Happiness shined though the rain on Saturday as Rye Playland opened for its 95th season.
New Playland General Manager Jeff Davis, who has been part of over 35 opening days at parks around the country including Sesame Place and Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, said he was most excited about Playland opening day because of “the atmosphere, the legacy that the park brings, and all of the excitement that we’re going to bring over the future years to come”.
Opening day offered various entertainers including a fortune teller inspired by the park’s infamous Zoltar, a magician and stilt walkers. The fountain in the entrance plaza offered a new synchronized water and light show set to music.
“It is another exciting day with liquid sunshine,” said Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, referring to the rain soaked media and VIPs as well as inveterate Playland fans who had showed up for opening day. Jenkins who joined Davis and other VIPs for the opening day ribbon cutting. “You are going to see some things that have been invested in by both Standard Amusements and by yourselves and the County of Westchester. It’s tremendous – it looks so beautiful. I can’t wait for us to get started for this year.”
Other special guests in attendance were Nick Singer, managing principal of Standard Amusements (the firm with the long term management contract for the park), Westchester County Board of Legislators Representative Catherine Parker and Stacy Shuster, director of marketing & sales at Playland.
After a ribbon cutting the doors opened to allow the public to take a “first ride” of the season and display some of the park’s newest rides such as the Old Rye Motorbike Factory, which opened last August. According to Stacy Shuster, the park has reworked how they will go about introducing new rides like the Motorbike Factory moving forward, “we’re not just putting in the rides anymore. We’re putting in a themed environment. We’re putting in food and beverage that goes with it. So it’s a fully immersive experience you’re getting on the ride and that’s still phenomenal.”
In addition to Playland’s amusement park rides, the county park has recently undergone several additional innovations under management by Standard Amusement which will be introduced to the public this summer such as a new waterfront slide at Playland Beach, as well as a newly renovated Playland pool with zero depth entry, and Playland Lake which will have new paddle boats available alongside the historic Boathouse.
Later in the season will see a new ride called Jack the Puppeteer and a new installation, “Play! Verse – An Immersive Adventure” which will have various creative room designs for visually interactive and dynamic photo ops. New dining opportunities include Tiki Beach, which has replaced the old Charley’s Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar, and the adjacent Captain Lawrence Beer Garden with outdoor seating only.
The park is open this weekend from 11am – 9pm Saturday and Sunday. Next weekend the park is open 11am – 9pm on Saturday and Sunday and 12pm – 9pm on Memorial Day. Playland Beach and pool open for the season on Saturday and both will be open 10am – 6pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The park, pool and beach begin to open daily (weekends and weekdays) towards the end of June with the exception of being closed most Mondays. Hours will curtail again in September with the last operating day for the park as Sunday, October 1st.
Video of opening day remarks, the ribbon cutting and a peak at the new synchronized water fountain: