Ferris Wheel Returns To Nags Head At New Amusement Park This Summer

Posted By on April 10, 2013

For many generations of visitors and locals of the Outer Banks, the annual appearance of the Ferris wheel at the old Dowdy’s Amusement Park just prior to the start of tourist season was a beloved sign that summer had arrived on the Outer Banks, and this year the Ferris wheel will rise again in Nags Head.

The site plan was approved last week for a new amusement park to operate this summer from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day in Nags Head from the same the family that owned and operated Dowdy’s in the town for almost 40 years.

 The new park will include a Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl, four kiddie rides for children ages 5 to 10, child-sized go-karts, and three or four amusement games to be located at the Full Throttle Speedway site on US 158 near milepost 15.5, according to The Outer Banks Voice.

The Nags Head Board of Commissioners voted last week to approve the site plan from Full Throttle Speedway and Mutiny Bay Adventure Golf owner Darnell Tillett, whose grandfather Joe Dowdy opened the original Dowdy’s Amusement Park in 1962.

The original site of Dowdy's Amusement Park in Nags Head.

The original site of Dowdy’s Amusement Park in Nags Head.


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Posted by Matt Artz

Matt Artz was a lead reporter and photographer for 'The Coastland Times' newspaper from 2000 to 2009, and has been published in the Outer Banks Sentinel, North Beach Sun, Outer Banks Milepost, among others, before launching OBX Entertainment, NC Film News, and Halloween Daily News in 2012. Matt and Sue Artz are also the founders of the annual Outer Banks Halloween Parade and the Halloween International Film Festival.

This article has 7 comments

  1. This would be wonderful!! for all young and old glad to see it come! my kids loved it when they were young ☺ and new jobs for the locals in dare country that’s great! and Yes*** the nags head property is a eye sore!

  2. Outstanding and About Time. This brings back many childhood memories. Now instead of telling my children “what use to be” everytime we pass by the old ruins, I can take them there and re-live some old great childhood memories.

    • When is it going to open? We were there Memorial week-end, and didn’t see it. I guess we didn’t look in the right spot.

  3. I am desperately looking for the Cat’s Meow Village piece that is of the Dowdy’s ferris wheel. If you don’t know what the Cat’s Meow Village is, they are small wooden blocks of lvarious andmarks, which are collectibles. You can generally buy them in some of the gift shops, although the one for Dowdy’s hasn’t been for sale for many, many years. My daughter has very fond memories of Dowdy’s, so I am trying to find it to give her as a gift. If anyone has one they would be willing to part with I would be happy to buy it from you.


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