Last week, I took my three kids to the Land of Make Believe & Pirate's Cove. This amusement and water park is "designed for parent participation with children," and it really was a great family outing. In addition to a small amusement park with rides, there is a train, carousel, petting zoo, outdoor theater with periodic live shows, as well as a water park with slides and a lazy river.
We decided to take our trip at the last minute, so we went without the usual advance planning I would usually put into a big day out, especially as I would be on my own with three kids ages 1, 5, and 7 (yes, I think I deserve a medal). I am happy to report that we had a great time. Here are a few things you'll want to know before making a trip to the Land of Make Believe:
- The drive isn't bad (and that's a lot coming from me—I hate driving), about an hour from many parts of New Jersey.
- It was easy to find, especially if you put this address into the GPS: 354 Great Meadows Road, Route 611, Hope, NJ.
- Parking is free, and easy to navigate—you're directed by parking lot personnel to take the next available spot.
- No credit cards allowed except for Discover. So bring cash, or a Discover card.
- Tickets are $25 for adults, $27 for kids (ages 2–18), and $23 for senior citizens. Kids under 2 are free, but can only go on certain rides—I took the free option for my son, since I knew we would be spending most of the time at the water park, which is included. The free ticket also allows rides on the train and carousel, so he was more than happy with his options. However, if I was visiting the park and only bringing an under- 2-year-old I would suggest getting the all-access ticket, as there are a lot of age appropriate rides a paid ticket-holding toddler could enjoy.
- Dining at the park is fine, and it's not ridiculously expensive. We had two hot dogs, two hamburgers, one milk, one soda, and two waters for less than $20.
- There's plenty of ice cream, which also does not cost a fortune. We got four cones for about $15.
- Make sure you bring your bathing suits, adults included. Staff will not let you into the water area with street clothes, and this rule appeared to be strictly enforced.
- Have a plan for your valuables. I left mine in the stroller in the stroller parking area, but that is clearly not the most foolproof plan.
- Leave time for the petting zoo. It's really a great experience for the kids and could easily be overlooked with the more flashy attractions.
- Have fun! It's loud and crowded, and your kids may be screaming, but it's a day at the amusement park. My kids are still thanking me for taking them, and for that I am, of course, very grateful.