In 1956 the American Foundation for the Preservation of the Old West purchased a sizable tract of land in Byram Township, New Jersey, just north of Netcong, and started construction of a replica western town. An architect was commissioned to fly out to Dodge City, Kansas to dimension the actual layout of the town so it would be historically accurate. The site opened in the spring of 1957 and continued under the operation of Justus Nienaber until 1962. The town was leased unsuccessfully for a season and then closed until 1963. The Stabile, Rospond and Maitalasso families purchased the theme park in the fall of 1963 planning a short term real estate investment. Michael and Mary Stabile of Nutley, New Jersey were the operators of the park and eventually bought out their partners in 1966.
Wild West City continued under the operation of Michael Stabile with his wife, Mary, and six children, Michael, Sharon, Edward, James, Carol and Mary, until his passing in 1993. The park was run by Mary Stabile until her passing in 2002. To date, the park continues to be operated by several members of the Stabile family.
Wild West City stands as one of the last examples of post-war tourist culture in the Skylands region of New Jersey. In the 1960's western towns emerged up and down the east coast. Carson City in Catskill, New York; Cimmaron City in Monticello, New York; Wild West Ranch in Lake George, New York; Cowboy City in Farmingdale, New Jersey; Ghost Town in Maggie Valley, North Carolina; Six Gun City in Jefferson, New Hampshire; Frontier Town in both North Hudson, New York and Ocean City, Maryland along with Wild West City were all popular tourist destinations. Wild West City, Six Gun City and Frontier Town in Ocean City, Maryland are the only operational western theme parks along the east coast today. Wild West City was rated by the American Cowboy Magazine as one of the top five “must see” western theme parks in the United States.
Each season the town presents an exciting, action packed program similar to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. One can step back into time as the old west unfolds before their eyes! Twenty-two different live action shows are presented each day bringing to life the history, legends and lore of the western frontier upon which America's identity has been built. The "Old 97" narrow gauge train still makes regular trips through "Arapaho Territory", the stagecoach winds through town approximately every 15 minutes and the younger cowpokes can still ride on a real pony. The legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral takes place every day as does Jesse James' famous Northfield, Minnesota bank raid. The Marshall deputizes his posse of buckeroos and heads the stagecoach robbers off at the pass as the wild and wooly west still thrills young and old alike. The buildings which line the street contain various souvenir shops and museums. Food can be purchased at the Golden Nugget Saloon, which also has a full service bar. Grab a bite to eat at the Silver Dollar Saloon or Frontier Frankie's Pizza. Guests are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy themselves in our spacious picnic grove. Play a round of pint sized golf at our 18 hole golf course; visit the barnyard zoo or pan for gold. Palaver with the mountain man, school marm and chuckwagon cook to learn about life on the frontier or take a quiet moment to reflect in our Chapel.
Camps, scouts, church, youth and other organizations are welcome to make reservations weekends spring or fall and daily from mid-June to Labor Day. Guests young and old alike can celebrate their birthday at Wild West City.
School or educational groups are welcome to make reservations to visit the park weekdays spring and fall. These groups can choose between two programs: America's Western Heritage Program, modeled after our traditional summer program, or the Oregon Trail Program, Wild West City's frontier education program. School classes are treated to narrative programs about the historical cowboy as well as the western lawman, their clothing, gear and horses. Selected topics (i.e. the California Gold Rush, the telegraph, barnyard animals) are offered by special arrangement.
Wild West City is available off season for weddings, bar mitzvahs, video/film shoots or corporate events. The Golden Nugget Saloon also features evening activities on select weekends.
Wild West City is a town rooted in traditional family values where history and entertainment create an unforgettable moment in time. Wild West City's shows and activities have at their very core the important, ageless theme of the triumph of good over evil, where justice prevails and the good guys still win! Wild West City stands as a testimony to that unflinching, unwaivering, courageous frontier spirit that shaped America.
Wild West City is open to the general public weekends from May 1st to Columbus Day and daily from mid June to Labor Day from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.