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by Julie Ruggiero

Related: rye playland, amusement park, historic landmark, mini-golf, beach, cruises, rides,

For more than 80 years, Rye Playland — America’s first completely planned amusement park and a National Historic Landmark — has created memories for generations of Westchester families. With activities for everyone, Rye Playland is the ultimate day trip in the county.

Twists and Turns
   From thrill seekers to the more timid, every member of the family can find something to enjoy in the main park, with its more than 50 rides and attractions. Favorites include Super Flight, the Log Flume, the Playland Yo-Yo and Sky Flyer. And it wouldn’t be a trip to Playland without taking a spin on the Dragon Coaster, Playland’s most popular ride.

   If height isn’t your thing, hop on the Grand Carousel, or check out the go karts or Auto Scooter bumper cars. For the little ones, Kiddyland offers more than 20 rides, like the Boat Ride, the Fun Slide, and the Playland Express. Throughout the park, there are also a myriad of carnival games, arcades, and fun stops like the House of Mirrors. Playland contains a host of national chain restaurants and sells refreshments such as cotton candy, funnel cake, and ice cream.

Summer Sun and Fresh Air
   The perimeters of Playland are filled with an array of non-ride summer activities. Playland Lake offers two- or four-person pedal boats or 15-minute cruises. The Edith G. Read Sanctuary, 179 acres filled with marine life and three miles of trails, features hiking and special birding programs throughout the season. Boasting views of the Long Island Sound, the public beach, with its Olympic-size pool, is a great place to build sandcastles and cool off from the heat. The 19-hole miniature golf course, which also overlooks the Sound, is great for some family competition. And after you’ve worked up an appetite, if you’ve brought your own food, head over to one of Playland’s two picnic areas equipped with barbeque grills.

     Famous for its scenes in the film Big, Playland’s 320-foot boardwalk is the perfect setting to get some exercise, take in the view, and watch the sunset. For history seekers, the museum there is filled with memorabilia from Playland’s rich past.

Singing, Dancing, and Sparkles
   Playland is your headquarters for free, local entertainment during the summer. Throughout July and August, Milt Gerver's Big Band Orchestra will play on the boardwalk on select Friday evenings. Last year, artists like Natasha Bedingfield and Elliot Yamin performed their hits, so be on the lookout for other big names this summer. On July 1, 3, and 4, and then every Wednesday and Friday through September, there’s a large fireworks display at 9:15pm.

What’s New This Year
   The park now has a Pay-One-Price admission. Once you purchase a Fun Band, you have unlimited access to rides all day. Junior Fund Bands, which are free (up to two) when you purchase the adult Fun Band, allow children under 36 inches tall unlimited access to select park rides. If you don’t wish to go on any rides, there is a modest admission fee. However, if you decide later to go on rides, you can upgrade to a Fun Band, use leftover Fun Card points from last season, or purchases more points.

If You Go
Where: Rye Playland, Playland Parkway, Rye

When: Now through September 13

How much: Rides: $25 Fun Band, $20 Twilight Fun Band (after 6pm)
Park only: $3
Beach and pool: $3-$6
Mini-golf: $4
Pedal boats and cruises: $4-$11
Edith G. Read Sanctuary: $4-$10
Parking: $4 weekdays; $5 weekends and holidays; Westchester County Park Pass holders receive certain discounts.

How to get there: New England Thruway (I-95) to Playland Parkway/Exit 19. Also accessible by Bee-Line buses and MetroNorth. 

For more information: 914-813-7010 or www.RyePlayland.org or www.westchestergov.com

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