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Charles Edward Swafford Collection - Celebrations and Amusement Parks (1967, 1970)

Tonda Chapa

Silent | 1967

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  •  Birthday feast for grandpa with family members waving to the camera 
  •  A 1967 tinsel Christmas tree and presents 
  •  Driving the tractor on the field 
  •  The family embarks on a road trip: 217 miles until El Paso 
  •  Quick stop to an overlook at the Carlsbad Caverns 
  •  Montague, Texas 
  •  AstroWorld in Houston. The park opened on June 1, 1968, as part of the Astrodomain, a development complex owned by former Houston Mayor Roy Hofheinz. Six Flags bought the park in 1975, operating it until its closure in 2005. 
  •  View of the Astrodome 
  •  Watersports on the theme park lake 
  •  Dolphins and penguins at Sea-Arama Marineworld 
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Charles and Ana Swafford settled in Wichita Falls, Texas, in the 1960s. Their home movie collection captures family life in Wichita Falls, visits to Charles’ birthplace in Bonita, Texas, and trips to Colorado and Houston. This home movie begins with a feast celebrating a grandfather’s 64th birthday and the family opening Christmas presents in 1967. The Swaffords then go on a road trip, passing through Fort Stockton, the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Bonita, and back to Wichita Falls. Later, the family visits AstroWorld in Houston and the Sea-Arama Marineworld in Galveston.
Opening in 1965, Sea-Arama Marineworld in Galveston was one of the first ocean theme parks in the nation. It spanned across 25 acres, including a four-acre ski lake and a 200,000-gallon aquarium. The park offered a variety of attractions, from shows with dolphins and Mamuk, the killer whale, to alligator wrestling and snake charming to a water-ski performance. 
By the late 1980s, Sea-Arama needed major renovations. After Sea World opened in 1988, the park found it difficult to compete and unwilling to invest in the dying park’s revitalization. Sea-Arama closed on January 14, 1990. The ruins of the park remained until 2006, when it was finally torn down.