Located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Bowcraft Amusement Park is a family-friendly amusement park offering a variety of high, mild, and family thrill rides. The history of Bowcraft Amusement Park dates back to the 1946 opening of a ski slope and archery attraction opened by skiing enthusiast Ted Miller.
The park, called Bowcraft Park, also offered an on-site ski equipment store. In the 1980s, the attraction was expanded to offer a miniature golf course and rebranded as a family entertainment center. A variety of thrill and midway rides were subsequently added to the park as part of a major expansion during the late 20th century. The park was featured in several feature films throughout the 1990s, including 1991’s Mortal Thoughts, which featured park attractions on its theatrical release poster, and 1994’s North. In 2016, the park’s property was purchased by a local real estate developer and was slate for closure and demolition to make way for the development of a 190-unit apartment complex and townhouse site. Following a local city council hearing, negotiations were put into place to maintain park operations despite the planned nearby development, and the park opened for its 2017 season as intended with no plans for imminent closure.
Rides and Attractions
Today, Bowcraft Amusement Park is operated as a family-friendly amusement park, offering more than 20 high, mild, and family thrill rides for visitors of all ages. The park is located along United States Route 22 West in the city of Scotch Plains and is open from May through October, with limited park operations before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Individual ride tickets are sold, as well as unlimited-ride Fun Passes that allow access to all of the park’s attractions for the day.
A variety of high, mild, and family thrill rides are offered at the park, with a focus on classic midway rides and family-friendly attractions. The park’s largest attraction is its Crossbow steel coaster, which offers high thrills for riders over 42 inches. A miniature Dragon Coaster is also offered, along with a Drop Zone drop tower and Galleon pirate ship ride. Classic midway rides include a Barnstormer, Paratroopers, a Scrambler, a Swinger wave swing ride, a Balloon Ride, a Musik Express, and a Tilt-a-Whirl. Bumper Cars are also offered, along with a classic-car Speedway ride, a Super Slide, and a Train Express classic train ride.
As the park emphasizes its atmosphere as a family-friendly attraction, a large children’s ride section is offered. Children’s rides include a Frog Hopper bounce tower, which offers mild up-and-down thrills. A children’s Merry-Go-Round is also offered, along with miniature circular rides such as Helicopters, Big Trucks, a Motorcycle Jump, and Kiddie Boats.
In addition to amusement rides, a variety of park attractions are offered, including a full Arcade facility featuring more than 50 skill, sport, and other redemption games. Games include arcade classics such as skeeball and Whac-A-Mole, along with modern video and action games. Tickets from arcade games may be redeemed at the park’s redemption center for prizes such as plush toys and candy. Classic fair games such as ring toss, water races, and basketball throws are also offered along the park’s Midway, offering redemption prizes such as large plush toys. Fair food and standard American fare are offered at the park’s three food locations, including hot dogs, pizza, and funnel cakes.
As the park is a family amusement park, a dress code requires visitors to wear shirts and shoes at all times and to refrain from the use of profanity, obscene gestures, and illegal substances. Bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, and radios are prohibited, and pets and picnic coolers are not allowed within the park. Park visitor services include a first aid station, lost and found area, and ATM facility.
Ongoing Programs and Events
In addition to standard visitor admission, season passes and park gift cards are available for sale within the park’s arcade or via telephone. Group admission rates and reservations are available, including catered meals and private rentals for school, scouting, business, and community groups. Fundraisers for schools and nonprofit groups may be hosted at the park, offering discounted rates for attendees. Birthday party packages are also offered for young visitors wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the park, offering pizza, use of private picnic tables, and access to park rides and attractions. A Fun Club newsletter offers special insider deals, including Bowcraft Bucks, which may be redeemed for play and prizes within the park’s arcade. Annual public special events at the park include an Easter egg hunt, Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July Blitz events, and a Summer Nite special which allows pre-admission the evening before full-day ticket purchases.
2545 US-22, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, Phone: 908-389-1234