Midway State Park on Chautauqua Lake
Midway State park was originally a privately owned amusement park, founded in 1898. Located on Lake Chautauqua in Bemus Point, NY, the park offers several rides and activities for families with young children. This nostalgic park is currently raising funds to renovate the original Herschell Carousel and the “hippodrome,” a roller skating rink on the premises.
The park is currently the 16th oldest operating amusement park in the United States, and hit the height of its popularity in the 1920s. Visitors would come to swim, roller skate, dance, and ride the "Jack Rabbit" roller coaster (no longer at the park). The majority of the "kiddie" rides were added in the 1950s, and are manufactured by Herschell. The park was sold by the Walsh family to the State of New York in 2007.
As there is no parking fee or admission cost, families are able to pay for the attractions they wish to experience by purchasing tickets for use on each ride. Wristbands are also available to allow unlimited rides throughout the day. Hordes of school-aged children descend on Midway Park, NY in mid to late June, as the park is a common field trip location. Families visiting the park are well advised to avoid visiting on weekdays at the end of the school year (the school year in NY State runs until the end of June).
The park features a beach, arcade games, rides geared to younger children, and a miniature golf course. Season passes are also available.
Midway Park: Cost of Admission
Midway Park, NY Prices
Single tickets cost $1.25
An $8 “value pack” of tickets may be purchased (contains 8 tickets).
A $15 “Ride O Rama” wristband may be purchased from Wednesday through Sunday. The wristband is valid from 12:00pm – 7:00pm, and does not include Go Karts, the bumper boats, or the “water wars” slingshot game.
A $20 “Splash O Rama” wristband may be purchased from Wednesday through Sunday. The wristband is valid from 12:00pm – 7:00pm, and includes everything but the Go Karts.
Refunds will not be made for any reason.
Midway State Park Location
Midway Park, NY Operating Hours
Midway Park, NY is open seasonally, from Memorial Day weekend – Labor Day weekend. The rides and arcade only operate on the weekends from Memorial Day through mid June. The park is open seven days per week, but the hours of operation vary. The park may also be closed due to weather conditions. To verify operating hours, contact the park office at (716) 386-3165.
Midway State Park, NY: Rides
There are several rides at Midway State Park: the majority of the rides cater to very young children. There are many rides which have maximum height requirements. Ride height requirements are often not posted, so be sure to ask the ride operator what the height limits are (both minimum and maximum) before standing in line.
Midway Park Tilt-A-Whirl
This classic spinning ride relies on gravity to spin the individual ride cars on a circular track. Children must be at least 36” to ride with an adult, and approximately 42” to ride alone. The Tilt A Whirl spins at a high velocity, and parents should seat smaller children toward the center of the ride. Very young or timid children may be frightened by the speed generated during each revolution of the ride car.
Midway Park Dragon Roller Coaster
This roller coaster is built for children, but has more speed than the Jr. Roller Coaster. Children must be at least 36” to ride with an adult, and approximately 42” to ride alone.
Midway Park Jr. Roller Coaster
A scaled down roller coaster built for little tykes, this yellow coaster goes over small hills on an elliptical track. Children must be 36” to ride, but may ride without an adult.
The Jr. Roller Coaster is a wonderful first coaster for young children. It offers a slight thrill, but is not too scary for preschoolers. If the children shout, "one more time!" the ride operator will often send the ride vehicle through another ride around the track. This is also a good "test" ride to see if children are ready to ride faster attractions, such as the Tilt A Whirl and Pirate Ship.
Midway Park Fun Slide
Children and adults can slide down the giant Fun Slide with the aid of burlap bags. Children must be at least 36” tall to ride with an adult, and 42” tall to ride alone.
Adults may ride with children seated in front of them: be sure to tuck the child's feet into the pocket at the end of the burlap sack to prevent little feet from getting caught on the slide.
Midway Park Boats
For very young children, boats rotate around a circular moat filled with water. Older children and adults may not ride.The Midway Park boats have bells in front of each seating compartment: children love to ring them as they go around the circle! Children older than five may be bored by this ride.
Midway Park, NY: Helicopters
For very young children, the helicopters “fly” in a circular track. Children may raise and lower their helicopter by pushing on the safety bar over their lap. Younger children should be placed toward the inside of this ride, since the bar leaves a gap when it is pushed out to raise the helicopter skyward. Adults may not ride.
Midway State Park Cars
Tiny cars navigate a track in an enclosed area. Each ride vehicle seats two children, and each seat has a steering wheel. This ride is suitable for the youngest children. On crowded days, this ride may have a long line, as only three or four cars operate at any one time. Adults may not ride.
Midway Park, NY Bumper Boats
The bumper boats are not included with a standard admission package, but are included with the “Splash O Rama” wristband. There is a minimum height requirement of 48” to ride.
Midway State Park: Paddle Boats
This ride has a very narrow height requirement: children must be over 36” tall, but less than 48” tall to ride. These boats are not on a track, and children turn the paddle wheels to move the boat through the water in a small pool. Due to maximum height requirements, adults may not ride.
Midway State Park Bumper Cars
A traditional bumper car ride. There are height requirements posted on the outside of this ride
Midway Park "Crack-the-Whip"
Ride vehicles spin while going around a circular track. This ride is for young children only (adults may not ride), and has a thrill factor for adventurous children.
Seat heavier children toward the outside of the ride, because the "whipping" motion places most of the weight on the outside passenger.
Miniature Golf at Midway Park, NY
Included in the basic admission package (the Ride O Rama wristband), the miniature golf course is a favorite of preschoolers.
Midway State Park: Tubs O' Fun
Similar in style to other spinning “teacup” rides, children turn a central wheel to spin the tub. There is a maximum height requirement for this ride. The speed of the ride is controlled by the children spinning the wheel, so very young children can make the ride go slow or fast.
Midway State Park Train
Children and adults may ride the train, though the seating area is very tiny for adult legs! This ride travels the perimeter of the entire ride park, so parents should be sure their children will remain seated throughout the ride. A ride operator rides on the rear of the train as an additional safety measure. There is no height requirement for this ride.
Midway State Park Rock Climbing Wall
The rock climbing wall is included with the standard "Ride O Rama" wristband. There is no height requirement, but children must weigh over 40 pounds to scale the wall. Participants must weigh enough to come down from the top after climbing: climbers who do not weigh enough will be left dangling in mid-air at the top. Ride operators do not have a scale, so it is up to the parents of children to verify the weight of the climber.
Midway Park Pirate Ship
A "pirate ship" is lifted in vertical circles, so that riders feel a dropping sensation as each revolution is completed. The ride starts out going backwards, then shifts to forward circles. Children must be at least 48" to ride alone, though children over 36" tall may ride with an adult.
Midway State Park Rockets
Children sit back-to-back in rockets and fly in a circular pattern. Each ride vehicle holds two children: lines may get long on busy days. The rockets have "guns" posted at each end, so that children may pretend to shoot aliens as they fly in circles. Adults may not ride.
Midway Park Water Wars
A slingshot game which launches water balloons at an opponent. This is not included with the standard admission package, but is included with the “Splash O Rama” wristband.
Midway Park Herschell Carousel
A historic carousel located across the parking lot from the other rides. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the ride. Built in 1946, the carousel features 30 horses and was refurbished in 1996. Adults may ride alongside small children to ensure their safety.
Midway Park Go Karts
The Go Karts are not included in any admission package and rides must be purchased separately. Minimum age and height requirements apply.
Food Options at Midway State Park, New York
Midway State Park offers quick-service lunch foods (hot dogs and hamburgers). In addition, there are beautiful picnic pavilions available. The picnic pavilions costs $40 - $175 (depending on the day and the party size).
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on October 22, 2011:
He really loved it - it is a bit too expensive for the available rides with the regular rates, but it is well worth the $7.50 ride pass with the group rate. A lot of our local elementary schools go here in June for picnics and end-of-year celebrations. My son's Pre-K graduation was held on the day I took pics - it was a lot of fun!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2011:
I can tell that your son and his friends had a great time. It looks like the Midway State Park is a great family friendly place...especially for the smaller folks and smiling adults accompanying them. Thanks for the info and photos. Up and useful!
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on August 02, 2011:
Midway Park is a fun little amusement park! It is pretty costly for the size, but it is the only ride park in Chautauqua County. It is also small enough for little kids - the pictures are from my older son's pre-K field trip!
Audrey Kirchner from Washington on August 02, 2011:
How fun that looks~! Great photos!