Day Trip to The Land of Make Believe

By Joanne Colella

The dog days of summer will soon be dwindling down, and many of us – especially the young and young-at-heart — hate to see this season come to a close. A great way to pretend that September is not just around the corner is with a day trip to the Land of Make Believe, nestled in the foothills of the Jenny Jump Mountains in the historic town of Hope, New Jersey!

Now celebrating its 60th anniversary year, the award-winning Land of Make Believe and Pirate’s Cove has been offering interactive family fun for visitors from throughout the tri-state area since it first opened in 1954. Specifically designed for parent participation with their children, the amusement and water park facility prides itself on the safe and wholesome atmosphere it provides, with exciting rides, shows, attractions, games, water activities, and a picnic area, all covering a total of more than 30 acres in a bucolic, wooded setting.

A diverse selection of popular amusements awaits, including a brand new Ferris Wheel, Thriller Roller Coaster, Jump Around Frog, Rockin’ Tug, Tilt-a-Whirl, Tornado, Civil War Locomotive, Red Baron Airplane Ride, Magic Dragon, Dixie Car, Middle-Earth Theater, Grand Carousel, Sidewinder, T-Rex, and many more. Don’t forget to say hi to the Talking Scarecrow, visit the Haunted Halloween House and the Enchanted Christmas Village, pet the live animals at Old McDonald’s Farm, or try your skills in the arcade. Beat the August heat on the top-rated Black Hole Waterslide, Blackbeard’s Action River Ride, Pirate’s Cannonball, Pirate’s Plunge, Blackbeard’s Pirate Fort, the Buccaneer Pirate Ship, Pirate’s Peak, and Pirate’s Cover Wading Pool and slides.

Many of the rides and attractions are geared for children age eight years and under, although lots of newer thrill rides have been added in recent years that older kids and adults can enjoy without being too extreme for the little ones. Of course, there’s also a gift shop and refreshments, with nine food areas serving up such tasty traditional favorites as burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and nuggets, cheese fries, pizza, nachos, fudge, cotton candy, caramel corn, milkshakes, Sno-Cones, waffles, and ice cream sandwiches.

The Land of Make Believe offers free parking, free picnic area access (no grills or cooking permitted), and free water park entry with paid admission to the main park. It’s open each year only on weekends from Memorial Day through the third weekend in June, and then seven days a week through Labor Day, plus the following weekend. The hours of operation all season long are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. And the cost for all this family fun? Just $25 for adults, $27 for children ages two to 18, $23 for seniors age 62 and up, and free for children under 24 months. The low pay-one-price admission includes all rides, shows, attractions, family picnic grove, parking, and the Pirate’s Cove Water Park. It’s important to note that payment is accepted by cash or Discover Card only.

The Land of Make Believe is located in northwest New Jersey at 354 Great Meadows Road/Route 611 in Hope; 60 miles west of New York City, and 10 miles east of the Delaware River, just two miles off Route 80 at exit 12. Want to find out more? Call (908) 459-9000 or visit And take some time to make believe just a little bit longer.