Three Generations Work Together at Iconic Local Business
(Pictured: Andy (Andrew) Burns, his wife Erin, their three daughters, and his father, Tom Burns-owner of Cook Forest Fun Park.)
Cook Forest Fun Park is an iconic attraction for those familiar with the Cook Forest area.
From the miniature golf course to the water slide, it has been a staple of family fun in the area for well over 30 years. However, many people may not realize it all began with the go-karts.
Carl Lipford, the father of Pam Burns who passed away on July 9, 2019, started the business in 1982 when he first opened the Cook Forest Fun Park Go-Karts.
From there, the business began to grow.
The second attraction added was the miniature golf course, which has become known for its beautiful water features and flowers. Following that, they added the bumper boats and the iconic waterslide, which remains the only waterslide in Cook Forest.
“I was pretty young then, but I remember. I always tried to help build everything and wanted to be right there the whole time,” Andy Burns, told exploreClarion.com.
Andy is the son of the current owner Tom Burns and the late Pam Burns. Tom and Pam worked together at the Fun Park while also raising three children: Andy, Bryan, and Jessica.
Along with the main attractions, the Fun Park also offers its own pavilion – which seats up to 80 people – and provides a venue for everything from school outings and company picnics to reunions and birthday parties.
“A lot of local groups and companies like to use it for events,” Andy said.
Andy is the third generation of the family to be involved in the business, which he says he practically grew up in.
“It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of people, always helping out here. You learn a lot in a hurry.”
The business that Andy’s grandfather started has remained a family affair, with not only him and his wife but also other family members working together to continue offering more and more each year, according to Andy.
Andy’s three young daughters spend their days at the park, and Bryan (Nicole) Burns’ and Jessica (JJ) Karg’s children are beginning to work for the business, as well.
“The older ones are all starting to work and get paid now,” Andy noted.
While the family already had quite an expansive business going, with the four major attractions at the Fun Park, they’ve still continued to expand over the years. The added the Fun Park Grill, a small snack stand, more recently.
According to Andy, the grill has been “a big hit,” offering everything from handmade pizzas and hoagies to Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream, plus burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and fries.
This year, they also expanded and opened two brand new cabins, available for rent by the day or by the week.
The expansion, officially named Cabins at Cook Forest, currently includes two cabins: Friendly Bear Log Cabin, a three-bedroom cabin that sleeps up to seven people, and Tiny Bear Log Cabin, a one-bedroom cabin that sleeps two people. A third cabin, Cozy Bear Log Cabin, another three-bedroom cabin, will be available in March 2020, and there may be more to come.
“We’re going to try to keep adding one more per year for now,” Andy added.
Special amenities at the cabins include private hot tubs, wifi, Dish Network, and outdoor grills and fire rings.
With their business continuing to grow, and younger members of the family continuing to join the crew, it looks like Cook Forest Fun Park, and the new Cabins at Cook Forest, will continue to be a favorite local attraction for years to come.
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