Parents, children, even politicians eager for Pullen Park revival
Posted September 15, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh's landmark Pullen Park, the fifth-oldest operating amusement park in the nation, has been closed to visitors for almost two years. But on Nov. 19, the sounds of concrete trucks will be replaced by carousel music once again.
The $6.3 million project included updates to old attractions and modern additions.
There are new boats on the lake, the updated version of a childhood memory special to Raleigh City Councilman Russ Stephenson.
"The boats would just go round and round and round," he said. "You got to steer, and there was a string to a big bell on the front of the boat, so you got to make a big racket," he remembered.
The horses that ring the 100-year-old antique carousel were each sent away for a new paint job and new tails. Next week, they will be installed in a new, climate-controlled carousel house.
"if a grandparent brings their grandchild out to Pullen Park to say, 'This is my favorite animal. This is what I rode and it looks just like it did when I was a kid,' that's important," said Richard Costello, amusements director at the park.
"I think we all had those great memories, and we wanted to make sure those memories were preserved," Stephenson said.
The children's train will get new cars, and they will run on a new track. It will travel through a new tunnel and pull in to a revamped station.
At the playground, a climbing wall, spider webs and water and sand areas are new, as are misters to keep children cool on hot days.
Sarig Agasi, owner and chef at Raleigh restaurant Zely & Ritz, will run concessions in a new cafe featuring local, organic fare.
The project was funded by a bond approved by voters in 2003. On the day of the grand reopening, amusements will open at 10 a.m., the park will be dedicated at 2 p.m. and entertainment will follow at 3 p.m.