Front entrance of “Enchanted Forest of the Adirondacks” Old Forge, NY early 1960’s. Image © Collection of Joe Geronimo.
Today I bring you another piece of our history here in America, however more importantly right here in New York. Enchanted Forest of the Adirondacks was opened on July 7th 1956 in Old Forge by A. Richard Cohen, a hardware store owner and commissioner for the Adirondack Authority in charge of the development of ski centres on Whiteface and Gore mountains. When opened, it had 35 employees and encompassed 35 acres of swampland. Admission was $1 for adults and 25¢ for children. Over time, the park expanded in size to its present 60 acres.
The design for the park, incorporating a large circus tent and a series of houses with themes from children’s nursery rhymes and fairy tales, was based upon research by Cohen’s daughter and wife, whom he sent to several amusement parks across the country to study how they worked. Concept watercolor paintings for the park were done by Russell Patterson, who also worked on the designs of the several individual fairy tale houses in the park.
The only mechanical ride at the park in 1956 was a train, the Enchanted Forest Express, that traveled around the park. However, this changed during the 1960s when rides were introduced to the park.
In 1977, Cohen sold the park to the Noonan family. In 1988, the park’s name was changed to Enchanted Forest Water Safari, as a result of the popularity of the Wild Waters Water Park (two 350-foot waterslides) that had been added in 1984.
Today’s Enchanted Forest Water Safari & Calypso’s Coves includes 32 heated water rides, including Curse of the Silverback, Killermanjaro, The Shadow, Black River and Rondaxe Run. The park features two circus shows, a petting zoo, an Enchanted Forest Water Safari museum and multiple video game arcades and side show games throughout the park. Adjoining the park is the Calypso’s Cove which includes an arcade, go-carts, children’s go-carts, rock climbing, mini-golf, batting cages, bumper boats and a zip line.