A Place to Play

Cape Cod Life  /  September/October 2023 /

Writer: Lindsey Friel

Ryan Family Amusements has been entertaining families for over 60 years. “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson  At Ryan Family Amusements, happy times are abundant. A place for children to connect with each other and adults to reconnect with their inner child, Ryan’s is the place that plays to all. However, Ryan’s isn’t just a hatchery for fun times, in fact, it stands as something much more: an ode to family traditions.  A small family business turned bucket-list destination, Ryan’s has been around for over six decades. What started as a small bowling alley under a post office in Needham has transformed into a household name with 10 locations across New England. Founder Jim Ryan introduced the family namesake, Ryan’s, that has set the scene for family traditions to take place. From multi-generational staff members and customers, tradition is at the forefront at all Ryan’s locations.  In Yarmouth, brothers Billy and Peter Campbell have spread their roots throughout the Ryan business. Billy and Peter introduced the Campbell name to Ryan’s when they were both working at the Buzzards Bay location. Peter and his mechanical wizardry became manager in his early 20s and helped Ryan’s to flourish in its early days. When Jim Ryan purchased the Yarmouth location, he asked Peter to be the lead man. Eventually, the Campbell family, Peter, Billy, and their father Bill, Sr. moved to Yarmouth and all became full-time employees. Today, Bill, Sr. is still seen behind the counter welcoming guests with arms wide and continues to voice the same amusing joke of the past 15 years. Nearly 25 years ago Billy, who started as a money collector and technician, was asked to run the Redemption Department—the department which buys and manages all the gifts and trinkets that…

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