Playland increases hours for summertime fun in Vancouver

Amusement park welcomes more than one million guests each year

Playland is offering its stomach-churning rides seven days a week for the summer.

The amusement park, located next to the PNE on East Hastings near Trans Canada Highway, has increased its hours to cater to students on vacation, its largest demographic for the summer.

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While Playland hasnt added any new rides this summer, it remains a popular destination for thrill seekers across the Lower Mainland.

Its classic wooden rollercoaster is still the most popular attraction. The coaster, built in 1958, has seen thousands of riders but is still running strong. Although it may look and feel rickety, it adds to the perceived danger riders enjoy. The coaster is always going to be the number one ride. It doesnt matter what time during the year, said Playland rides manager Adem Hamzagic.

Park-goer Karina Sullivan said she rode the wooden coaster as a child and brought her daughter to Playland to experience it for the first time. The big attraction for me is that [wooden] rollercoaster. I remember going on it lots as a kid and so its kind of fun to introduce my daughter to it, too, she said.

Last year, Playland introduced its newest and tallest ride, the Atmosfear. At 215 feet high and spinning at speeds over 70 kilometres and hour, the ride earns its name.

With more than a million guests visiting Playland a year, and several thousand visitors per day, there can often be long lineups, but Hamzagic said that there are so many rides the waits are usually minimal, even when the park is full. He said the size of the crowds each day depends on the weather. If we had California weather, wed probably see close to 3,000 people here, he said.

The Flume, a log ride with a 40-foot drop down a water slide at the end, is a popular choice for guests. Its lower height restriction than the larger rides and photos for sale make it one of the top attractions for families with small children.

The centre of the park is dedicated to younger visitors and features smaller, less frightening attractions such as bumper cars and a Merry-Go-Round.

The haunted house at the centre of Playland provides a small sample of the terror that brings guests in for Fright Nights every October, when the whole park adopts a Halloween theme.

While some patrons may feel unsafe on the fear-inducing rides, Hamzagic said all 150 of the parks employees undergo safety training.

Day passes cost $29.95 for patrons over 48 inches tall and junior passes are available for $19.95. Parking is available for $10.

A pass to the park allows unlimited access to all the rides, with the exception of the Drop Zone, an attraction where riders free-fall 100 feet and swing from a cable, and the Revelation, which spins users 160 feet in the air.

Playland is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. The park is only open on weekends in September and closes at the end of that month, and reopens for two weeks in October.

Twitter: @w_d_mcdonald

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