No matter the season, millions of New Yorkers flock to their favorite state park, and they're doing so this year in record numbers.
For Roberta Coniglio, spending the day at Midway State Park in Maple Springs with her family and friends brings back a lot of memories.
"When I would come and then when my kids would come,” Coniglio said. “And now it's exciting to see my grandchildren enjoy it.”
Midway is excited to be celebrating its 125th anniversary this season, as one of the nation's oldest amusement and trolley parks in the nation.
In honor of that, the park was recently recognized by the National Amusement Park Historical Association.
"It's very rewarding,” Christine Wilson, park manager of Midway State Park, said. “We're proud of the park and look forward to many more years. It shows that what we’re doing here is making a difference and that people are coming to still see us."
Last season alone, close to 96,000 visited Midway, that's up more than 34,000 guests from the year before. This year, that number is expected to climb even higher, as attendance is already up about 20%.
During a recent visit to Niagara Falls, Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid praised Midway, sold to the state in 2007.
"That we are lovingly managing and taking care of. It was the right thing and it's a great destination for us," Kulleseid, commissioner of the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said.
So are most of the other state parks, as the number of guests this year is expected to exceed the more than 79 million visitors in 2022, up more than a million from 2021.
"It's just proof that we are economic drivers, and we are driving visitation,” Kulleseid said. “And when you pay attention to your resources and improve them, people come and people benefit.”
Like Coniglio, who is grateful for the decades of family entertainment.
"We can create memories close by,” Coniglio said. “And can spend the whole day just enjoying one another watching the excitement on their faces.”