In 1960, on a then remote stretch of U.S. Route 1 in Saco, Maine, Ken and Violet Cormier opened Marvel Drive In, a drive in restaurant. Ken’s brother-in-law, Andre Dallaire opened a mini-golf course next to Marvel Drive-In in 1959. In 1963, Andre opened a Go-kart track behind his mini golf course, and in 1964 Ken added batting cages and an archery range behind Marvel Drive In. Over the course of the next few years, Cormier and Dallaire added several kiddie and carnival-style rides including SkySlides and Swinging Gyms. A gift shop was also opened.
In 1967, Cormier and Dallaire form a partnership and Funtown USA is born, adding a “Zipper”, outdoor bumper cars, Merry-Go-Round, and the “Luv Machine” (Bayun Kurve). The Zipper was located where the Cash Cube is now. The outdoor bumper cars where replaced by the bumper car building. If you look at the area around the bumper cars, you can still see the original concrete pad for the outdoor bumper cars. The “Luv Machine” was only at the park a short time, and was located where the Red Baron Planes are now.
In 1976, Funtown USA unveiled its first themed attraction with the Astrosphere, a Scrambler darkride. A favorite of many, the Astrosphere is a unique light-and-sound experience. The Tilt-A-Whirl was also added to the lineup of rides that same year.
In 1978, after legal battles protesting the addition, the Galaxi Coaster was brought to Funtown. At that time, it was the only roller coaster in the state.
In 1978, Ken Cormier bought out Andre Dallaire’s interest in the partnership. Andre Dallaire would go on to purchase the Marvel Drive-In, tear it down and open Maine Play Amusements in 1982, which became Cascade Water and Amusements. Cascade owned and operated the Kartland Go-Karts, Cascade Water Park, Hydrofighter, Bumper Boats, and games-of-skill and chance.
In 1979, a 500-seat theater was built at Funtown to house “Galactic Laser Experience”. The attraction was a laser-light show set to popular music of the time. Due to technical problems with the attraction and the bankruptcy of the company that the show was purchased from, the theater was closed. The lobby of the building is now an arcade, and the rest of the building is used as storage.
In 1982, Antique Cars was added to the park’s lineup, and for the first time bracelets were sold to guests for unlimited riding. Two years later in 1984, Funtown opened Tempest in the Tea Cups. Also added that same year was New England’s longest and tallest Log Flume ride, Thunder Falls, a title this attraction still holds to this day.
During the late 1980’s Funtown added many thrill rides, including Flying Trapeze (YoYo), Sea Dragon, Casino, and Thunderbolt. Cascade Water and Amusement Park opened the Haunted Mansion in 1986. An extremely popular attraction, the Haunted Mansion was closed in 1996 due to the high-risk of operation.
In 1993, Funtown opens a major expansion adding 6 new attractions. The lineup of rides at that time now included Grand Prix Racers, Adult Bumper Boats, Kiddie Bumper Boats, Barney Oldfield Roadsters, Balloon Race, and Classic Carousel.
In 1996, Cormier bought out Cascade Water and Amusement Park, and the park was then renamed Funtown Splashtown USA.
In 1998, Funtown Splashtown USA. announces its largest ever expansion with the arrival of Excalibur, the first wooden coaster in Maine in over 50 years. Excalibur is the tallest and longest wooden roller coaster in Northern New England. The coaster was highly praised and had rave reviews. Excalibur was rated #10 in the world for wooden roller coasters by Amusement Business magazine.
The following year, three of the six water slides in Splashtown USA were replaced and a large kiddie play area was added to the park, as well as addtional lounge seating. In 2000, the park brings in live entertainment when the Picadilly Corner Stage opens.
Following the 2000 season, the park announced that it would be closing the Hydrofighter, Ferris Wheel, and Noah Zark Play Area to make way for the 220-foot tall Dragon’s Descent, a Turbo Drop ride. The Frog Hopper, a kiddie version of the Dragon’s Descent was also added at that time. Dragon’s Descent has the distinction of being the tallest attraction in Northern New England.
In 2003, Splashtown USA underwent a major expansion that doubled the size of the water park with the addition of the Portland Pirates Paradise, an AquaPlay interactive water park attraction. It was the largest of its kind in New England. Also added that year was the Horizons Tiki (Smoothie) Bar and Gift Shop, the Silver Dolphin Jewelry Shop, and Drago’s – a new food stand in the Mandarin Village.
In 2006, Funtown Splashtown USA celebrated its 40th season! The park announced its largest expansion and renovation project ever; two 7-story tall water slides to open in June 2007. The new slides replace the mini golf course. The new section of the water park opened to rave reviews. The Hungry Bear and the Sweet Shoppe were renovated to serve guests in the water park.
In 2007, Splashtown USA doubled in size. The park also opened the new Mammoth and Tornado water slides. The Tornado is exclusive to the park in Northern New England.
In 2008, the park opened its first redemption arcade, The Dragon’s Lair.
In 2009, the Galaxi coaster, a mainstay at the park for 30 years, was replaced with the Wild Mouse. The new coaster is the largest family-steel coaster in Maine.
In 2012, the park undertook its largest expansion and renovation project ever. Splashtown USA was expanded, adding the Mount Olympus Water Slides, additional lounging and seating, three new dining and food locations; Parthenon Cafe, BBQ Pit, and Fresh-squeezed lemonade and snow cone cart. On the Funtown USA side, a new Hungry Bear and BBQ Pit restaurants were added, the Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe opened. The park also relocated the Group Picnic areas, and some of the games. New restrooms were also opened.
In 2015, Splashtown USA celebrated its 20th season, and the Astrosphere celebrated its 40th season.
In 2016, Funtown USA celebrates its 50th season! Returning to the park for this historic season is one of the park’s original rides, the Merry-Go-Round. This classic will be located adjacent to the Funwalk Games and Heritage House of Gifts, not far from its original home.
In 2019, Funtown USA completely refurbished the Astrosphere attraction with a new dome made out of concrete. The light and sound show was also upgraded to include new video projectors that brought back many of the original photo slides.