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Nunley’s Happyland Amusement Park – Bethpage, New York

Nunley’s Happyland Amusement Park was located in Bethpage, New York, on Long Island next to the busy Hempstead Turnpike, and near Levittown, New York, well known for its large-scale housing developments. The facility which was open year round also featured a sizable indoor area and was connected to Jolly Rodgers, a fast food restaurant. The rides featured at Happyland were similar to those that readers born in the forties, fifties, and sixties enjoyed in other parks around the US.

The two videos below, found via reader Mark Blake Rivers not only contain footage of most of the rides at Nunleys, but also many scenes with automobiles passing by on the busy Hempstead Turnpike in the background which are also quite enjoyable to view.

Tell us what you find of interest in both videos, and at the amusement parks you, may have visited when you were young.

19 responses to “Nunley’s Happyland Amusement Park – Bethpage, New York

  1. The only thing I saw when I opened this morning was Nutley’s……growing up on LI, we all knew of Nunley’s play land. I beleive I only went there once when I was a young boy.

  2. Lincoln Park near No. Dartmouth MA, Crescent Park Riverside RI, Rocky Point in Warwick RI and Cowboy Town near Foxboro MA where I won a Sheriff badge in the fast draw contest. There was a bumper sticker wired on when we left. All long gone.

    • Crescent Park! Thoughts of my youth. What a treat it was to be taken there.
      Rocky Point! Ah, I can smell those clam cakes and clam chowder. Oops, I mean clam chowda.

  3. Very nice videos with cars in the background !!

    In the 1st video, at 45 seconds is a four-door 1961 BUICK Special; at 50 seconds is a 1st generation, four-door, CHEVROLET Corvair; at 124 seconds is a 1961 CHEVROLET Corvair Lakewood station-wagon.

  4. Yeah, before the weight of the world dampened our childhood spirits. We had a similar park in Milwaukee called Fun Town. It was in a corner of the, then, massive,( to a kid) state of the art shopping mall, Capitol Court. I was pretty young, but remember the car rides, and the generator trailer with the 2 cycle Detroit grinding out the volts for the rides with a spaghetti bowl of wires all over. I believe they had one of those Crosley fire engines, and vaguely remember being picked up or riding on it at the park. Early on, I never cared for those rides. I was too concerned about the sometimes shoddy looking construction, and preferred to stay on the ground. Tilt-A-Whirl was about as wild as it got for me, even to this day.

    • The Milwaukee southwest area also had Muskego beach amusement park, all the rides. I think Mercedes Benz copied the design of the car rides.

      • Howard, Did Capitol Court also have the Kooky Cookie Factory? Capitol Court was huge destination for a large part of the metro area in the ’50’s-’60’s.

        John, I live a couple of miles east of where Muskego Beach/Dandelion Park was. I went there a couple of times in the early ’70’s then Marriott’s (now 6 Flags) Great America in Gurnee, IL became the last nail in Dandelion Park’s coffin. It didn’t take long to become a gated lakeshore condo development.

        • Hi Brian, yes, they did. Kooky Cookie House and featured Santa . Research shows, it was designed by Walter Kroening, in 1960 (along with “Candy Cane Lane”) then manager of Capitol Court. I still remember the jingle,” everyday there’s more to see, at fabulous Capitol Court, Capitol Court, Capitol Court”.

  5. Wow David, you hit my nostalgia button with this one.

    I glanced briefly at the post on a work break this morning
    and only saw the Nutley name. Everything else about the
    post made me think Jolly Rodger’s. I grew up in East Meadow,
    next to Levittown and my father took me there a lot.

    In car terms, it wasn’t far from Konner’s Chevrolet where I
    remember my first dealership visit (62). Dad made several
    repeat purchases there through the 70’s.

    Now at home I see I was right. I only knew it as Jolly Rodgers,
    never as Nutley’s. My brother or sister could have been in the 50’s video.

    Thanks for the memory sir !!!

    • I’m with you on that Rich.
      Nunley’s was on Sunrise Highway in Freeport, now a shopping center….who would have thought!
      Jolly Rogers which I believe was different from Nunleys was in Bethpage. I went to both many times as a kid and had a ball. The bumper cars at Jolly Rogers were a blast. As a very young kid I recall the train that would take us around the track at Nunleys as well as the very cool carousel ride inside where you could try and grab the brass ring.

  6. People out on the Island had it made back then.
    All we had back in the 60s was crapped out Coney Island or Playland in Times Sq.(Gross!)
    I’m still trying to recover.

  7. Reminds me of Beverly Park and Ponyland in LA, now taken up by the Beverly Center. This was a great little park, similar to those shown here, but the owner insisted in cleanliness and continual updating of the rides. But I will always remember the carousel, to me a real wonder and the best one I ever rode. I later found out that it was a 1916 C.W. Parker Carousel, that finally ended up in service on the Santa Monica Pier. A much better read of this park that inspired Walt Disney (he became good friends with the owner and used the park and the owner to refine ideas for Disneyland) can be found on the KCET site if you search for Beverly Park and Ponyland (where I finally graduated to the outer ring and ponies that actually ran!). Oh yeah, there was free parking!

  8. The cars appear similar to those manufactured by IHLE (Gebrüder Ihle Bruchsal) in Germany and were powered by Hirth 2-stroke engines. One model was a miniature copy of the Mercedes-Benz 190SL, another featured a Studebaker-like bullet nose.

  9. A Good observation by Tuckeroo! A Tonowanda New York Company, the Herschell Merry Go-Round ( Carousel ) Company manufactured Merry Go Rounds and also: running narrow gauge railroads and other smaller running vehicles for Amusement Parks and Attractions. Robert Beach was their Merry Go Round Salesman & installation Foreman.

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