In 1965, construction was completed on Ocean Playland Amusement Park on 65th street bayside on a large peninsula-type lot that protruded out into the bay at a price tag of over $2 million. The park was only 860 feet long and 375 feet wide and sat behind a 1000-car parking lot off of Coastal Highway. The park, which officially opened for its first day of business on June 18, 1965, was developed by Jim Caine, Oscar Carey, and George Chandler and was built to offer amusements to those staying in uptown Ocean City. Ocean Playland was managed by Jack Morningstar who was the boss of over 100 employees during the summer and managed over 40 of the park’s major attractions. The park, labeled by the media as “Delmarva’s Million Dollar Playground,” became an immediate success in north Ocean City, which at the time was extremely underdeveloped and sparse. Ocean Playland operated as a concessionaire park, meaning businessmen and women would come from all over to set up their equipment and pay a percentage of their earnings to the park as a concession.

Unlike many of its competitors, Ocean Playland offered free admission and a pay-one-price riding system so customers could enjoy a plethora of unique attractions including a complete monorail, a full wooden coaster called the Hurricane, a miniature golf course, and dozens of amusement attractions of all types and for all ages. One of the most significant attractions in Ocean Playland was Ghost Ship, a dark ride built by Bill Tracy who at the time worked under a company entitled Universal Design Limited. Although the park closed in 1981, this attraction would live on in Ocean City for decades to come thanks to a high bid and a vision from Granville Trimper. Granville was able to purchase the ride’s contents, including the cars and track, for a later expansion of The Haunted House.
Above Top: Aerial view of Ocean Playland from October of 1965.
Bottom Left: Façade of Ghost Ship in the late 1970s.
Bottom Right: Construction photo of actual skull and ship used on Ghost Ship's façade.
Ghost Ship was a unique dark ride, offering patrons a very random nautical-themed ride experience. The façade towered above the midway and included a giant skull with crab legs which glared down at passers-by. Other props such as a ship and seaweed cutouts could also be seen on the second-story balcony. Unlike many other dark ride attractions of the era, Ghost Ship’s façade was very impressive and had an enormous amount of detail. Giant letters spelled out the ride’s name just below the balcony railing. A nearly identical façade was built in 1967 by Tracy for a Ghost Ship dark ride at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, PA. Although containing different stunts, it was a very similar ride that unfortunately was lost to a fire in 1975.

Above Left: Front view of Ghost Ship's façade in 1981.
Above Right: Close up view of Tracy's Skull.
Center: 1970s view of Ghost Ship façade.
Bottom: View of Ghost Ship with Trimper's trailer in front ready to load up stunts for removal.
If the façade wasn’t enough to make you fall overboard, the lobby area was just as incredible. Bill Tracy’s murals of underwater scenery covered the walls preparing riders for their trip into the abyss.

Although Ghost Ship lived a short life of only 16 years, the two-story building was built out of cinderblock to withstand the harsh Atlantic storms.

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