The Tropicana has played host to some truly iconic and notable events and celebrities over its many years, from classics including Laurel and Hardy and Diana Dors, to the internationally-renowned street artist Banksy (Dismaland). See below for the Tropicana history with our timeline.
1937 – ‘The Pool’ opens its doors to the public for the first time following a £60,000 project, giving Weston-super-Mare its very own outdoor swimming pool. At 950 sq metre (10,200 sq ft) it was the largest open air swimming pool in Europe and included an art deco diving board.
1947 – Hollywood film stars Laurel and Hardy visit to be guest judges at the town’s Modern Venus beauty competition.
1982 – The attraction closes to the public for renovation after Woodspring District Council successfully applied for permission to demolish the then-listed diving boards.
1983 – Following a £1m redevelopment The Tropicana Pleasure Beach reopens to the public. The diving boards are replaced by a wave machine, Pineapple shaped water chutes and a water heater. On its first day 7,500 visitors turn up, meaning many had to queue until 6pm to get in.
1997 – The Tropicana celebrates its 60th birthday with a spectacular party opened by comedian Eddie Large.
2000 – After yet another wet summer The Tropicana reluctantly closes its doors as a swimming pool for the very last time.
Spring 2015 – Following numerous unsuccessful attempts to develop the venue, North Somerset Council breathes fresh life into the Tropicana with the creation of The Bay Café – a modern and vibrant licensed café and lounge.
Summer 2015 – ‘Dismaland – Bemusement Park’, an art installation curated by the world famous street artist Banksy opens at The Tropicana for just five weeks. The “sinister twist on Disneyland” features original works by Banksy and 58 other artists including Damien Hirst and attracts over 150,000 visitors from all over the world, generating £20m in revenue for the town. ‘Dismaland’ also features outdoor musical performances by global superstars including Damon Albarn, De La Soul and Pussy Riot.
Winter 2015 – Further investment is made into the site by North Somerset Council in partnership with local arts development charity, The Theatre Orchard, and the venue hosts ‘Theatre @ The Bay’ with seasonal shows in December and January.
Summer 2016 – The renaissance of The Tropicana continues as it transforms into a pop-up amusement park ‘Funland’, welcoming thousands of visitors to enjoy its thrills and spills. It also shows its versatility as a venue playing host to a diverse programme of events including theatre shows, street art festival, Hazy Days music festival, Stars of Time and Weston Food Festival.
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