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.
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.
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.
608 Louden Road (Route 9)
Latham, NY 12110
Memorial Day thru Labor Day
Sunday - Thursday 12 - 9
Friday and Saturday 12 - 10
Saturday: Open at 12 Noon
Sunday: 12 Noon - 6 PM
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