Once upon a time, in a land far far away (not really – its only a short drive into New Jersey!), there is a magical place called Storybook Land. And quite a story it is, the family run amusement park is based on nearly all of them. Welcome to Storybook Land – a whimsical amusement park based on Nursery Rhymes and Classic Children’s tales, located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. A short drive from the city – this fantasy of characters, rides, animals and roadside attraction-esque figures needs to be placed on your family’s must-visit list.
Behind the Story
For over 60 years, Storybook Land has been keeping the spirit of childhood alive in an entertaining and educational atmosphere. In 1955, John and Esther Fricano created their vision of entertaining children with storybook characters and rides. Mr. Fricano, a war veteran, father, and a house painter, was frustrated by the lack of activities for his young children, and decided to create an amusement park for them. He purchased five wooded acres and cleared much of the land by hand. He also created all the early attractions, while Esther decorated them. It started as a fairytale themed playground, and slowly grew into a tale of attractions, rides and more…
Today over 15 rides preside on 20 shady acres of Storybook Land. it remains a family business, as the next generation of Fricanos continue to keep Storybook Land a wonderful place for families to visit.
The Mother Of All Amusement Parks
Upon walking in you are greeted by the grand dame of them all – Mother Goose. And grand she is, at over 20 feet tall with enlarged namesake goose by her side, there’s no question who presides over this park. Be sure not to miss the large book throne for the perfect photo opp.
Mother Goose is only the beginning! Visiting is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: as you walk through the beautiful wooded grounds, you encounter characters from nursery rhymes and classic children’s tales. If you can name it, its represented here – either by show, ride or attraction; such as Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Jack & Jill with their hill, and Humpty Dumpty before he takes his spill. Nostalgia-inducing and wildly enchanting – this land of fantastical stories can easily put you under its spell.
The attention to detail throughout Storybook land in general, is incredible. Someone took great care to create the park and it shows. Every design element was thought about, meticulously created and chosen, and incredibly maintained. The level of detail makes these stories come alive and seem real.
Even more – the park is SPOTLESS. The rides, attractions, bathrooms, everything – Its shockingly clean! It is absolutely the cleanest amusement park I have ever seen by far.
What makes Storybook Land unique is the animated scenes that are speckled throughout the park. Perfect for those who are hearing the tale for the first time (our little guy) and also for those who need a refresher course (me) these mini theaters are quite amazing. You simply push a button and watch a puppet-style show (similar to that seen in the older days of Chuck E Cheese) where characters sing and dance with movement. Our little guy LOVED these attractions and we stopped at many of them throughout the park.
A few Fairytale highlights:
The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe. Such incredible craftsmanship – this walk-through shoe is much bigger than our NYC apartment!
The Three Little Pigs and their amazing homes: Brick, sticks and straw.
Moby Dick – walk all the way into the mouth for a fun surprise!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Billy Goats Gruff – where you can place food in the pail and the talented goats use their mouths to pull the food up to the platform
It isn’t all about the Queen Mother, Storybook Land also has the King of all Children’s Lore – Santa Claus. In an incredible, ornately decorated gingerbread house, kiddies and the young at heart alike can feel Christmassy all year around by peering into the windows to see Santa and his Elves. Further in the park you will find all of Santa’s Reindeer, the North Pole, and even some frosty friends. Tip – touch the North pole! Its actually ice. (How’d they do that?!)
Tick Tock Clock Drop
Storybook Land Rides
With 17 rides there’s no shortage of thrills at Storybook Land. No need for ride tickets here – the price of admission includes all activities and attractions. Adults are allowed on all rides, and can accompany the children if needed. The best part – even on the busiest days the waiting time is minimal – allowing for kids to ride multiple times in a row easily, and see many of the attractions in a single day.
The rides range from carousels and low thrill construction rides, to small roller-coasters and spinning creatures best for older toddlers. Storybook Seaport – a small spray ground, is open in the summer. A few of our favorites: Bubbles the Roller Coaster, Tick Top Clock Drop, Whirly-Bug Ferris Wheel, Alice’s Tea Time, and the Turtle Twirl (similar to that of a tilt-a-whirl). There are also flying elephants and dragons which are classic favorites. J&J Railroad and the Work Zone construction-themed rides are extremely gentle.
A few highlights:
Bubbles the Coaster
Whirly Bug Ride offers a great view of the park
The Out on a Limb swing ride
Work Zone Ride
Charming train ride around the park
Location: 6415 Black Horse Pike. Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234. Approximately 2 1/2 hours from Manhattan.
Admission: Discount rates available if purchase online, and children under 2 are free. The park is open seven days a week from May–August, with more limited hours in the spring and fall. Check the calendar for more.
Tips for your visit:
- Storybook Land is recommended for ages 10 and younger. Our 4 year old son loved it and was tall enough to enjoy all the rides (either alone or with an adult).
- Most rides require the child to be 36″ tall to ride alone. Check specific ride requirements here.
- Outside food IS allowed! There is ample space and tables in the pavilion to set up a family picnic.
- Storybook Land is made for families! Strollers are allowed and welcomed, and the park bathrooms have many family amenities.
- There are 4 dining options in the park; including the Dining Depot and The Gingerbread House Snack Bar (both serving a selection everything from hamburgers to hot dogs, fries, salads, combo meals), The Watering Can (serving water ice, funnel cake, and more) and Caboose Cafe (which sells candy and popcorn in a remodeled train car!!) See complete menus here.
- The seasonal spray-ground Storybook Seaport is small but great way to cool off from the summer fun. Bring an extra set of clothes for a quick change after.
- Birthdays celebrations here are epic – especially when celebrated under the large birthday cake pavilion. Info on birthday parties here.
- Storybook land celebrates many special events throughout the year! Be sure to check out their event page for details. We’ve also heard that Fall harvest and Christmas are pretty special here as well.