Canobie Lake Park, one of New Hampshire's best-known destinations, reopened on Thursday, July 16, for the first time this season after the coronavirus shutdowns. It was originally slated to open on May 2.
The 65-acre park, located in Salem, offers over 85 attractions and has been ranked as one of the top amusement parks in the country by Money Magazine. It has been in operation for over a century, first opening as a trolley park back in 1902.
"It's awesome. I love it," said Alivia Marcello who was celebrating her ninth birthday Thursday at the park.
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Here's what you need to know about Thursday's reopening:
What's different for 2020?
Well, for one thing, you need to make a reservation in advance, as there is a 25% capacity limit. Park hours are limited to 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day. Dates for August reservations are not yet available, and information about the fall will be released in August.
The park is asking patrons to watch its safety video first:
After watching the video, you can make a reservation for the date of your choice. Once you've done that, you're clear to buy tickets. No same day passes will be sold on site, so make sure to buy them ahead of time.
What attractions are open & closed?
Attractions that are now open include the Alpine Swings, Antique Cars, The Autobahn, The Boats, The Boston Tea Party, The Canobie 500, The Canobie Express, The Canobie Corkscrew, Castaway Island, DaVinci's Dream, The Fire Engines, Flower Power, Giant Sky Wheel, Helicopters, Ice Jet, The Jeeps, Jump Around, Junior Sportscars, Kiddie Canoes, Kiddie Carousel, Log Flume, Mini Dinos, Pirate Ship, Pony Carts, Sea/Land Rescue, Skater, Sky Fighter, Sky Ride, Tanks, Twist and Shout, Untamed, Venetian Carousel, Wipeout and Yankee Cannonball.
Attractions opening at a later date include the Jungle Bounce, Star Blaster, Zero Gravity, Boston Harbor Patrol, Dragon Coaster, Over the Rainbow, Caterpillar, Mine of Lost Souls, Psychodrome, Turkish Twist, Blue Heron, Carousel, Crazy Cups, Roosters, Wave Blaster, Xtreme Frisbee, The Dodgems and Mini Skooters.
Castaway Island, Canobie's water park, is open but will have a lower than normal capacity. That could mean extended wait times or entry might not be possible at all in some cases.
All live entertainment, costumed character meet and greets and the Canobie Club cashless payment bracelet program are not currently available. There will also be no fireworks displays for the start of the season.
Face coverings are required
All guests over the age of 3 will be required to wear face coverings during their visit. The only permitted exceptions are while on rides, while consuming food and beverages and when in a marked "Mask Free Rest Area" where social distancing will be enforced.
Anyone who doesn't want to or is unable to wear a face covering is asked to postpone their visit until a time when the face covering restrictions are no longer required.
Temperature checks & other precautions
Temperature checks and COVID-19 health screening questions will be administered prior to entry.
The park has also set up hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility, including at all attractions. Social distancing will be enforced throughout the park, including in queue lines, at food stands, etc. Social distancing will also be enforced at all attractions, which may mean not all attractions will be full.
"We've really adjusted everything to make sure we create a safe outdoor environment," explained Canobie Brand Manager Chris Nicoli.
Despite the financial hit the park has taken opening about two months late and having fewer people every day due to the capacity limit, Nicoli says they will survive.
With the rides now running, many families Thursday said they were happy to finally find a new sense of normalcy.
"It's called freedom," said Rhode Island resident Anthony Santangelo. "Freedom. That's what it feels like."