Texas grandpa builds amusement park in backyard

He decided to build the amusement park when he found out he'd become a grandpa.

March 6, 2017, 1:10 PM

— -- Jimmy White, 52, always dreamed of having his own amusement park. And three years ago, when he found out he was going to become a grandfather, he decided to make it happen in his own back yard.

"Growing up, I didn’t have much," White told ABC News. "But I always knew I wanted to build my grandchildren a roller coaster."

Now White’s back yard in Decatur, Texas has an amusement park that he built himself, complete with a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a roller coaster made from scrap materials.

The coaster, which starts from White's second floor deck, took him just over a week to build, he said. Gravity alone pulls the coaster car around the yard. The track is made from PVC pipe with wood and cement supports throughout and the coaster wheel system locks onto it.

"My family and friends thought the idea was crazy," said White. "But when people tell me I can’t do something, that just motivates me to do it."

White lives on 80 acres in rural Texas that have been in his family for decades. His granddaughter, Sophia, is almost 3 years old and spends a lot of time with her grandpa in his fun-filled backyard.

Though he has no formal engineer training, White said, his background working in electrical maintenance for more than twenty years helped him understand how to construct the rides.

"If I can see something and think of something, then I’ll build it," White said. In his youth, he said, he was always outside building club houses.

White plans on adding to the amusement park with a motorized chair swing and possibly a system to return the roller coaster car to the top of his deck after a ride.

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