Astroworld fan shares his photos, memories

HOUSTON – The empty lot just off the 610 South Loop was a place that touched the hearts of so many Houstonians. Friday the park would've turned 50. Many Houstonians said it's a day to remember just how memorable the park was.

Astroworld was a place where even adults could feel that childhood wonder.

Astroworld, which opened on June 1, 1968, had endless thrills -- an air of classic Americana mixed with the quirks of good ol' Texas.

READ: Celebrate Astroworld's 50th birthday with walk down memory lane

"To me it was kind of a magical place," Brad Berryman said. "It's just another part of what was Houston at the time. It's kind of like Houston had its own identity and Astroworld was definitely part of that."

For Berryman, who owns a piece of the Texas Cyclone track and support wood he purchased at an auction right after the park closed, it was more than a theme park. It was a place where he said he grew up. He rode the Texas Cyclone with his father the day the ride opened in 1976. 

PHOTOS: Astroworld fan shares his memories

"Going there with my folks was always really special. My dad like roller coasters," Berryman said.

And it had a few. The twirls of the Twister, the Viper, the Texas Tornado and the Greezed Lightnin' to the Thunder River, the ride sure to soak you from head to toe, the park had joyous staples for adventurous thrill-seekers to enjoy. 

From Lyndon B. Johnson's first daughters' visit on the Alpine sleighs to the miniature Astroworld at the Houston Public Library and the high-priced memorabilia, Astroworld gave Houstonians memories they'd share. 

Berryman went to the park with his family one last time before it closed on Oct. 30, 2005.

"It's kind of painful to drive by looking at it sitting there empty and kind of wonder what could have been," Berryman said.

But he said the still park will live forever in the memories of nostalgic Houstonians.

"To me it was a magical place," Berryman said.

He said he will cherish those memories and share the park's rich history for decades to come.

PHOTOS: Astroworld through the years