Pleasure Island was an amusement park located in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The park, billed as the "Disneyland of the Northeast",[1][2] was in business from 1959 to 1969. During its short existence it went through several owners[1] and was financially handicapped by New England's relatively short summers.[1]

Today, the land formerly occupied by the park is now Edgewater Office Park.


Pleasure Island was founded by William Hawkes, publisher of Child Life magazine,[3] and designed by Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood,[4] a designer of Disneyland and Lake Havasu City[4].

Covering 80 acres (320,000 m2),[3] the park featured a plethora of rides and other attractions, including the Space Rocket ride, the Pirate Ride, the Moby-Dick ride (which featured a spouting mechanical whale rising from the depths), the Wreck of the Hesperus (dark ride), the Old Chisholm Trail (dark ride), theme restaurants, a shopping area, an arcade, mini-golf (from 1967), a carousel, Monkey Island, and many others.[5]

Actors would stage mock gunfights in the Western City or threaten to attack riders on the boat rides.[3] The park's Old Smokey Railroad Line was a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railroad using equipment leased from the Edaville Railroad.

Another park feature was the Show Bowl, where performers such as Ricky Nelson, Michael Landon, The Modernaires, the Three Stooges, Clayton Moore, Don Ameche, and Cesar Romero appeared.[1][6][7][8]

Product placement and branding played a part in some attractions, such as the Grist Mill which featured Pepperidge Farm products[3] and the Pepsi-Cola Diamond Lil Theater. Its cartoon character mascot for a time was Popeye.[9]

The #5 steam locomotive that used to serve at Pleasure Island is still up and running today and can be found at the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum, located in Alna, Maine. It has been rechristened the #10.[4]



  • Animal Land
  • Barn & Slide
  • Burro Trail
  • Camera Shop
  • Carousel
  • Chisolm Trail
  • Chowder House
  • Christmas Wonderland
  • Country Store
  • Covered Wagon
  • Dagett Chocolate Company's "Handspun" Shop
  • Engine City
  • Friend's Baked Beanery
  • Front Gate
  • Goldpan Gulch & Gold Panning Operation
  • Golf (18 hole mini-golf installed 1967)
  • Helicopter Ride
  • Heritage Museum
  • Hood's Gay Nineties Ice Cream Parlor
  • Horseless Carriage Ride originally "Jenney"
  • Indian Village
  • Kartland
  • Lighthouse
  • MagicLand: Crooked House - Slanted Shanty - Magnetic House - Captain's House
  • Moby Dick Ride
  • Merchants National Bank
  • Monkey Island
  • Pavilion
  • Pepperidge Farm Bakery
  • Picnic Area
  • Kaptain Kidd's Pirate Cove
  • Pirate Ride
  • Quannapowitt Publishers Print Shop
  • Old Smokey Railroad Line
  • Railroad Station (former Greenwood Depot)
  • Roundabout
  • Saloon, originally Pepsi-Cola's Diamond Lil Show
  • Shooting Gallery
  • Shopping Lane
  • Showbowl
  • Space Rocket
  • Stagecoach Ride
  • Swift and Company's great meat market
  • Treasure Digging Island
  • United Nations Theatre
  • Water Buffalo Land & Sea Ride
  • Western City
  • Wreck of the Hesperus

Pop culture

Certain scenes from the film Charly were filmed at Pleasure Island.[4]

The ride "Wreck of the Hesperus" followed the theme from the poem The Wreck of the Hesperus written by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

See also


External links