In 1960, Sam Haynes Sr. opened a small amusement park named Fun Fair Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Best known for the rollercoaster The Wild Mouse and a mascot chimp named Candi, the park lost its small-town charm and closed in 1999.
However, Sam Haynes, Jr. moved a great deal of the park, including Candi, to a new location and started fresh with an amusement park named Dixie Landin’. Attached to Dixie Landin is the Blue Bayou Water Park.
Blue Bayou Water Park and Dixie Landin are open May thru September. The parks have 25 full-time employees that work year-round, but that number swells to 700 during the summer months, with most of the seasonal employees being local teens. Blue Bayou has 20 attractions and Dixie Landin 26, including 3 rollercoasters.
Candi the chimp was on display in a cage most days at Dixie Landin’, smoking cigarettes and drinking sodas that park-goers would toss to her. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in 2015 saying that Candi was being treated inhumanely and that the 50-year-old chimp should live out her days in a sanctuary. The Haynes family said they had tried to have Candi join a group of chimps at a local zoo, but she continually escaped and taught the other chimps how to escape as well.
Hurricane Gustav caused some damage to both parks in 2008, but the park has just closed for the season and all repairs were done in time for the parks to reopen in 2009.
Blue Bayou Water Park and Dixie Landin are still owned and operated by the Haynes family. Headquarters remain in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.