Land Of Make Believe: Where Everyone Is A Kid Again


Riding on a roller coaster has been on my kids’ bucket list, and we finally got to check it off when we made it to the Land of Make Believe in Hope Township. This former dairy farm transformed into an amusement park in 1954 (celebrating its 70th anniversary this summer) and has over 30 acres of affordable fun with plenty of kid-friendly roller coasters perfect for my little coaster enthusiasts. Plus, we all loved that we could cool off at the themed Pirate’s Cove waterpark within the park. It was an easy day trip, and the best part was many rides and activities had very short lines so that we could do everything at the park for plenty of memorable family fun. Scroll down for more on our day there, and check out our where to go for family-friendly waterparks in NJ and other NJ amusement parks to get your thrills out this summer, too. (feature photo credit: NJ MOM)

Land of Make Believe, Land of Make Believe NJ, Land of Make Believe in New Jersey

There’s something for everyone at the Land of Make Believe. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Amusement for the whole family at Land of Make Believe

My kids made a beeline for the rides as soon as we entered The Land of Make Believe park. We started on the classics like the carousel, Ferris Wheel (known as the “Wishing Wheel”), and the Tilt-A-Whirl. Then there are adorable kiddie rides—the first stop was the Magic Dragon, where you can control how high or low you want to go. The next was the Jump Around Frog, which hops and makes cute frog noises as it moves, and the Red Baron, where we felt like real pilots. We upped the action factor on the Tornado, a fun spinning ride, and then a simulated boat ride on the stormy seas on the Rockin’ Tug. Finally, the main event was the Thriller Roller Coaster, which had thrills and spills—just the right amount of coaster for us. My kids also loved the Spinning Coaster and the Drop & Twist (which gave us great aerial views of the park). And for the adventurous, don’t miss the Scream Machine 360, which spins, twists, and even turns you upside down.

Land of Make Believe in New Jersey waterparkl

Littles can play in the wading area, and the big kids will have plenty of water slides to cool them down. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Argh! Take a pirate water adventure

Shiver me, timbers! We were thrilled to learn that pirate-themed waterpark admission is included with the amusement park tickets at the Land of Make Believe, and we made sure to bring our suits. After the rides, we changed (there are lockers to store your stuff), and since it was so hot during our visit, the waterpark was a welcome oasis to cool off. The kids loved Blackbeard’s Pirate Ship and Blackbeard’s River, where they rode a tube through waves, rapids, and waterfalls. While we hung out in the Pirate’s Cove Wading Pool (America’s largest wading pool), I spotted brave participants over at Blackbeard’s Pirate Fort, where they were getting a 1,000 gallon of water dumped on their heads and then going down the slides at Pirate’s Escape and Pirate’s Revenge.

Land of Make Believe NJ Santa's Barn

It’s always Christmas at Santa’s Barn at the Land of Make Believe. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Celebrate Christmas in July

No trip to the Land of Make Believe is complete without some Christmas cheer, so we headed to Santa’s Barn to hear what he’s been up to in his summer North Pole home. After hanging with the big guy and checking out the sleigh status at Santa’s Aviation Shop, we stopped for a break at Mama Santa’s Pizza and Rudolph’s Ice Cream Parlor. The kids ran around the Candy Cane Forest, which was full of life-size colorful candy canes, and enjoyed the maze—a great place to get some energy out.

cow at The Land of Make Believe in New Jersey

Old MacDonald’s farm has several animals, but my kids loved the cow the most. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Visit Old MacDonald’s farm

In a nod to Land of Make Believe’s dairy farm roots, there’s an adorable barn with domestic farm animals in the middle of the park. We enjoyed taking a break from the rides and water park to visit the animals and relax in shaded areas away from the sun. Plus, it’s a good place for younger kids to hang out if older siblings go on rides. There were quite a few animals to see on the farm, but my kids said they loved the cow the most.

WWII cockpit

Inside the cockpit of the Douglas DC-3, also known as the C-47, Dakota, and Gooney Bird. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Step back in time

Besides the amusement rides, Land of Make Believe has a lot of history. The Douglas DC-3 was first produced in 1935 and revolutionized air transport in the ’30s and ’40s. It was considered one of the most significant transport aircraft ever built because of its impact on the airline industry and its service in WWII. This was a favorite spot for us because my son could climb into the cockpit, and we were fascinated to hear its story and how Land of Make Believe acquired it. Continuing the history theme, we rode on the 1863 CP Huntington Civil War Train, built in Paterson, NJ. The train takes a trip through a tunnel and all around the park. We also saw you can ride on the Off-Road Safari Adventure to see the Wild West of the 1700s, though we ran out of time. Another activity everyone thought looked fun was mining for gems and fossils at the Land of Make Believe Mining Company. We vowed to come back and try these next time.

waterpark pirate ship

Cool down at the waterpark after visiting the amusement park. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

What to know before you go

Opening day for Land of Make Believe is May 25, 2024. They are open only on weekends and then daily, from June 15 to September 2. The hours are 10 AM-6 PM, with the water park closing at 5:30 PM and the amusement rides closing at 5:45 PM. We found it easy to do the entire park in a day, giving you plenty of time at the water park. There are height requirements for some rides, and kids under 3 are limited to certain rides, such as the carousel, train, and water park. Daily tickets are $45 (kids under 24 months are free) at the gate and include all the attractions and the waterpark. Buy tickets online for a discount. Keep in mind there are no refunds or rain checks, and all sales are final. While we packed a few snacks, you can bring food for a picnic or purchase refreshments at the park. There are shows, lockers, games, a gift shop, and free parking.

Land of Make Believe
354 Rt 611
Hope, NJ 07844

Visit the Land of Make Believe website, Facebook, or Instagram.

Have you been to the Land of Make Believe in New Jersey? 

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.