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Meadow Island is a theme park located in Carlstadt, New Jersey. The park is owned by Cedar Fair and first opened on May 3, 1975. The park was owned by Taft/New Line Parks from 1975 to 1992 and Paramount Pictures from 1992 to 2005. In 2006, Cedar Fair bought the park. The name given to the park is derived from the region where the park is situated, the Meadowlands, and the name of its sister park, Kings Island.
It is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, alongside MetLife Stadium, which is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets of the National Football League; Meadowlands Racetrack, one of the more famous harness racing circuits in the sport and home of the annual Hambletonian Stakes; the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, which is the Giants' practice facility; the under-construction American Dream Meadowlands entertainment venue and the now-closed Izod Center, which served as a home for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League, Seton Hall University's men's basketball team, and the team the arena was built for, the now-Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association. It is the only component of the Meadowlands Sports Complex to be located within Carlstadt, as the other portions are in neighboring East Rutherford.
Early history under Taft, Bilsonessy and New Line (1972-83)Edit
Following the success of Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati, Family Leisure Centers (a partnership formed between Taft Broadcasting Company and Top Value Enterprises) decided to expand into two new regions of the country by opening two new parks. FLC chose to partner with Bilsonessy Productions and the fledgling New Line Network to operate one of these parks. A site for this particular jointly-owned park was chosen in Carlstadt, New Jersey, west of New York City, the largest city in the United States, and construction began on October 1, 1972. The new park was designed with Kings Island in mind as the blueprint using similar themes, rides, and activities.
Meadow Island officially opened on May 3, 1975, the same day as sister park Kings Dominion, offering twenty attractions including the Beast, the Lion Country Safari Monorail, Galaxie, and a junior wooden roller coaster known as Scooby Doo. Also present at the opening was a log flume, steam train, a collection of flat rides; attractions including new characters from Bilsonessy's popular project, Mixels, that were never before known to exist to the public prior to the park's opening; and a cable-car sky ride that transported visitors between Old-Time Manhattan and The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera. In addition, Meadow Island's 1/3-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower and the International Street Fountain greet visitors near the main entrance to the park in addition to contributing to the vast New York skyline. Original themed areas included The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera, International Street, Lion Country Safari, Old-Time Manhattan, and Kings Square. Daily admission price in 1975 was $7.50, and a dollar for parking.
Meadow Island added their fourth roller coaster, a Schwarzkopf shuttle loop known as the King Kobra, in 1977. The King Kobra featured a 50-ton counter weight drop launch and was the park's first launched roller coaster. It was in the park for nine seasons.
A campground was completed in time for the 1978 season and the park's well-known Swampopolis, based upon the then-new Andre Alligator franchise debuted in 1979. Originally, Swampopolis featured three rides: a flume ride called Voyage to Swampopolis, a children's attraction mine ride known as Byron's Hideout, and a rotor called Flippn' with Simon. Meadow Island later expanded Old-Time Manhattan with the addition of the park's third wooden roller coaster, the Beastie, in 1982 and a river rapids ride called Hudson Canyon in 1983.
Growth under KECO/NL management (1983-92)Edit
Paramount era (1993-2006)Edit
Cedar Fair era (2007-present)Edit
- The Beast
- The Beastie
- The Bat
- Son of Beast
- Sky Hawk
- Woodstock's Whirlybirds
Meadow Island is accessible via Exit 16W on the western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike and is also located adjacent to Route 120. Coach USA provides bus service between the park and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Meadowlands Rail Line operates only on days when the park is open and on sporting event days between the newly constructed Meadowlands Station, which is connected to Meadow Island via shuttle bus, and Hoboken Terminal via Secaucus Junction, where there is connecting service to Pennsylvania Station (New York City), Pennsylvania Station (Newark), and other New Jersey Transit rail operations. The line opened to the public on July 26, 2009.