The beachside fun has returned to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and along with it a bit of nostalgia. Many locals have fond memories of the Midway Fun Center in its heyday. They didn't want the rides to leave in the first place, and are glad to once again see them return.
The old menagerie of amusement rides disappeared four years ago when the Fun Center was torn down to make way for a multimillion dollar beachside redevelopment project. However, the proposed condos, timeshares and chic restaurants never got past the drawing board after the real estate market took a plunge. So, whether it was chance or fate or simply a spat of good luck, the people got what they really wanted this time. The got their seaside fun back.
While there is still some construction going on, the project is taking shape and is open for business. Earlier this month, small circles of kiddie rides joined the Ferris wheel, Slingshot, Hurricane and Tilt-O-Whirl; and, go-carts could start racing as soon as next week. A state permit is pending for a roller coaster simulator; and, if the attractions’ owners have their way, more rides and attractions will be coming.
The Boardwalk is open seven days a week. The rides, which cost between $3 and $5 per person, are open from early afternoon to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. In addition to the rides, there are an abundance of gift shops full of souvenir t-shirts, beach towels and gift items. A must stop is Zeno’s Sweet Shop, home of the world’s most famous saltwater taffy, which also has great homemade ice cream and fudge. Also, if you’re looking for something more than a snack, you can grab pizza by the slice or pie at Boardwalk Pizza, sit under an umbrella on the Boardwalk and enjoy watching the surf on the beach and the people go by.
Those seeking a substantial meal, will want to try the Cruisin’ Café, where you eat in a race car and every table in the restaurant is dedicated to a Daytona 500 race winner. It is just a a block away on the southwest corner of A1A and Main Street.
The adjacent Daytona Beach Pier reopened in June 2012 after being closed for renovations. No one denies that the 745-foot-long, 85-year-old structure needed some work, but everyone was beginning to ask, “What is taking so long?” What is clear is that this is was one extreme multi-million dollar makeover took what seemed like forever. Where is ABC’s Extreme Makeover’s team when you really need them? They'd have it done in a week! The pier's anchor, Joe's Crab Shack is back. The completely renovated restaurant is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. >Photos from Orlando Sentinel
The Daytona Beach Pier is located at 1200 Main Street and the Boardwalk amusements are located just north along the Boardwalk. Access to the Daytona Beach Pier and Boardwalk is off Hwy A1A and Main Street. Limited two-hour free parallel parking is available on Main Street and limited metered on-street parking is available on Ocean Avenue (quarters needed). Also, there is a parking lot on Ocean Avenue offering unlimited parking for $8 day.