You won’t find a theme park on top of a mountain, much less inside a mountain, anywhere but Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. But if you’re interested in collecting a variety of rolling, watery, funny, tasty, accessible, thrilling, and good old-fashioned theme parks, we like this list from Grandparents.com.
- Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1963 and family-owned until 2001, this 48-acre park calls itself a Kingdom for Kids. It has more than 35 rides, attractions, and shows, including a water play area, three roller coasters (one wooden), a log flume, a riverboat ride, animatronic dinosaurs, bumper cars and high-dive shows.
- Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Knoebels was founded on July 4, 1926, and is still family-owned. Part of its attraction is free admission, free parking, free entertainment and free picnic facilities. The park has more than 60 rides and attractions, including six roller coasters (one wooden), arcade games, mini-golf, a bald eagle habitat and two carousels originally built more than 100 years ago. You can still catch the brass ring for a free ride.
- Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana
Opened in 1946, with the water park added in 1993, this 125-acre family-owned park was one of the first to offer unlimited soft drinks to visitors. The park is divided into Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and 4th of July themed sections, with food and music as well as rides reflecting the season. It has three wooden roller coasters, one steel coaster and two water coasters.
- Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach in Athol, Idaho
Opened in 1988, with the water park added in 2003, this 413-acre playground is the northernmost U.S. theme park. It has 66 rides and attractions, including one of five giant inverted boomerang coasters in the world, five other roller coasters (two wooden), a Ferris wheel, bumper boats, a drop tower, a log flume, water slides, two wave pools and a popular steam train.
- Adventureland Amusement Park in Altoona, Iowa
This family-owned playground, opened in 1974, with the Adventure Bay water park added in 2010, has more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions, including five roller coasters and a whitewater river raft ride. It has numerous kid-friendly rides, a petting zoo and three game areas – Alpine Games, County Fair, and Dragon Island.
- Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut
Lake Compounce, founded in 1846, is the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States. The 332-acre playground was completely renovated after it opened under new management in the mid-1990s. It has 44 rides, including one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world and one of the newest, the mountainside Boulder Dash, among its five coasters. Lake Compounce, where cold drinks are free at hydration stations, also has a lakeside train ride, a drop tower, a Ferris wheel and a log flume.
- Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas
Built in 2010 by Gordan Hartman after his daughter was born with cognitive and physical delays, Morgan’s Wonderland is the world’s first theme park designed for children with special needs, although it is open to everyone (the accessibility is also convenient for older adults). The 25-acre nonprofit park has about 25 wheelchair-accessible attractions, including a carousel, Ferris wheel, train ride, wheelchair swings and Sensory Village. The three-acre Morgan’s Inspiration Island water park was added in 2017. Children with disabilities are admitted free.
- Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California
Knott’s Berry Farm started on a berry farm that also sold preserves and pies in the 1920s, then added restaurants and shops, and finally built a Ghost Town in 1940. It expanded with a Camp Snoopy in 1983 and was sold by the family in 1997. Soak City, a water park, was added in 2000. The playground has five themed areas – Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy and Indian Trails. It has 35 rides, including nine roller coasters, two water rides and train rides. Knotts.com
- Carousel Gardens Amusement Park in New Orleans, Louisiana
This center in New Orleans City Park is focused on the 1906 Live Oak Ladybug Rollercoaster, locally known as the Flying Horses but has 16 other rides including a drop tower, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a Tilt-A-Whirl and a miniature train. It is closed for most of the winter.
- Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
Cedar Point, opened in 1870 and second only to Lake Compounce for longest-running park, attracts more than 3.5 million visitors a year, the most of any seasonal theme park. The 365-acre playground has more than 70 rides, including 16 roller coasters, two water rides, a 136-foot Ferris wheel, a 1912 carousel,and a train ride along Lake Erie. Performances are in the Extreme Sports Stadium, the Celebration Plaza Stage and smaller venues.
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