The recent tragedy at this park is very sad. My heart goes out to the family and friends…
This 70 year old beacon of all things old-timey kitschy and cool (think Carnival of Souls meets It's a Small World) makes this list because it's the one and only amusement park that is not privately owned by a massive corporation, but rather run by our own state government. Rye Playland is one of the only things in the country you could throw in soft core libertarian John Stossel's face, and dare him not to enjoy himself.
Uma Thurman was there with one of her kids last time we went because it's a great place for kids, with plenty of family friendly rides–but that doesn't mean adults can't have a blast .
A nice way to start the day is at the creepy, romantic boardwalk on the sea, a kind of restored old school glory of seaside entertainment and arcades. Within the park itself there are some rides you just can't miss, and with the minimal lines, you won't have to.
The most memorable is “Whip”, a car that seems to simply go round and round a circle but in actuality lets your body know what it would be like to get in a 15 mile an hour car collision over and over and over. Kind of amazing it still runs.
The second antiquity, The Derby Racer, is equal scary, and equally unassuming. It looks like a derby themed carousel, but it goes super duper fast. So fast that you can fly off if you don't follow the rules of the barking kids that run it. “Lean to the left!” they scream at you throughout the entire ride, which kind of heightens the fear.
More contemporary favorites are the Dragon Coaster (you fly through his smoky open mouth); the Crazy Mouse (a whiplash mini coaster); and the Ye Old Mill that takes you through an animatronic journey past gnomes warning you about trolls. Top it all off with the house of mirrors, cotton candy and hot dogs. This is a great day trip just a few miles from the city.