Joseph LaFauci and Susan LaFauci (nee Jiggins) go for a birdie on one of the holes at the Turf ‘N Surf mini golf course, one of two mini golf courses at Paradise Fun Park that the two manage. The fun park is celebrating 30 years since starting Paradise Fun Park with the Turf ‘N Surf course. — Adam Kveton Photo

Parksville fun park celebrating 30 years after starting with mini-golf course

Managers share what the view has been like from the castle

Not too many families can lay claim to living in a castle with a view of several man-made waterfalls, a pirate ship and a giant shoe-house.

But Susan and Joseph LaFauci can.

They manage Paradise Fun Park in the Parksville core, which is celebrating 30 years in business since opening with Turf ’N Surf mini-golf course in 1988.

The course is the idea of the late Mike Jiggins who, along with his wife Joan Jiggins, began and owned various businesses in the Parksville area.

Joseph and Susan (daughter to Mike and Joan) were managers of the RV park located right behind what’s now the fun park back in the late ’80s when Mike showed them the blueprints he had for a mini-golf course.

It was a pretty simple looking plan, said Joseph, but the LaFauci’s were planning a trip down to Disneyland. “My father in law says, ‘When you’re there, check out this mini-golf across the street from Disneyland.”

So they took some pictures, found out that Castle Golf Designs had designed it, and reported back.

That’s how Turf ’N Surf mini golf course was born, opening in 1988.

“It was a big risk. Mom and dad had no idea what they were getting into,” said Susan.

Their original plan for the land that Paradise Fun Park now sits on was to build an extended care facility. The family had experience in that market, owning and operating Arranglen Lodge at the time.

But, given the resort nature of the area, they thought a mini-golf course could be a good fit.

Though they were informed that good business practice was to have a nearby population of about 100,000 people before opening a mini-golf course, they went ahead with it anyway.

Evidently here’s a reason the Jiggins family was still in business.

“They came to Canada with $20 in their pockets, to Calgary,” said Susan, and since then have owned many businesses including a restaurant and lumber yard, not to mention local businesses like the Paradise Sea Shell Motel, and Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club.

“Within the first year, we knew we had to build another 18 holes,” said Susan.

That course, named Treasure Island, opened in 1990, with much of the original design redesigned by Joseph and Mike.

Joan and Mike were looking for a nursery rhyme theme, and that’s how the large shoe house was created, as well as the castle, in which the LaFauci’s raised their kids and still live.

Since then there have been more and more additions to the park, including an arcade, bumper boats and kiddie bumper boats. The boats came about through a trip to another mini-golf course.

Re-designing and building much of Paradise Fun Park’s second mini-golf course earned Joseph some work as a mini-golf builder for other places. He’s built five others around B.C., from simple to much more complicated, like those at Paradise Fun Park.

One of the five was in Scotch Creek.

“They wanted bumper boats, so he had bumper boats put in, so my mom and I went up there at the grand opening of it,” said Susan.

“We went on them and we had so much fun that my mom said, ‘Oh my God, we have to have these at Paradise!’ And we agreed.”

The Paradise Fun Park bumper boats were open in 2000, she said.

Over the years, managing the park has certainly been a busy gig, said the LaFauci’s, with many long days.

More recently, they’ve been helped a great deal by Barb Kloss, who they call their right hand lady.

But the benefits of managing the place are many.

“It’s great to hear people laugh and have fun,” said Susan.

They are also an employer of many youth, they said, hiring about 30 people very year.

“Over the years, they come back with their kids,” said Joseph with a smile, some thanking the LaFauci’s for giving them their first job.

Overall, they said they hope their family is proud of their hard work.

“I hope we’ve pleased my father-in-law and mother-in-law and the family,” said Joseph.

To celebrate the park’s 30th year in business, the park will have face-painting, balloons, a pirate clue hunt for treasure, goodies, door prizes, free kiddy boats, several free arcade games and more on Saturday, July 21.

For more information on Paradise Fun Park, go to paradisefunpark.net.

Just Posted

Controversial SD69 discussions continue regarding field trips requiring air travel

Some Qualicum district students believe motion takes away too much from experience at school

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Library month celebrates Indigenous people, culture in Parksville

Vancouver Island Regional Library showcasing culture of many Nations during October

Green Party leader Elizabeth May talks eliminating fish farming in open ocean pens

May stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

Qualicum Beach council discusses helping out Orca Place residents

Town considers offer of temporary jobs in the future

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read