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A grand review for a grand opening

Annabella Mireles
Western Playland is under new management with Traders Village and had their reopening Feb. 26 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

When it comes to the activities and attractions El Paso has to offer, some of the city’s most iconic are age-friendly staples in the borderland. Whether it is cruising down Scenic Drive or taking a splash at Wet N’ Wild during the summer heat, there is always something for groups of families or friends to do. 

However, one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Sun City is Western Playland, a local amusement park. They offer a variety of rides, carnival games, souvenirs and food options. 

Although Western Playland is a staple within the city, there was a recent change in ownership and management for the establishment. 

Previously owned as a family business by Pat Thomson, the park was turned over to Traders Village after 62 years. According to a KSII article, there are reportedly new plans to expand Western Playland so it includes space for concerts, vendors, new rides, new food, drink options and room for markets in the future. 

The grand opening of the amusement park under new ownership took place Feb. 25 and highlighted the inclusion of a new mural at the front gate and more food options at the booths. 

The mural was made by Tino Ortega, a local artist who has completed all kinds of work across the region. The gate features pops of blues, yellows and reds that not only accentuate the park’s signature colors, but also adds a unique Mexican cultural flair due to the classic mosaic style of the painting. 

Ortega’s art can be found across the borderland but is most accessible on his Instagram @ortegtino where he shares his work. 

In terms of additional rides, the park recently gained one called the “Fireball.” Western Playland has always offered the standard and beloved rollercoasters like “Bandido,” the “Hurricane,” the “Tsunami” and many more. Though there is one that stands out above the rest and is one of the only ones to leave you hanging upside down. 

The “Loco 360” rotates in a complete circle once or twice around an axis, but the “Fireball” track is a full circle and the boat like cart structure is attached to the actual rails. The ride is exhilarating because it makes multiple rounds and moves in both directions. 

Riders should be warned they need an empty stomach to get on and nerves of steel given how daunting it can be. They should also be equipped with a good sense of humor in case the operator might try and tease nervous park goers. 

All in all, one of the newer additions was ranked at an eight out of 10 by me and The Prospector photo editor, Annabella Mireles. For parkgoers who want the full experience, it is recommended to sit at either end of the cart. Those who prefer a tamer rollercoaster ride should sit in the middle. 

After a long day of making trips from ride to ride, Western Playland has food booths posted across the park to get refreshments and fill up. The menu includes things like sausage on a stick or bun, churros, loaded nachos, turkey legs, cotton candy, popcorn and chicharrónes. 

While not many big changes have been made yet, this new managing company will hopefully take every opportunity to expand the business in the ways it has been advertised. El Paso has many local businesses and vendors for those market events and much room for adding more rides. 

As of right now there are more talks of Western Playland hosting events throughout the season to keep the community entertained. 

“This summer we’re going to have live music and fireworks and then we’re also talking to vendors about coming and doing little pop-up tents,” said Lee Ann Murray, Marketing Director for Traders Village, in a KSTM article. 

For more information on the park and its operating hours, visit You can follow its socials on Instagram or Facebook for updates on the park’s status as weather conditions change. 

Meagan Garcia is the arts & culture editor and may be reached at [email protected].   

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About the Contributors
Meagan Elizabeth García
Meagan Elizabeth García, Arts & Culture Editor
Meagan Elizabeth García is the arts and culture for The Prospector. She is a senior, majoring in mechanical engineering at UTEP. She is also the vice-president for the Creative Writing Society with hopes of continuing a writing career while also working for NASA as an engineer.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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A grand review for a grand opening