An amusement park on the Ocean City boardwalk in New Jersey reopened Saturday, two months after a fire left part of the park in ruins.
- Well, the sights and sounds of summer are slowly returning to the Ocean City Boardwalk as a popular landmark reopens following a devastating fire. Playland's Castaway Cove welcomed guests for the first time today since that massive blaze back in January. Action News reporter Beccah Hendrickson went down to the shore where people were excited to get back on the rides.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: The day of the fire, the park said it would reopen in the spring. Still, management tells me it didn't think it would happen this quickly. And they couldn't ask for a better first day.
Over the tracks and through the crowds, screams from roller coasters almost drown out the demolition project underway at Playland's Castaway Cove.
BRIAN HARTLEY: Once people saw the fire, they assumed and thought that we were closed for the season and we weren't going to be open. So our biggest goal was to try to get open.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: The January fire burned down the arcade, office building, and one of the electrical rooms. Because of that, some rides like the Ferris wheel and bumper cars will be closed for about another month. About two thirds of the park is open for business on weekends through the spring.
EVELYN REYES: I've been coming here forever. So to see that-- but it's going to rebuild, and it's going to be even better.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: Thousands of people came back for the first day, which also looks different because of the pandemic. Capacity is at 50%, guests have to wear masks, and workers are constantly sanitizing rides.
EVELYN REYES: A great way to kick off the summer, spring after COVID-- being locked up for almost a year. It's just nice getting out.
KORY KRAFT: I think it's great. The kids love it. And it's good to get back outside.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: These families say it's worth it.
- Roller coasters.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: Why's that?
- Because they're fast.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: Seven-year-old Sophia was fearless on the thrill rides, much braver than me on the Hurricane.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: All the fun aside, some guests say they do miss the park's iconic landmark.
JEFF FUIMAN: Sad to see them without the pirate ship. But they'll rebuild and they'll be looking great.
BECCAH HENDRICKSON: As for the famous pirate ship, the park says it will have to be demolished this summer. But they do plan to rebuild it in time for the 2022 season. In Ocean City, Beccah Hendrickson. Channel six Action News.