Playland Opens with New Ride and Look

Playland opened its 96th season on May 18 with the Lighting Drumline from the Barack Obama School for Social Justice in Yonkers and the debut of its newest ride, Jack the Puppeteer.

Published May 23, 2024 10:57 PM
3 min read



Playland opened its 96th season on May 18 with the Lighting Drumline from the Barack Obama School for Social Justice in Yonkers and the debut of its newest ride, Jack the Puppeteer. The park undertakes the 2024 season with an infusion of $150 million from Westchester County, money that is being used to improve attractions and bring new energy to the seaside amusement park.

Playland plans to offer seasonal summer roundtrip ferry service from New York City to Playland, joining with NY Waterway. The park also has created a partnership with ArtsWestchester to launch a series of arts programming and performances, outdoor movie nights, stage shows, and the return of the World’s Largest Rubber Duck to the Sound on Aug. 16, 17, and 18.

The new ride resembles a mammoth wooden puppet in the style of Carlo Collodi’s Pinnochio and operates with the infrastructure of a scrambler-style ride.

Despite clear skies and bustling crowds, the Dragon Coaster, which celebrates its 95th anniversary this year, was closed and undergoing road tests. It remained unopened until later in the evening, when disgruntled guests had already left.

There will be other aesthetic changes at the park this year. Visitors will be surrounded by colorful artwork adorning the park’s sidewalks, roads, parking lots, and more. Earlier this year, Playland put two separate calls out to local artists. The first gave “asphalt artists” up to $5,000 to bring their decorative creativity to the 17 acres of the park.

To celebrate the Dragon Coaster’s anniversary on July 20, the park invited citizens of all ages to create artistic interpretations of the iconic ride. The winners, who will receive season passes to Playland, will be announced on July 20.

Guests can relax at the new Tiki Beach Pier Restaurant, which focuses on tropical drinks and seafood favorites like sushi rolls, crispy calamari, and jumbo coconut shrimp. But not to fret, they also serve the pickiest eaters with burgers, fries, and flatbreads.

The Burger Barn also welcomes Playland guests to take a load off. Established in Somers, NY, more than a decade ago, the family-owned business will be serving its burgers in Playland Park for the first time this year.

In addition, Playland wants to honor the legacy of veterans. In February, Playland announced its Hometown Heroes banner program. Rye residents can use #OurPlayland to choose their hero, and they will be honored with their photo displayed throughout the park.

The Playland Pool will open on Memorial Day.

Standard Amusements, the park’s operator for the last three years, partnered with real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle to reduce its carbon footprint. Some examples include using all-electric cooking appliances for food service throughout the park’s eateries and installing potable water stations across the campus. Old lighting has also been replaced with new, high-efficiency LEDs.

Standard Amusements also has planted a variety of North American trees and plants on the ground and on the roofs of several structures throughout the grounds.

Meanwhile, performances on Center Stage will kick off on Sunday, May 25, featuring acts from yo-yo artists to sword swallowers every Sunday. Every Thursday, starting on June 27, the park will have movie nights. Expect synchronized swimmers on Saturday, June 22, and the return of fireworks on Saturdays starting on June 29.

“Playland is committed to not only growing and revitalizing the historic park, but to introducing Playland to a new generation of visitors to create lasting memories and traditions for the next 100 years,” said Playland CEO Evonne Keeler.

For a full list of events and pricing this season, go to

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