Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Sylvan Beach Amusement Park

In upstate New York on Oneida Lake (the largest lake entirely in New York), there exists a tiny time capsule of a park called Sylvan Beach Amusement Park. There has been an amusement park on this site since 1879, making Sylvan Beach tied for the title of the fourth oldest amusement park in the country.

With a solid collection of classic rides, Sylvan Beach can look a little worse for wear in some places, but I'm grateful that this park in a small lakeside town has remained when so many others have closed.
One of the park's vintage rides is this Rock-O-Plane. However, it is actually one of the more recent additions to the park, which have all been in keeping with its old-time feel.
The Kiddieland area has a treasure trove of old kids' rides, and the smaller of the two arcades in the park has some antique machines.
I actually visited on the park's 2021 opening day - June 26 - after they were shut for all of 2020 due to New York's restrictions on amusement parks. One unexpected hurdle to opening the park was a nest built by ospreys on the Galaxi roller coaster. This prevented it from opening on time, but repainting of the ride was also underway, so it probably wouldn't have been ready anyway. Luckily, I visited this park once before in 2017, so I already had gotten my "coaster credit" on it!
The other closed ride was the Rotor, now one of only two left in the country. This was another ride that I did in 2017; plus, I got to ride the other remaining Rotor on this same trip!
The Tilt-A-Whirl, Scrambler, and Bomber (Roll-O-Plane) have all been with the park for decades.
The neon of the Playland arcade is quite dazzling, and its next store neighbor is even better...
This last image shows the best ride in the park and what makes it worth visiting. Laffland opened in 1954, and the inside of this darkride has been unchanged and wonderfully preserved for 65 years. It's an amazing ride and will get its own post soon!


"Lou and Sue" said...

Andrew, you mentioned this is the fourth oldest amusement park in the country...what is the first?

The Tron ride in WDW had the same osprey problem, this past spring. Those birds sure do pick some interesting spots to raise their kids!

This looks like a fun place! I'm looking forward to your Laffland post!

Andrew said...

Sue, Lake Compounce in Connecticut is the oldest park in the country (1846), and it's followed by Cedar Point (1870) and my local Idlewild (1878). I'm going there for the first time in a little more than two weeks!

I did see that story about the Tron osprey nest. Crazy!

TokyoMagic! said...

Awwww, I love your pic showing the osprey nest at the top of that coaster. Hey, nature happens, right?

I miss having nearby access to these type of old-time rides. I haven't been on a Roll-O-Plane or a Rock-O-Plane since high school. I am wondering if I could now handle the Roll-O-Plane, but I would be awfully tempted to give it a try.

That's sad about there only being two Rotors in the country. What's this world, uh....country, coming too? Does the manufacturer still make these, if a park somewhere wanted to order one? And if not, how do these places get replacement parts? Do the parts all have to be custom made?

I am also looking forward to your Laffland post! I bet I'll laugh....I'll scream....and I'll holler! ;-)

Andrew said...

The osprey nest is cute! Too bad they weren't there during my visit.

I'm impressed that you're willing to do some of these rides again! My dad doesn't do any spinning rides, not even something like the Paratrooper.

Rotors like this one were made by Chance, and they don't manufacture them any more. Although Chance is still in business, I'd guess that it's cheaper (but a lot of work) for parks to make replacement parts themselves. I bet insurance issues also contributed to the ride's disappearance.

Good eye on those Laffland signs! The one at the end says "you'll howl!"

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, did your dad go on those spinning rides when he was younger? Those kind of rides never bothered me and fortunately, they still don't. Neither my dad, or my mom, liked anything that spun....and apparently they never did, even when they were younger.

I was wondering why those words on the Laffland sign were the same color as the background/trim color. They don't stand out, like they should. I didn't see the "you'll howl" part. Thanks for pointing that out. I like the font that they used for that part of the signage.

Andrew said...

He did, TokyoMagic!, until one "bad experience" (if you get my drift...) made him swear them off. One time we rode a "Flying Scooters" ride together, and he even got dizzy from that!

That part of the Laffland sign has a different color trim and does stand out in the day. The lighting makes it kind of blend in in this picture.

Major Pepperidge said...

Andrew, I’m glad that you are out there documenting these small amusement parks that have been around for so long. And because you are so knowledgeable, you really can focus on the things that are of the most interest! 20 years from now I’ll bet your archive is going to have photos of a lot of stuff that would otherwise be mostly forgotten. Meanwhile, I saw an osprey at a local park last year, that was a first. I'm looking forward to your Laffland post!

Andrew said...

Major Pepperidge, of course I've thought the possibility that I will long outlive places like this. It's sad to think about, but I've come to accept it. As long as there are some traditional parks, I think I'll say interested in the subject. I hope you check back for the Laffland post.