Rye Playland open for the season with fun, rides and shows

Aaron Saroken, 4, of Manhattan, rides a carousel

Aaron Saroken, 4, of Manhattan, rides a carousel during Rye Playland's opening day festivities. (May 11, 2013) (Credit: Xavier Mascarenas)

The rides are whirling now that Rye Playland is open for the season, but visitors will find some landmarks still damaged from their battering by superstorm Sandy.

"Sandy was devastating to Playland," said Westchester County Deputy Parks Commissioner Peter Tartaglia. "It's millions of dollars of damage, mostly to the shoreline."

The section of the boardwalk from the pier to the miniature golf course has been rebuilt and is open to visitors, Tartaglia said, adding that although the entire boardwalk will be open, it will close during the week to allow workers to finish final touches. Workers are also renovating the storm-ravaged pier and swimming pool, as well as the Ice Casino with its three indoor ice rinks, Tartaglia said.


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Despite the ongoing renovations, there is still plenty of fun to be had at the park. Here are some of the attractions, including favorites like the legendary Dragon Coaster, that will have the kiddies and the grown-ups smiling.

Activity: Rides

For those who want to: Indulge in the 'Fantasy'

Playland is home to the Dragon Coaster, a landmark ride whose wooden track spans almost two-thirds of a mile and boasts a 128-foot drop. It also carried former Bedford resident Mariah Carey in her music video for "Fantasy." While you must be at least 4 feet tall to ride the Dragon, there are lots of other ways for adults and older kids alike to seek thrills on the premises. There's the Playland Plunge (a 50-foot drop into a pool); a log flume (a 1,150-foot chute filled with 170,000 gallons of water); the Playland Yo-Yo (a circular, mechanical swing-set perched a couple of stories above the ground); and Thunder Bolt (a ride that moves in all directions to a hip-hop groove). The park's "dark rides" -- including the Flying Witch, Starship 2000, Ye Old Mill and Zombie Castle -- involve enclosed spaces, loud noises and flashing lights, so those are probably not ideal for the youngest children.

Cost: Free with regular admission; $5 or $6 per ride with spectator admission

Activity: Kiddyland

For those who want to: Cater to the younger crowd

To the right of the front entrance are about 20 rides geared toward kids ages 2 to 6. Rides include the Mini-Scrambler (for kids between 3 feet and 3 feet 6 inches tall); the Mini Coaster (for kids between 3 feet and 4 feet, 7 inches tall); the Convoy ride (for kids at least 3 feet 4 inches tall or shorter children accompanied by adult); and the Kiddy Carousel (for kids 3 to 4 feet tall). On opening day, Kiddyland will host "Mad about Science" shows at 2 and 4 p.m., and a DJ will play music at 1, 3, 5 and 6 p.m.

Cost: Free with regular admission; $5 per ride with spectator admission

Activity: Listen to the music

For those who want to: Dance the day away

Entertainment varies from day to day, but there always seems to be someone playing music or performing an act in front of an audience. DJs, drummers, singing competitions, magicians and classic rock cover bands are among the recurring performers keeping things lively throughout the park, starting June 14.

A Latino Music Festival is scheduled for June 23.

Cost: Free with admission

Activity: Special events

For those who want to: Build a day around a show

Whether it's fireworks on July Fourth or any subsequent Wednesday or Friday through Aug. 31, concerts by British pop singer Connor Maynard in June, the boy band Midnight Red in July or Kidz Bop Kids in August, Playland knows how to put on a show. There will also be Big Band concerts weekly starting July 12.

Cost: Free with admission; reserved seating available via Ticketmaster.com

Activity: Miniature golf

For those who want to: Putt around for a bit

This 19-hole mini golf course is a great way to practice your putts between the park's fountain and the Sound Shore. The course opens about one hour before the park, and the last round begins one hour before Playland closes.

Cost: $4 per person per play; $2.50 per person for groups of 20 or more

Activity: Dining

For those who want to: Dig in

Playland's snack bar and its surrounding property offers everything from amusement park favorites to seafood dining. Candy, caramel apples, cotton candy, hot dogs, burgers, funnel cake and Italian ices are among the kid-friendly fare. But perhaps those with a more adult palate might prefer a sandwich from Wrap City or the seafood specials at Pier Restaurant.

Cost: Varies

IF YOU GO

What: Rye Playland

Info: 1 Playland Pkwy., Rye, 914-813-7000, ryeplayland.org

Daily admission: Unlimited rides: $30, $25 for Westchester residents (must show a County Park Pass, state driver's license or nondriver ID or a photo ID of a recent report card from a county school); kids under 4 feet tall: $20, $15 for Westchester residents; spectator admission: $10, free for Westchester residents; opening day: $15.

Seasonal admission: Unlimited rides: $95, $80 for Westchester residents; spectator admission: $35, free for Westchester residents.

Hours: Noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Memorial Day, when the summer schedule begins. Opening day: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last day of the season is Sept. 9. Check the website for details.

Parking: $5 weekdays, $7 weekends, $10 holidays.

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