ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The one and only place to ride a roller coaster in Albuquerque this summer is gearing up for its 2023 season. Cliff’s Amusement Park is set to reopen on May 6.

With the opening less than a month away, the park is still in what General Manager Justin Hays calls ‘construction mode.'”Right now, we’re finishing up projects that we had going in the wintertime and getting it cleaned up,” Hays said. One new addition to the park in 2023 will be going in the Kiddyland area – a kid-sized drop ride.

Workers prepare for Cliff’s Amusement Park’s upcoming season | Photo by Scott Brown

Cliff’s Amusement Park opened in 1959 at a location on Lomas but by 1964, the park had moved to its current location at Osuna and San Mateo. “Out here, in those days, there wasn’t much,” Hays said. “San Mateo wasn’t much, just a two-lane road that went to Santa Fe. The park was mainly dirt and we had maybe eight or seven rides.”

Now, the park boasts 23 rides and the Watermania area on the north end of the park. Hays said the hope is to add more water attractions in the future.

He said since the pandemic, the employee has changed. Prior to 2020, he saw more than half of the workers be returning employees. “After the pandemic…that’s changed a lot. We have a lot less [sic] returners coming back, so a lot of new faces. More than what was the norm,” Hays said.

Cliff’s would end up being closed for 18 months during the pandemic. However, Hays said that once they were back open, the community was excited to return to the park. “We received a lot of support from [customers]. We were busy that summer; we were just rockin’ and rollin,'” said Hays. “And we really needed that; we almost didn’t survive that shutdown.”

Cliff’s Amusement Park reopens for 2023 on May 6 and will be open weekends throughout May with an extended schedule during June and July. Season passes are available on the Cliff’s website.