Coin-op kiddie rides getting harder to find

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - You just don't see them much anymore. They've nearly gone the way of the tube TV or 8-track tape: Kiddie rides.

You know, the horse or car rides you put a quarter in to shake your kid around for a minute or two.

Well, we managed to find a few that are still active right here in East Texas.

Dime stores are long gone. And although it's easy enough to find a convenience store, there are no kiddie rides in sight.

Unless you go to Gladewater where Penny Gunn, who owns The Roundup Antique Mall, found a train for sale in Hallsville where a woman:

"Had it on her back patio for her grandson. And her grandson outgrew it and she put it for sale online and luckily I was the first person that saw it on there," Penny said.

Penny likes to keep her engine clean. And right there near the railroad tracks, the Santa Fe Express has found its new rail yard.

"I love it because, of course, we're a railroad town," Penny pointed out.

She thought the train would be more like decor but:

"It has paid for itself many times over," Penny laughed.

In only three years. And a few years before that Penny's favorite kiddie ride was:

"The horses," she relayed.

As Penny made a clean machine from out of nowhere there were children like Kyli and Anthony Westby, along with mom Katie who thinks the rides are:

"Something that should be preserved and taken care of, and if you can find them and restore them you should definitely do that and hold on to them," Katie stated.

Her kids loved their first train kiddie ride, although they had ridden a few before.

"Probably like horses," Anthony revealed.

He and his sister took a turn, but if real trains rode like that, there would be derailments.

"Was that as fun as a video game?" I asked Anthony.

"Yes," he said.

"It was? Wow!" I exclaimed.

Turns out there were at least two more kiddie rides in Gladewater: a dump truck and the Pink Panther.

Katie says she and her sister had a preferred kiddie ride.

"We would jump from horse to horse in the carousel. That was our favorite," Katie revealed.

"Oh wow, like performers," I offered.

"Oh yeah. Like we were in there like circus performers," Katie laughed.

Judging from the way Kyli rides the train, the apple didn't fall far from the tree, but it sure makes the train happy. If you find a kiddie ride it's kind of like new nostalgia.

Although they are hard to find they're not in the scrap yards. We talked to the owner of Jennings Scrap in Longview who says he hasn't seen one brought there in decades. They have become collectible for those who have the space, and money.

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