Coney Island premieres 2016 season

Whether visitors are looking for some sun and fun, or mystery and history, they’ll find it in Coney Island, opening this weekend.

“Coney Island is the quintessential New York summer destination,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger. “Between the beautiful beach and Boardwalk, thrilling rides, our beloved Nathan’s Famous, crowd-pleasing events like the Hot Dog Eating competition or the Mermaid Parade, the visuals of the Aquarium, the celebration of our national pastime with the Brooklyn Cyclones, a deluge of delectable eateries, and so much more, Coney Island has something for everyone.”

On March 20, the annual Blessing of the Rides will occur at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, where there will be free rides for the first 96 people in line for the historic ferris wheel. The first 100 people in line for the Cyclone will also get a free ride, as Luna Park also reopens for the season, with the ceremonial egg cream christening of the historic ride.

“For generations, Coney Island has been a destination for recreation, where families from Brooklyn and beyond visit to enjoy carnival games, amusement rides, the Boardwalk and the beach,” said Borough President Eric Adams, who will be on hand. “I am excited to join the Alliance for Coney Island in celebrating the season opening of this unique institution that has become an international symbol of Brooklyn at play.”

Of course, the amusement parks are just the beginning. In addition, the Coney Island History Project, 3059 West 12th Street, will open its doors on March 20, remaining open from 1 to 7 p.m. weekends and holidays Memorial Day through Labor Day. The exhibition gives visitors a window into the region’s history and also hosts walking tours throughout the year on weekends at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance.

The Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Avenue, serves as a home to temporary galleries, as well as permanent creative works and historical artifacts. The museum has housed the world’s largest 3D-printed art installation as created by artist and Coney Islander Fred Kahl, a 1:13 scale model of Luna Park as it existed 100 years ago. The project also includes 3-D scans of hundreds of Coney Island visitors and residents, Museum hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day run Wednesday-Saturday,12 to 7 p.m., and 2 to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, children under 12 and residents of zip code 11224.

On another front, Coney Island will welcome the opening of its long-awaited 5,000 seat amphitheater this summer within what was formerly Childs Restaurant. The amphitheater is planned for a July, 2016 opening, and events will be coordinated by entertainment company Live Nation.

As always, MCU Park will continue to host the Cyclones through the summer season. The team will face the Staten Island Yankees at 7 p.m. on June 17 during the team’s home opener. Among other events, the stadium will host a Full House Tribute night on July 9 filled with fun and activities in recognition of the beloved television sitcom, which aired from 1987 to 1995.

Not to be left out, the New York Aquarium is running full speed ahead this summer, with the expansion of its shark exhibit expected to open sometime in 2016, quadrupling the amount of sharks the location will house.

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