Hoffman's Playland

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WARNING: Seeing this sign makes kids go a little nuts.

By Dawn Padfield

Remember the little amusement parks you went to as a kid? Not the giant, spend the whole day, super roller coaster, Great Escape variety. The little places with the kind of strange carney-like atmosphere where you could drop into for an hour or two, buy a roll of tickets and ride the Ferris wheel, or the choo-choo.

Well -- welcome to Hoffman's Playland.

Where the clowns are slightly creepy, the rides a little dated, but the kids are happy.

Hoffman's is kind of a throw back to 1952. That's when this permanent kiddie amusement park in Latham was built. But surprise -- these places are still fun for kids. They're also a bit nostalgic for parents.

I checked Hoffman's out with my two little ones this week. They loved the rides. I liked the old fashioned kitschiness of the place. Things like garbage cans shaped like clown heads, a water fountain nestled in the gaping jaws of a fiberglass hippo, and the odd Humpty Dumpty statue add to the whimsy and weirdness.

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Weird clown.jpg

Most of the rides have been there since the opening more than 50 years ago, which might give you pause. But they all seemed to be in perfect working condition and they're probably safer than traveling carnival rides that are taken down and put back to together on a weekly basis. (At least that is what I kept telling myself.) They've got 19 different rides, including a carousel, hot air balloon ride, boats, helicopters and a little train that circles the property.

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Ferris Wheel.jpg

It's a pay-as-you-go park so there's no entrance fee. Single tickets are $1.50 and the 25 tickets 'best value' is $25.95. The 14 kiddie rides are 1 ticket each and the 5 major rides are 2 tickets. If your child is very young, you can ride on with them but be prepared to fork over another ticket.

If you're going on Mother's Day or Father's Day, parents can ride free. And if your child gets a good report card, bring it with you -- they have special report card promotions.They also offer birthday party packages.

There are plenty of pavilions and picnic tables, and you're welcome to bring in lunch, a nice change from the big parks that don't allow you to bring your own food. There's also a carnival stand that serves fair food favs like curly fries, pizza, and fried dough, and the Subway on the premises.

Find It

Hoffman's Playland
608 Louden Road (Route 9)
Latham, NY 12110

Memorial Day thru Labor Day
Sunday - Thursday 12 - 9
Friday and Saturday 12 - 10

September
Saturday: Open at 12 Noon
Sunday: 12 Noon - 6 PM

Comments

Hoffman's Playland is a treasured childhood memory. I can clearly remember many trips there with my mom - she would buy me tickets for the A's and B's I got on my elementary school report cards, but was easily persuaded at the end of the evening to buy just a couple more. The bumper cars were fast, the 'parachute ride' was scary, and of of course who can forget "driving" around the cars on the little track they had. I hope the park continues to the day when I can take my own kids.

I loved that place when I was a kid, except for the clowns. Clowns scare me.

No mention of the great indoor glow-in-dark mini-golf at Hoffman's Playland ? :)
It's fun (in a weird way). Some grainy photos here.

That rickety roller-coaster, while approximately the size of 2 slip-and-slides, is the scariest. thing. ever. Even as a fearless child I noticed that it was held together by paper-clips and bubble-yum. My friend Mary called it the "little whipper-snapper"

the scrambler is always always fun.

@-S So you've been to the magical glow in the dark indoor mini golf?I was going to include it in the article, but when I asked the guy behind the counter, he was adamant that they were not associated with Hoffman's (even though they are right on top of each other).

Great pics, by the way. It should be pointed out, that right next to Hoffman's, there is a huge castle themed mini golf course (in addition to the glow in the dark one), ice cream stand, driving range, AND carwash. One stop shopping.

I grew up in Latham, so Hoffman's was a frequent visit. In a year or two when my 6 month old can appreciate it, we're going!

This place has been in our families history for as long as I can remember. We went every season when we were kids and loved it then. Today, we're all a little bit older and don't go on the rides as much, but still love to go back there for memories, an ice cream, and maybe a ride on the train or bumper cars.

The employees are trained extremely well, and I have noticed over the years that the bad eggs don't last. I always remember seeing the man in the train station with the German Shepherd. I think he's the owner. Always pleasant and friendly, asking if we were having a good time.

Thanks Hoffmans!

I remember going to Hoffman's when one of the rides was TANKS! - and when there were no bumper cars or roller coaster. This was a LONG time ago! Then I took my own child - I was always impressed how the children at Hoffman's would wait so patiently for their turn to get on the ride! Dont tell the dailyplanet poster but I used to buy a book of tickets (in addition to the ones Hoffman's gave out for good grades). I'd put half of them away and when the half we were using ran out - it was time to go home. (what the poster didnt know is those extra tickets really werent extra !) Tee Hee and I cant wait to go on a third generation outing to Hoffman's!

i have searched numerous web sites related to hoffman's playland.....all i wanted to know was the entrance fee price. adult and child under 5 years old

Linda, there is no entrance fee for Hoffman's. You buy tickets for rides. The more you buy, the cheaper they are each.

My 7 year old daughter and I go every Friday night after wandering around the car show next door. It is wonderful that the Albany area has this historical place. The rides are wonderful, the people that work there are great, the memories that are created are even better. The ice cream is some of the best in the area. We usually get one big book of tickets and split it between multiple weeks, another great feature if you don't use them all at once, is that they can be used throughout the year. Starting in July they are open till 10 pm.

Oh, does this bring back memories! I used to love going out to Hoffman's in the late 70s through early 80s. I had so much fun on the rides...especially the little boats that went around and around in a circular tank filled with water. It was fun to ride them and ring the bells. My aunt was surprisingly good at skee-ball (last time I played that was a few years ago on a surreal trip to Seattle) and the miniature golf-course was a strange fantasy-land to me. I also loved the expensive dolls in the gift shop where Subway is now.

Going to Hoffmans when I was young was such a treat. Enjoyed the excitement of going as much as the rides themselves. Bringing my daughter there when she was young brought back so many fun memories for myself and new ones for her. I so hope that Hoffmans remains for a long time so others can enjoy fun family times at a local venue with reasonable prices.

My memories of Hoffman's are of the indoor roller-skating rink where I learned to skate at 3 or 4 in the mid 1950's. What happened to that - was it converted into the indoor mini-golf? and when?

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