What drew me to Rye Playland was it’s location, a nearby amusement park and beach from NYC. What I left with was a desire to learn more about the history of this relic and pride that the community invested in Landmarking this important piece of our history.
We, myself, a mom friend and our two 4 year olds, made our adventure to Playland on a 95 degree Friday afternoon. Our plans to spend the day in the pool, beach and amusement park were altered upon realizing the pool and beach were not included in the $20 – $30 admission depending on height to Playland. We decided to stay at the amusement park for the day and easily filled our time with rides into the early evening. There weren’t any lines lines which also made it enjoyable, probably because it was so hot.
We started in Kiddyland, right near the entrance. Kiddyland has over 20+ cute rides for young ones, mostly requiring a 36″ height requirement. Parents are allowed to accompany kids who don’t meet the height requirement on some of the attractions. I think our kid’s favorites were probably the flying dragon and the Antique Cars. Following our time in Kiddyland we joined a dance party happening under a tent in the main area of the park. This was adorable and led by a dragon (mascot of the park) and a very charismatic ring leader. Even though it was hot, the kids got down with their moves and loved it.
After dancing we made our way through the main park. It’s filled with Art Deco architecture and several plaques showing history of the rides. There are even photos from Playland’s hay day in the 1930’s. What I find remarkable is Playland still runs seven original rides that pre-date 1930! The Dragon Coaster, built in 1929, is both the park’s mascot and in the Playland logo. Our kids weren’t tall enough to enjoy this ride so we didn’t get to experience it – did look fun though. We enjoyed a spin on the Grand Carousel built in 1915, it showcases four rows of 48 jumping horses, 18 still horses and three chariots all hand-carved. The kids loved it as a ride, but I may have enjoyed it more as lover of carousels. Another original ride we rode is The Whip, now this ride is questionable…the kids loved it. My friend and I are still amazed we weren’t actually thrown from the ride. Our necks soon recovered then we took a ride on the 1928 classic Kiddie Coaster, this too was a little jarring but of course the kids loved it. Our favorite rides of all were probably the more modern rides. We loved the two different water rides and swings. We did these several times which gave us a chance to cool off and also gave us views of the entire park including the beach. The go-karts were a close second as their height requirement is lower than many places (36″ with an adult) so our kids were able to ride with us on these.
For additional admission there is a swimming area which consists of a beach along the Long Island Sound, a Spanish Revival bathhouse, boardwalk and a swimming pool. We didn’t visit these areas, but would come back for them. Playland was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is rich in culture and history. The rides are not be as shiny and thrilling as newer theme parks but Playland isn’t trying to compete with the more commercial and chain amusement parks. It’s authenticity keeps it relevant as a choice for a fun family destination. I recommend a visit to Rye Playland, if not for the rides than for the slice of history that is pretty well preserved.
- Very stroller friendly.
- Many food options.
- Many accessible bathrooms.
- We brought in snacks and waters but coolers are not allowed.
- Parking is $10
- There is a $5 admission discount for Westchester residents.
- This park shows it’s age, I respected it but know this before you go.
- There are several dark rides not necessarily appropriate for young children: Flying Witch, Starship 2000, Ye Old Mill, Zombie Castle
- There are fireworks every Friday night beginning July 1 through September 2nd. The spectacular fireworks displays are choreographed to music at 9:15 p.m.
Did you know Playland was the amusement park featured in the movie Big starring Tom Hanks? “Zoltar the Magnificent” fortune teller machine returns him to an adult, it was filmed on Playland’s boardwalk.
To see a video of our day: