It all started in 1959 when the land was bought by Edwin Pentland Hick, the site was named The Yorkshire Zoological Gardens and covered 9 acres of land. Flamingos were among the first animals to move on the site and later became the reason for the name to change to Flamingo Park. During the 1960`s a fun fair visited the park, this was a another idea from Hick`s. Amusement rides became a fixed feature to the park and was the first place in Europe to combine a zoo with amusements in one place. The route Hick`s was going down brought more and more visitors and started to be come a popular place. In the late 1960`s the park had another name change, it became Flamingo Park Zoo. During the 1970`s the park had shareholders and changed a few times it also have a revamp and thing its name to Flamingo land and caravans were started to be held on the site.
In 1970 Flamingo Land was loosing money and people thought it would have to close, but Robert Gibb who was a director of Scotia Leisure could see big potential and decided to buy Flamingo land. Gibb set up a team and and the park was back on the map more animals and attractions turned up and more visitors were coming each year, and in 1991 Gibb and the team made some of the biggest changes to the park and installed Thunder Mountain and the famous Bullet.
Robert Gibb died in a accident in 1995 and his son Gordon Gibb who was only 18 had taken control of the park, he became chief executive of Flamingo Land and with the rest of the family. Gordon Gibb carried on with his fathers vision and has improved the park each year bringing in new rides, animals and expanding the holiday resort.
Throughout the early days of the 1990’s, Flamingo Land found that what they were doing was working well for the family and profits were of a high number. Robert Gibb who was the owner at the time decided he wanted a new project to focus on. In 1992, Pleasure Wood Hills were planning and building a new theme park in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. Though unfortunately for them, they ran out of money to finish the park and the site and assets were put up for sale.
Robert Gibb decided this would be the ideal project to develop and in return, he bought the site and assets and continued to develop the park. The park which is now known as Pleasure Island Theme Park. Robert Gibb opened Pleasure Island on May 27th 1993 which was a huge success. However, his time in Pleasure Island was short lived. Unfortunately in 1995, Robert Gibb died due to a car crash which left his wife Maureen & 3 children (Gordon Gibb, Vicky Gibb and Melanie Wood (was Gibb) to continue to operate both Flamingo Land & Pleasure Island. This was a tough time for the family.
However, after a number of investments in both parks, in 2010, Melanie Wood decided to take 100% ownership of the park. This resulted to a temporary closure of Pleasure Island on 14th April – 1st May 2010.
Since then, the park has seen a number of investments which include a ghost train, aqua balls on water and a new petting farm. Unfortunately the park is struggling to stay afloat. The future of Pleasure Island is at present uncertain but enthusiasts and staff remain hopeful.
However, Flamingo Land are still going strong. Being an independent business, the park has remained under the ownership of Gordon Gibb & Vicky Gibb. The future of Flamingo Land seems to be a bright one.
We will keep you updated on the situation on Pleasure Island.
UPDATE: Following the BBC ONE SHOW’S final visit to Pleasure Island, the park have announced that although they were struggling at the beginning of the year, fortunes have recently changed after a successful August and Pleasure Island has exceeded profits. Owners and Managers of the park are pleased with the results and are looking forward to welcoming visitors back for another year (2014) at least.