The original “Luna Park” on Coney Island was a massive spectacle of rides, ornate towers and buildings covered in 250,000 electric lights. The park opened in 1903, and was destroyed 41 years later in 1944 by a massive fire that destroyed much of the park. This photo tour shows what Luna Park looked like in its heyday.
Entrance to Luna Park
This picture of Luna park was taken between 1903 – 1906. Luna Park was one of the three original iconic large parks built on Coney Island, the other two being Steeplechase Park and Dreamland.
Elephants Marching Through the Promenade
Elephant’s marching through Luna Park’s promenade, 1903. If you look closely you can see two sets of steps where they would load guests onto the elephants for rides around the park.
Luna Park’s Promenade
The view looking toward the entrance from inside Luna Park. There is a booth selling “Parisian Ice Cream Cones” and a restaurant called the “Table D’Hote Dinner”, where a meal cost only 50 cents in 1910. The heart shaped sign in the distance calls Luna Park, “The Heart of Coney Island”.
Luna Park’s Babbling Brook
Here you can see guests watching a ride called “The Gondolas of Venice”, where guests would take a ride around the parks “Babbling Brook” in a Venetian styled gondola.
Coney Island Camels
Two young girls riding a camel through Coney Island’s Luna Park in 1905.
Riding the Elephant
A family of four rides an elephant through Coney Island’s Luna Park in 1905.
Luna Park’s, “The Teaser”
A young boy watches people riding “The Teaser”, an early version of the spinning teacups that are popular at today’s amusement parks. This picture was taken on June 13, 1911.
The Old Mill at Luna Park
The Old Mill was a “Tunnel of Love” ride in Coney Island’s Luna Park. This picture was taken in 1905.
Guests waiting in line for a ride at Coney Island’s Luna park in 1910.
The Tickler at Luna Park
The tickler was an early rollercoaster at Luna Park. Guests would sit in a circular “tub” and ride along a track. This picture of the attraction was taken in 1910.
Coney Island’s Ponies
Young children riding around Luna Park on ponies from the newest attraction at the time, The Coney Park Zoo. Picture from 1904.
The Goat Carriages
Another feature of Luna Parks Zoo was these goat carriages. Very similar to the horse carriages in Central Park, except with goats! Picture from 1904. In the background there is a brewery with a sign that says they brew “high grade ales and porters”.
Luna Park’s Aerial Swing
Picture from 1910.
Whirl of the Whirl at Luna Park
Whirl of the Whirl was an early “swing” ride, where multiple riders would entire a ship that would then be raised and swung around in circles. This picture shows the ride in 1905.
The Helter Skelter
This picture shows Luna Park’s “Helter Skelter” ride in 1905. The Helter Skelter was a wildly popular, adults-only giant slide at Luna Park.
Japanese Tea Gardens at Luna Park
The park’s architectural style was an Oriental theme, and the park was home to Japanese Tea Gardens and a Japanese Village.
Luna Park’s Bridge of Laughs
The bridge of laughs was a prank bridge that would shake and startle visitors as they walked over it. This picture shows the bridge as it looked in 1910.
Shoot the Chutes
Chute the Chutes was one of the most popular rides in Luna Park. The ride consisted of a flat bottomed boat that would speed down a ramp and then fly freely into an open lagoon. The bottom of the ramp curved upwards, causing the boat to skip across the water until it came to a stop. The boat was then guided to a landing by a boatman on board.
Wire Walkers Above the Chute Boat
Here you can see a chute boat skipping across the water as tight rope walkers entertain the crowd above.
Luna Park’s Loop the Loop
Loop the Loop was a dual-tracked steel roller coaster which operated from 1901 to 1910. The coaster was one of the first looping roller coasters in North America. The sign in front of the coaster says “Beware! Of Pickpockets”
Luna Park’s Open Air Circus
In 1905, two circus rings were suspended over the central lagoon to keep customers entertained between rides.
The Electric Tower
At the center of the park in the middle of a lake was the 200 foot tall Electric Tower that was decorated with twenty thousand incandescent lamps, a smaller version of the Electric Tower that was the crowning feature of the Pan-American Exposition two years earlier.
The Electric Tower at Night
Calling itself as “The heart of Coney Island,” Luna Park turned on its lights and opened its gates to a crowd of 60,000 spectators precisely at 8:05pm on May 16, 1903, coinciding with the timing of sunset on that Saturday night
Night at Luna Park
At night all the domes, spires and towers were lit with over 250,000 electric lights.
The Dragon’s Gorge
We end our tour of Coney Island’s Luna Park was this image of The Dragon’s Gorge. This ride was a scenic railroad trip through the mythical land of the dragons. Where there are dragons, there is fire, and this particular ride had a malfunction in 1944 that caused the entire ride, and eventually much of the park to catch on fire. The fire led to the closing of the park two years later.
A new “Luna Park” opened on Coney Island in 2010, and is home to the legendary Cyclone Rollercoaster. This new iteration of Luna Park was named after the original, but is in a different location and has none of the original rides.
If you enjoyed this tour of Coney Island’s Luna Park, we would greatly appreciate it if you shared it with your friends by pressing one of the buttons below.
Thank you for visiting!