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Land of Make Believe: Water Slides, Amusement Park Rides, and Santa

Land of Make Believe: Water Slides, Amusement Park Rides, and Santa

The Land of Make Believe is a family-owned amusement park that features a water park and carnival rides, plus some make-believe fun. It's tucked away in the Kittatinny Valley, in Hope Township, NJ, about an hour's drive from Upper Manhattan. It was designed specifically for little children, so it is ideal for families with young kids. This amusement park has a county fair feel due to the grassy parking lot, fair-like foods booths, carnival games, and rides. The water park is what makes the Land of Make Believe stand out from just another county fair. The vibe of this 30-acre property is unique and kitschy. The balanced mix of wholesomeness and fantasy is one of a kind.

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The Land of Make Believe Water Park

Land of Make Believe Water Park

I visited recently on a Friday with a friend and our kids, a 1 year old and two 4 year olds. Upon entering the park you see booths of games, a giant Santa Barn (yes, you can see Santa over summer break), and lots of rides. It was hot, so we headed to the water park first. We brought strollers and had to park them outside the gate surrounding the water park. There are lockers available to rent in this area, so you can secure your valuables.

Our kids were in the giant wading pool within seconds. We spent about half of our day in the water park playing on the pirate ship and several other small slides and fun water features. We also rode one of the big tube slides with both 4 year olds. One was brave enough to go alone, the other shared a tube with me and we all squealed our way down to the bottom. This seemed like a big-kid slide, but you only need to be a minimum of 36 inches to ride alone. Lifeguards are at the bottom to greet the kids and help them out of the water.

We spent most of our water park time in the wading pool and never made it over to the lazy river or Blackbeard's Pirate Fort. In all, there are about nine different water rides and areas to experience. The park has two high thrill slides, Pirate's Plunge and Pirate's Cannonball, which offer straight drops and were too scary even for me to try.

The Rides at Land of Make Believe

Land of Make Believe train ride

After an ice cream break and changing into dry clothes we ventured over to the amusement ride section. We decided to ride the train, which runs the perimeter of the park, to see everything the park offers. The kids loved this open-air miniature steam locomotive. We saw all 15 of the rides, went through a tunnel, then rode around the outside of the whole water park. Once we pulled back into the station we picked up our strollers and visited every ride in the dirt lot. Nothing was too scary and the 4 year olds were big enough to ride everything. I accompanied them on most of the rides, only to be part of the fun. Our favorites were the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Thriller, the park's only roller coaster.

More Fun at Land of Make Believe

We took a quick stroll through the petting zoo, which has a cow, rabbits, and a couple of little lambs. We also took a walk around the Land of Make Believe Mining Company, where you can purchase stones and then mine them out of a mining trough. Lastly we walked through Santa's Barn. The kids loved walking through the chimney to access a stairwell that takes you upstairs to Santa’s summer house. We didn’t take the time to sit on his lap, but those who did walked away with free cookie cutters. There is also a pizza place, gift shop, and ice cream parlor inside.

Tips for Visiting Land of Make Believe

  • Bring towels, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Ride the train first to see everything. Then visit the water park. End with the rides.
  • Life jackets and flotation devices are not allowed. (Kids must be accompanied by an adult in the pool, which is only 18 inches at its deepest.)
  • Coolers are not allowed, but you can bring in food and drinks.
  • The food available for purchase is good and very inexpensive.
  • The park is best for ages 2-8 but could go up to 11 since they've recently added some new high thrill slides.
  • Kids under 2 are free.
  • The park is very stroller friendly.
  • It has many bathrooms and changing areas.
  • Parking is free.
  • All attractions once inside are free except the mining activity.


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Estée Pouleris


 Estée Pouleris is the creator behind blog She lives in NYC with her boyfriend and their daughter. 

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