225 staff provide for summer fun


By Teresa Brummett

Online Editor

SPRINGFIELD – It would be hard for anyone living around Springfield not to know where and what Knights Action Park is. Unless you have a pool, a friend’s pool or a muddy creek bed, then you probably visited Knights Action Park.

“I love all the rides, but the Toilet Bowl is my favorite it’s really fun,” said Kellie, a 10-year-old who has enjoyed visiting the park.

Kellie’s only complaint was the hot cement that burns her feet when waiting in line. But she said it’s worth it and the lines move fast.

There probably weren’t too many lines when the park opened in the 1940s as a golf driving range. Back then, the park sat on South Grand Avenue, where J.C. Penney and Shop N Save are located today.

It was started by the current owner’s grandfather George Knight Sr.

In 1976, it moved to its current location on Springfield’s south side, starting with mini-golf, a driving range, go-karts, trampolines, archery and batting cages. 

Passers-by on Interstate 72 can overlook the huge hill with three bright colorful slides and all the other fun-packed activities Knights has to offer. 

The visibility is a plus for the park, but it also can leave it vulnerable to storm damage.

Current owner George Knight said a tornado came through and ripped apart sections of a slide.

It had to have pieces sent to body shops all over Springfield, Knight said.

When it couldn’t be fixed, Knight said he had to send a crew to South Carolina to retrieve the parts needed to complete the repairs. A group of dedicated high school workers put in 18- to 20-hour days and fixed the slide in 5 days. 

“This place wouldn’t function without the dedication of our staff,” Knight said. “They truly are the future of our local community, and I’m proud to call them my friends”

The 72-acre park has to be maintained, and that’s where the staff members come in.

By the first of November the park is put to bed, but by early March, things start to wake up. With more than 300,000 visitors a year, Knight has to make sure everything runs smoothly so when Memorial Day weekend arrives, the water park is ready for business.

It takes 225 staff members to keep the entire park safe and clean for everyone throughout the season.

“It’s a fairly cheap way for my girls to spend their summer having fun and getting time with their friends,” said parent Karen Nation, who buys season passes for her daughters during the summer.

Knight said summer is fast approaching again and its time for Knights to begin its awakening process.

“What a great job I also get to work with my family, this is my back yard and we love to share it with the world,” Knight said.                                                           

Teresa Brummett can be reached at [email protected].