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Amusement Parks: Bowcraft Amusement Park – a Potted History

Related: Blackbeard's Cave / Space Farms Zoo and Museum / Storybook Land / Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Bowcraft Amusement Park, often referred to as 'Bowcraft Playland' is an amusement park located in Scotch Plains on Route 22 West in New Jersey.

The idea for the amusement park dates back to 1940 when an archery and skiing enthusiast named Ted Miller opened a small store dedicated to providing similar enthusiasts with archery and skiing equipment, much of which he made himself. However, World War 2 put his lifelong passion on hold temporarily when he was sent to serve with the U.S. forces in Europe. 

Nevertheless, it was whilst he was stationed overseas that he became even more determined to expand his business upon his return and upon and in 1946 he bought some land and opened up a new store, complete with ski slope and archery store and called it Bowcraft Park. 

Over subsequent years the sporting aspect of the amusement park tapered off due to fierce competition and cultural changes in leisure pursuits and when the Markes family bought the amusement park they added more traditional and familiar amusement park attractions to it.

In 1998 and with the amusement park becoming a great attraction for younger children and teens alike, a 12, 000 foot birthday park area was built and it got its first roller coaster, the Dragon. Three even larger rides were added to the amusement park in 2000 – the Crazy Sub, the Convoy and the Barnstormer. The amusement park’s latest attraction is its Crossbow Rollercoaster and it is a great family day out with over 30 rides.

Up until 2007, the amusement park operated a ‘pay as you ride’ policy but in keeping with many other successful amusement parks of today, it now has a ‘pay once’ admission policy.

One interesting bit of movie trivia about the amusement park is that it was the setting for the conclusion of the film ‘Mortal Thoughts’ in 1991 and is featured on the film poster.

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