Skates, Roller-coasters & Dodgem Cars

As a youth, Elvis often visited the Rainbow Roller Skating Rink in Memphis. It was located on Lamar Avenue and was a part of the Pieraccini family entertainment complex, which included the Eagle's Nest nightclub. It was at the Rainbow skating rink that Elvis first spent quality time with Dixie Locke, his high school sweetheart. At the start of his music career, Elvis performed at the Eagle's Nest. After his career took off and he could afford it, Elvis rented out the Rainbow after hours for parties with his friends. The guys would play skating games they had invented. They would wear elbow and knee pads to protect themselves and then divide up into teams to have a "war" or line up in a chain and play "pop the whip". The week before he was inducted into the army in March 1958, Elvis visited the Rainbow Roller Skating Rink every night to vent stress and to be with his friends before he had to leave. He rented it out again in March of 1960 when he returned home from ac!
tive service in the military.

Elvis never lost his love of thrill rides in amusement parks. In the spring of 1956, when he went to Las Vegas to perform at the New Frontier Hotel, he found an amusement park to visit. That summer, he and girlfriend June Juanico went to the park at Lake Pontchartrain Beach near New Orleans. There they rode the Nephyr roller-coaster over and over again. In August of that year, when he went to Hollywood to film his first movie "Love Me Tender", he and his cousins Gene and Junior Smith spent time on the rides at the Long Beach Amusement Park. Back home in Memphis, Elvis would rent out the Fairgrounds after hours and often invited the fans who were hanging out at the gates of Graceland to join him there with his friends and family. The Fairgrounds would charge him $30.00 per hour for the Dodgems bumper car ride that he loved so much and a $40.00 flat rate for the wooden Pippin roller-coaster. He would also be charged for all the concessions the party consumed. Typically, El!
vis would ride in his favorite car on the Pippin over and over again until he was tired of it. He would also get into his favorite Dodgem car and he and his friends would proceed to crash into each other throughout the night.

In 1975, in preparation for the 1976 U.S. bicentennial, the Fairgrounds Amusement Park was refurbished and renamed Libertyland. Elvis last visited the park one evening eight days before his death. He rented out Libertyland for daugther Lisa Marie and their friends on August 8, 1977. Today, many fans still visit the park and have their pictures taken with Elvis' favorite rides.