KiddieLand in Massena Center

Beyond the promise of additional jobs, one of the selling points of the St. Lawrence Seaway was transforming Massena into a powerhouse of both industry and tourism. The Seaway at the time was called the 8th Wonder of the World due to its size and scope, and with the creation of the Robert Moses State Park which replaced ‘International Park’ at Massena Point, the creation of Lake St. Lawrence, and the Seaway itself, it was expected people from around the world would come here to vacation.

With that in mind, several interesting tourist based businesses opened up in Massena and one of them was known as KiddieLand in Massena Center.

The Bebee Farm was purchased by the Seaway Development Corporation for the construction of a heavy duty bridge and access road to the Seaway Project sites. This access road would become the first part of the newly created NY State Highway 131 which follows Lake St. Lawrence. The house and barn were demolished and stood on what is now the corner of Massena Center Road & Route 131.

With the creation of the new corners, two businesses opened up on either side of Massena Center Road. A coffee shop opened up on the northern side (now site of the defunct convenience store / cryptocurrency mine) simply known as the Coffee Cup Cafe. The building itself was said to be the shape of a Coffee Cup.

On the southern side of the corner, a miniature amusement park was built known as KiddieLand. It featured many rides such as a miniature roller coaster and helicopter ride, several carousels, a motel and Animal Valley, a large petting zoo with a miniature railroad running through it and the rest of the park.

The business only lasted several seasons before closing up.

A few remnants of KiddieLand remain today. The motel would become the Park Inn Motel (and later in life the Seaway Motel) owned by Ruth & Dwaine Darling and operated until a 2005 fire ripped through the structure. Part of the structure was saved from the fire, but remained vacant and abandoned ever since.

The Gift Shop remains standing, and is the large red barn shaped building closest to Route 131. Later in life it became the offices and terminal for Econo Fuels (who in turn purchased the Coffee Cup Cafe and tore it down to build a modern convenience store), Stitch’s Upholstry and is now the workshop for the current owners, Blevin’s Seaway Marine and RV.

The barn of Animal Valley remained standing until the mid-2000s, and one of the two ticket booths remained standing until the Fall of 2018.

KiddieLand was one of two miniature theme parks built in the Massena area during the Seaway Era. The second park was known as Wonderland, built near the intersection of Route 37B / Maple Street and State Route 37 in Louisville.

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