By Logan Dubel
From the sand and surf to coastal food and activities, Ocean City truly has it all. Although a typical trip consists of relaxation by the sea, sometimes a visit is not complete without a little action. For nearly six decades, Jolly Roger has provided families with endless excitement across its various attractions.
Although there are shortages of most things these days, activities at Jolly Roger are certainly not one of them.
First started in 1964 by local entrepreneur Buddy Jenkins, the park initially opened as a putting course and driving range. Jenkins worked in collaboration with golf icon Arnold Palmer to open the amusement hub. However, Jolly Roger would quickly grow with the addition of more than 15 rides over the next few years. By 1970, Splash Mountain opened, and Speedworld followed soon after in 1976, and the expansion has never stopped. Jolly Roger consistently seeks ways to evolve as the demand from tourists only increases.
“We work to provide family-friendly fun throughout Ocean City in a nostalgic way,” said Dawn Dillon, Director of Sales and Marketing. “From smelling the cotton candy to riding the roller coasters, the activities we offer are timeless and span across generations. Coming out of the pandemic, we’re thrilled to bring back fun activities and see smiling faces once again.”
The excitement continues with rides along both of Jolly Roger’s iconic Giant Ferris Wheels, offering visitors an aerial view of the bustling resort town.
Looking for more excitement? Jolly Roger also offers a free circus and pirate theatre at 30th Street. Additionally, construction has kicked off on a brand-new family track at Speedworld, which will open sometime in the next year. Finally, are you searching for the largest water park in Maryland? Look no further than Splash Mountain.
Still, the park is far more than a business. It is a true titan of the community. Jolly Roger always gives back and engages in philanthropic efforts. In 2017, the staff launched Christmas in July, an annual effort in coordination with the Marine Corps Reserve, serving underprivileged children on the shore. The event acts as a local agent for the well-known Toys for Tots organization. Patrons donate unwrapped toys and receive a 20% discount on Jolly Roger passes in exchange. Plus, the park staff takes part in various local festivities and even won the Ocean City Christmas Parade. It’s not just a summer amusement park but rather a year-round community partner.
While many of the health concerns of the pandemic’s early stages have faded, one major problem still looms – finding enough staff to keep the amusement park open daily and providing top-notch service. The seasonal worker shortage is not a problem unique to Jolly Roger but continues to challenge the park team. Jolly Roger is hiring and currently accepting online applications.
“We are looking forward to a great summer. We have so many groups booking trips to return to Jolly Roger, which is very exciting. I’m also very excited to see our team return to work as well as our returning customers,” Dillon added. “Plus, we’re crossing our fingers that it is warm enough to open up Splash Mountain in time for Memorial Day weekend. Seeing the rides like the Carousel and the Zipper that have been here forever return and come alive is so thrilling.”
Jolly Roger looks forward to welcoming you back to Ocean City as the summer arrives in just a few weeks. Visit jollyrogerpark.com for more information.