Bayville transformed into Winter Wonderland
For the second year, Bayville Adventure Park will become a spectacular winter wonderland this holiday season, full of twinkling lights, special attractions, and, of course, a visit from that famous guy in the red suit.
"It's definitely for all ages," says Anne Finley, director of advertising and merchandising for Jekyll and Hyde Entertainment Group, which operates the park and several restaurants and bars in Manhattan.
Finley says she and her husband, D.R. Finley, the company's president, decided they wanted to create an old-fashioned fun holiday outing for families, where they can put their cares about the economy aside and embrace the joy and wonder of the season.
"You can have a good time with your family and not spend a fortune and enjoy the holidays together, which I think everybody needs to do now," she says. "The magic of Christmas still has to be around. That's why we felt strongly about doing this this year."
You can roam Santa's Toy Factory Funhouse with a pair of 3-D glasses, which will help bring all the different scenes inside to life. Kids can meet and greet Old St. Nick to share their wish list and have a photograph taken with the jolly old elf.
The pirate-themed miniature golf course has been transformed into a "Yo Ho Holiday Light Show," a walk-through animated display of lights that tells the story of a pirate's first Christmas.
At the opposite end of the park, visitors can don ice skates - their own, or loaners from the park - and take a spin with several holiday characters around the newly constructed outdoor ice rink.
Those who don't want to skate can sit nearby, sip hot chocolate and roast marshmallows over an outdoor wood-burning hearth.
Kiddies can jump aboard the Bayville Holiday Express Train, which circles the ice skating rink and makes a trip around the entire park. Adults can ride, too, Finley says, "but it's perfect for a 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-year-old. They'll love it."
For those wanting to escape the cold, the Arcade of Amusements will have an assortment of games, including skee ball, basketball shooting, air hockey, video games and an old-fashioned shooting gallery.
"We tried to do a mixture for little kids and also for the teenagers," Finley says.
For those feeling adventurous, a 28-foot-high rock-climbing wall has been erected next to the ice cream shop. Finley says an attendant will be on hand to harness climbers and help them get up the wall and back down.
If guests get hungry, they can sit inside the Beaches and Cream Soda Shop and Ice Cream Parlor, where the menu includes burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and homemade ice cream.
Bayville Winter Wonderland: 8 Bayville Ave., 516-628-TOYS, bayvillewinterwonderland.com
Hours: Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 3. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hours vary by day. Call or look online for the complete schedule.
Cost: $15 night (5 p.m.-Close), $12 day (Noon-5 p.m.); $6 for ice skating (includes rental); $6.75 for indoor rock climbing.