Coney Island opens for the season this weekend

March 30, 2023

Photo courtesy of Luna Park

Coney Island’s beachfront amusement parks are opening for the 2023 season this weekend. Starting on March 31, Luna Park, home to the famous Cyclone rollercoaster, is hosting its traditional opening weekend ceremonies, which include the egg-cream christening and first ride of the Cyclone. To celebrate the iconic rollercoaster’s 96th birthday, the first 96 riders get a free ride and an egg cream. And Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park will celebrate its 103rd birthday with its annual “Blessing of the Rides” and free rides on its historic Ferris wheel on Sunday, April 2.

“We are thrilled to begin another season with Luna Park in Coney Island’s annual Donation Day and to support charities that are helping our community thrive including Operation H.O.O.D., the Coney Island Sharks Educations Sports Program, and Give Kids the World,” Alessandro Zamperla, president and CEO of Central Amusement International, said.

“It’s an honor to continue the incomparable Amusement legacy in Coney Island and as we continue to help preserve, revitalize, and provide an incredible family-oriented experience in NYC we are thankful for all our partnerships that contribute to this vibrant community and look forward to many more years of inspiring joy and wonder in New York City.”

As part of the opening celebration, Luna Park is hosting their annual Donation Day, donating proceeds to local community groups like Operation H.O.O.D., the Coney Island Sharks Educations Sports Program, and Give Kids the World, according to an official press release.

New Luna Park attractions include a family coaster, Tony’s Express, and a log flume ride, Leti’s Treasure, which reaches speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

Photo by Wabi Sabi on Unsplash

Deno’s Wonder Wheel will follow suit on Palm Sunday and open for its 103rd season with its annual “Blessing of the Rides” ceremony. Taking place on the boardwalk in front of the attraction, the start of the season will be commemorated with a ribbon-cutting, and the first 103 riders will get a free ride on the Wonder Wheel. During this year’s ceremony, nine-year-old New York state Inaugural poet laureate Kayden Hern will recite his poem “In My Mind.”

“We are excited to continue the legacy of our parents, Denos and Lula Vourderis by inviting the Coney Island children from the Salt & Sea Mission to enjoy the rides for free, our family tradition since 1985,” Dennis and Steve Vourderis, owners of Deno’s Wonder Wheel, said in a statement. “We look forward to a great 2023 season and creating many more WONDER-ful memories.”

Coney Island’s amusement parks will be open on weekends through Memorial Day. Starting on May 26, the attractions will be open seven days a week until the end of the season.


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