Kid’s World. It has a nice generic ring to it, doesn’t it?
All Those Amusement Parks…
I thought I’d heard of all the known amusement parks in the Delaware Valley and Jersey shore regions. I even worked for one (Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Beach Haven, NJ).
However, when you grow up hearing about/watching a steady stream of commercials for Six Flags Great Adventure, Dorney Park, Hershey Park, Sesame Place, and the infamous Action (Traction) Park, it is easy to miss the smaller amusement parks.
Uploaded by WeirdNJTV
Admit it, we watched these commercials just to see if someone ate it or broke their neck in the background. Half the fun of Action Park wasn’t actually going, but also learning about their spectacularly infamous history.
There are amusement parks (some local to my area), that I have never heard of, but no longer exist. For instance, a “castle” haunted house in one of the shore communities off Atlantic City, a whole Dinosaur-themed pier in the famous Wildwoods (that didn’t last long), and a park in Long Branch that I only heard of when I spotted two commercials on an old tape.
Previously, On Allison’s Written Words…
Last week, I spotted a commercial for an amusement park in Long Branch, NJ called Kid’s World. Aside from the obvious belief that the name was a tad generic, I’d never heard of this place.
Naturally, it became Throwback Thursday on my blog!
Lo and behold, I was looking through the tape for my Flashback Friday commercial (it wound up being about Slip n’ Slide), and I found I missed out on a second commercial for the same amusement park.
This park, my friends, is Kid’s World, and it was a victim of circumstance.
In 1985, Pat Cicalese and his business partner, Carmen Ricci, re-themed the pier, pool, waterslide, and Bumper Boats on the Ocean Avenue Long Branch Pier. They purchased the pier six years earlier (and leased it the year prior to that), and called it Kid’s World.
Their inspiration came from Langhorne, PA’s more famous amusement park, Sesame Place.
Kid’s World: It’s a Do-Be!
See what I did there!
Oh, wait, a bee.
Kid’s World was a child/family-friendly amusement park that not only had a rides, but a Romper Room-themed area. Sesame Place had Big Bird and all his friends, and Kid’s World…had Mr. Do-Be. Who may or may not have stolen souls.
It also had all this!
And also in live action!
But seriously, this was the best part!
“Honey, get the kids in the car! They have SHADOW PUPPETS!!!!”
While Kid’s World had water slides and kid-friendly stuff, it also had a Haunted Mansion right there for the adults. Not exactly their target audience, don’t ya think?
Uploaded by clarkkent1367
Also not wanted? Doobies that aren’t Do-Be’s! (How could I make that plural?)
Unfortunately, fate had other plans for Kid’s World, and didn’t involve Shadow Puppets or Mr. Do-Be.
The Fire…And The End
On the afternoon of June 8, 1987, a fire broke out at the McDonald’s on the pier, sparing only the water attractions across the street. Couple that with slowing business, and Kid’s World closed for good at the end of the season.
Both videos uploaded by Ted M
The story only gets more depressing, as Cicalese’s plans to rebuild the pier were dashed by insurance that didn’t cover the cost, and Long Branch Township’s unwillingness to fund a rebuilding, resulting in Kid’s World’s abandonment until the pier and water park were demolished in 2001 and 2002, respectively.
But From Those Ashes And Abandonment…
For that depressing story, there actually is a happy one!
Pier Village (opened in 2005) was built on the former site of Kid’s World, and is a mixed-use community of 100,000 square feet of 536 rental residences, retail space, a grassy area for events, shops, restaurants, a salon, and a gym.
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share one more VERY important thing!
The commercial for the other Kid’s world commercial I found on my tape…taped from WNYW in June 1987!
Wow, back when Monmouth County had “201” numbers.
And there you have it, one of those lesser-known amusement parks (because of its lack of longevity), and the mixed-use community that succeeded its charred remains.
Not every sad defunct amusement park has a sad ending, folks.
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords) and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.