include two roller coasters, a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, a train and a tilt-a-whirl, among others. It also has a miniature golf course and carnival-style games such as skeeball, horseshoes, a shooting gallery and video games. There also are a variety of foods and large areas with shaded picnic tables.

The park’s two coasters are the Teddy Bear and the Tornado. The tornado, a wooden roller coaster, was designed by Al Collins and built by Ralph Stricker, whom the park says is “the only person in the United States to build his own coaster.”

It was built between 1990 and 1993. The original Teddy Bear was in the kiddie land in Cincinnati’s Coney Island. Ralph Stricker obtained the blueprints to rebuild the Teddy Bear in Stricker’s Grove.

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The park is available for rent to groups of 500 or more from mid-May to early October. The park notes that unlike most parks, it only rents to one group most of the time, “guaranteeing complete privacy without the hassle of sharing the park and park facilities.”

But the park sometimes rents to combinations of smaller groups that do not have enough to rent the entire park.

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