is a small amusement park along the Long Island Sound
in Rye, New York
, Westchester County. It's conveniently located only about 45 minutes away from New York City
(it's 20 miles from the George Washington Bridge
.) It's truly fun for the whole family with multiple roller coasters and a children-only
The location of Playland, on Rye Beach, had already been a popular recreation spot by the local population before Playland's construction in 1927. According to an early report by Westchester County, "the area evolved rapidly as the population increased, until in the late 1800s fancy resorts were already giving way to bawdy hotels and rowdy amusement areas, attracting unsavory crowds." The locals petitioned the county to develop the land and make a new attraction. The county did so and created two new theme parks, Rye Beach and Paradise Park.
Frank W. Darling, then president of the LA Thompson Scenic Railway Company at Coney Island, was asked by the Westchester County Park Commission to create, manage, and operate Playland. F.W. Darling had already built parks in England, New Zealand, and France. So on the day after Labor Day in 1927, over 1,000 men went to work to construct Playland. There was a planned execution of finely integrated architecture and landscaping. A well thought out music system was also installed to play soothing musical masterpieces by classical artists such as Sousa, Wagner and Berlin. So, on May 26, 1928 upon Playland's opening, experts declared it one of the best recreational centers of its kind in the country. Still soon to come was an Olympic-size pool, increased boardwalk concessions, an indoor ice skating rink, a scenic railway, and additional restaurants and picnic areas. All in all, the original Playland design included picnic areas, restaurants, three ice-skating rinks, a swimming pool, and two beaches totaling approximately 7,900 feet of shoreline, in addition to the "thrilling" amusement rides.
Playland still has three enormously popular rides that pre-date 1930! Among these include Kiddyland's "Kiddycoaster" and "Kiddy Carousel", the regular Carousel, the Derby, the Old Mill, and the world-famous "Whip" and "Dragon Coaster".
Today, Playland has many more classic, and modern, rides. They include:
- Double Shot:
This vertical ride rockets you up an 85-foot tower in less than two seconds and before you can enjoy the breathtaking views, shoots you back down to the bottom at a negative one G Force. All of this is repeated for double the thrills!
- The Inverter:
The Inverter lifts riders 50 feet in the air and spins 360Âº while your seat turns in a counter-rotation.
- Dragon Coaster:
This famous roller coaster has been captivating people for over 70 years. With over 3,400 feet of track you'll plunge into a 128-foot drop and be hurled into the mouth of a Dragon.
- Log Flume:
A traditional log flume ride with two large drops in a 1,150-foot chute filled with 170,000 gallons of water.
- Hurricane Coaster:
Get swept up into stomach turning vertical plunges and 80 degree turns. This steel coaster twists and swerves on 1,300 feet of track.
If you dare to be strapped into this ride, you'll swing back and forth like a giant pendulum, higher and higher, until you start flying around in full circles.
If spinning around in different angles on a giant disc is not enough, this ride also flips you around in your seat. How's that for Chaos?
- Big Wheel:
What's an amusement park without a giant Ferris wheel? Playland's Big Wheel takes you up in spacious gondolas where you'll catch some of the best scenic views anywhere.
- Sea Dragon:
Hop aboard this pirate ship and you'll swoop back and forth as if riding monster waves.
- House of Mirrors:
Visitors seek their way through a maze of mirrors and illusions. Their images are bent and distorted as they see themselves tall, short, skinny, fat and wavy. Once you exit the first room, another more challenging maze awaits with strobe lights.
Enter the incredible universe of virtual reality and feel the sensations of traveling through worlds of fantasy and imagination.
- Starship 2000:
While standing inside this rotating platform, the floors fall from beneath you as you remain stuck on the wall from the force of this dizzying ride.
- The Whip:
A favorite of many generations of park visitors. Get whipped around as you travel through an oval track while turning 180 degrees
- Ye Olde Mill:
As you enter this dark ride on a small boat, a voice tells the story of the gnomes who are protecting their jewels. You'll encounter a giant dragon and a terrifying troll during this eerie journey.
Constructed in 1915, this is a great work of mechanical precision and artistic merit. Sixty-six horses with jewel-studded harnesses and three elaborate chariots circle the rare Gavioli band organ with monkey ornaments.
Groove to hip-hop sounds as you're hurled around, up and down, and then enjoy it all over again, in reverse.
- Zombie Castle:
Journey through the world of the living dead as you try to pass zombies and dancing skeletons.
- Haunted Mansion:
You're invited to visit this mansion where living corpses and decapitated fiends will serve as your hosts.
Climb aboard one of the many spider legs and get hurled around this wild, spinning insect-type-thing.
Imagine being on top of a giant quarter spinning around on the ground. Well that's how you'll feel on this revolving, bobbing ride.
- Derby Racer:
One of only two known original rides of this type remain in the U.S. Galloping at 25 miles per hour, the horses imitate the motion of real steeple chase steeds.
- Auto Scooter:
One of the biggest bumper car attractions in the country. With over fifty 2-person cars, there are plenty of reckless drivers to try to bump out of action.
Drive around a race track in your own speeding kart.
- Mind Scrambler:
Be seated in a dark tent where disco lights and club beats will send you off rocketing around and around.
Playland always offers free live entertainment. And they always have a spectacular pyrotechnic display to top off the evening every Wednesday and Friday. They might be the best fireworks you'll ever see!
So, hey, if you're ever in the New York area during the spring/summer time, come on by. You'll have an excellent time, guaranteed. And there's always free* admission]!
Kudos to the Playland website for some information. (http://www.westchestergov.com/playland/default.htm)
*Admission is free, but parking, eating, defacing public property, drinking, playing games, or going on rides is gonna cost you. Current rates: 36 Ticket Book: $20, 18 Ticket Book: $8.50, Single Ticket: 75Â¢.
Update: For the 2002 season, Playland has revamped their ticket system. They made rides cost less, but also made tickets cost more. They discontinued the use of the 36 and 18-ticket books. It about evens itself out, but I'd suppose that they're making more profit somewhere in there. The new prices are: 24-ticket book $20, 16-ticket book $16, 8-ticket book $8.50, Single Ticket $1.25.