Aberdeen’s heritage as a city for children began in the 1890s when writer L. Frank Baum lived there. Baum later wrote The Wizard of Oz, a prairie fantasy partly inspired by his days in Aberdeen. Decades later, the Aberdeen community embraced Baum’s playful vision by creating Storybook Land in Wylie Park, a mile west of the city. Dorothy, the Tin Man and dozens of other lovable characters from nursery rhymes and children’s books are featured there. Families walk the Yellow Brick Road, climb aboard an Express Train, fly along the Humpty Dumpty Roller Coaster and even sail on the Wizard’s Balloon Ride. A Storybook Land Festival is celebrated in July. Storybook Land Theater presents children’s plays on summer weekends in the castle. The city-owned park has found a family-friendly balance between the thrills of big-city amusement park (with a South Dakota price tag) and the small-city charm that Baum loved about Aberdeen.
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