When you drive down Dort Highway headed toward Grand Blanc do you ever catch yourself wondering exactly where Playland was located because it seems like it's been 20 years since it was there? That's what happens to me moving back to the area after 15 years away.

Back in the day, who didn't think working at Playland would be the best first job, ever?

When did Playland close in Flint?

Former owner Kris Werner took over the family business from his dad. It was his father who opened the original Playland location of Pasadena in Flint back in 1969. Then, in the early 1980s he moved the operation to Grand Blanc Township. Its name varied a bit over the years: Playland Park, Playland and Bonkers. Plus, they started St Lucifer's Asylum haunted attraction in the 2000s.

Fast forward to 2018 when Werner told MLive it was time for the next chapter in his life. His wife even told him "You're spinning your wheels."

Werner put the business up for sale thinking it would take a year or so to get a buyer (which would allow Playland to be in business 50 years). Grand Blanc Township ended up buying the property for a half million dollars just a few days later. The township wanted the property for future planning & growth.

Credit Google Street View
2018 just after the sale of Playland (above). Lower picture 2023. Credit Google Street View

Take a look at the site from above. You can still see some outlines of the go-kart track.(Am I dreaming or was there a bumper boats portion in the pond at one time?)

Credit: Google Maps
Former Playland site from above. The property is now owned by Grand Blanc Twp. Credit: Google Maps

Related: Remember Kessel or the James Boys Lumberyard? See those and four more Genesee County Businesses We Miss, here.

Werner's final comment to MLive was that of a man in love with his work:

I had the greatest job. I got to play every day. I'm going to miss it.

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We do, too. Somehow, five years closed feels like a lifetime. Thank you for 49 years of wonderful memories.

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