Excitement builds as Playland in Fresno gets ready to open

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After shutting it's doors for nearly a year and a half Playland is expected to open back up this spring. (KFSN)

After shutting it's doors for nearly a year and a half Playland is expected to open back up this spring thanks to major community donations, and, the popularity of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo's Safari Exhibit.

Board members for the parks tell Action News since it's opening six months ago Storyland has seen record attendance numbers. They attribute a lot of that to not only the zoo's expansion across the street but also to their own refurbishing efforts. Now, they're looking for the same success for Playland.

Playland is getting a major makeover. New paint and soon new asphalt-- and workers are testing out some of the rides. After meeting their half-million dollar fundraising goal officials reopened Storyland six months ago to record attendance during what is normally slow time for them. "In that time, Storyland has had about 30,000 folks go through the turnstiles," said Bruce Batti, Vice Chair of Storyland and Playland Board

Now, Playland is next. Showing off two large donation checks-- Storyland-Playland board members and members of the community came together to announce Playland's reopening, and the donations they still need to get them there. Officials will be doing some much-needed maintenance on attractions at Playland to make sure it's ready to open in a couple months.

The low-cost amusement park for young children will also have a new appearance. Rotary of Fresno is revamping the park's entrance. "It'll be an area for people to picnic, to gather. It'll be absolutely beautiful-- as you can see it'll cost a little over $100,000 and we have most of that raised," said Hal Bolen, Rotary of Fresno.

Officials are also bringing in a new ride that provides some nostalgia for those who used to frequent Playland when it first opened-- a teacup ride. "Unlike the old one, it's going to be handicap accessible and it's really going to be something we'll be proud of," said Scott Miller, Storyland Playland Board.

The train ride will also feature life-size dinosaurs and the sounds of dinosaur roars. One favorite won't be making a comeback, though-- the boat rides.

Community members are excited about Playland's future, saying the success of the zoo's new safari exhibit is being spread across the street. Plans are also being discussed to offer one admission ticket for the Zoo, Storyland, and Playland. "We are currently talking about a way to create a park hopper for all three parks-- it's in its infant stages," said Batti.

Officials are still hoping to raise $300,000 to invest in the park. They stress this is not for Playland's bottom line, only for improvements. They've developed a new business model so that it sustains itself just on ticket sales.

Playland is expected to open to the public on April 22nd.

Related Topics:
societyFresno Chaffee Zooamusement parkfresnoFresno
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