Sunday, October 4, 2015

That's the ticket: A guide to area amusement parks

There's only one place where a person can escape from reality and ride monstrous steel and wooden roller coasters, get soaked on splashy water slides, and eat cotton candy like there is no tomorrow, this place is known as an amusement park.

That's the ticket: A guide to area amusement parks

Hershey Park, in Hershey PA, has 11 roller coasters. (courtesy photo)
Hershey Park, in Hershey PA, has 11 roller coasters. (courtesy photo)

There's one place where a person can escape from reality and ride monstrous twsiting steel roller coasters, get soaked on wet water slides, and eat cotton candy like there is no tomorrow; this place is known as an amusement park.

From grown-ups to tots, amusement parks have plenty of fun for all ages. Whether it’s a day trip, or a weekend of getaways, here is a great list of parks around the Tri-state area.

Dutch Wonderland (2249 Lincoln Hwy E), Lancaster, Pa. 
Home to over 30 rides and castle-themed amusements, Dutch Wonderland is perfect for parents with young children. Two attractions worth checking out:

Exploration Island: Dutch Wonderland transforms into a tropical island that is home to over 20 different dinosaurs. Kids can navigate the area and dig up fossils, learn about dinosaurs, and cruise a pre-historic trail full of herbivores, and carnivores.

Kingdom Coaster: Twist, turn, and travel to new heights with the kid-friendly wooden roller coaster.

Dorney Park (3830 Dorney Park Rd.), Allentown, Pa. 
In Allentown, wild rides and wacky water excitement is what you can expect when travelling over to Dorney Park. Take pictures with Snoopy, and spend your time exploring and having fun! Two attractions worth checking out are:

Planet Snoopy: Earth to Snoopy! This sectioned-off land is designated just for children featuring PEANUTS-themed rides and attractions. From the Snoopy Moon Bounce to the Woodstock Express, kids will not want to leave. 

Wildwater Kingdom: Soak in the water while plunging through dozens of slides, from big to small, or take it easy and float down a relaxing lazy river throughout the park.

Knoebels  (391 Knoebels Blvd.), Elysburg, Pa.
Knoebels is a free amusement park that offers camping, picnic grounds, sporting activities, and of course, rides. Two attractions worth checking out are:

Phoenix Roller Coaster: Originally known as the Rocket in San Antonio, this wooden monster is considered one of the top wooden roller coasters in America.

Carousel Museum: Dating back from the 1700s, carousels were prime amusements that originated in Europe before making their way to America. Take a look at historic carousel pieces and themes at this interesting museum. 

Hershey Park (100 W Hershey Park Dr.), Hershey, Pa.
Milton S. Hershey’s Hershey Park is a great destination for candy lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Providing entertainment for over 100 years, Hershey Park has been a go-to family spot since its opening. Since the first merry-go-round in 1908, the park has been through a series of updates and has added some must-do staples to the park. Two attractions worth checking out:

Skyrush: Fasten your seatbelts as you travel 200 feet into the clouds while your 75-mile drop to land awaits. Skyrush is noted as Hershey Park’s largest roller coaster, and is not recommended for the weak-hearted.

Sweet Swing: A new addition to the park in 2014, this is a fun swing ride to take your little Hershey Kisses on.

Six Flags Great Adventure (1 Six Flags Blvd.), Jackson, NJ
This zany park features an abundance of rides that will give guests a rush of excitement. While you stroll through the park finding the best ride for you, make sure you give Bugs Bunny, Taz, and other Warner Brother's characters a high-five. Two attractions worth checking out:

Skull Mountain: Hold on tight as you travel through this pitch-black Amazon temple swerving up and down. You won't know what to expect next!

We Got the Beat: Cool off from the heat with the Looney Tunes as they perform a live dancing extravaganza featuring beloved dance hits from the '80s. Shows are every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.

Sesame Place (100 Sesame Rd.), Langhorne, Pa.
An amusements dedicated to the characters of the show, this is the ultimate kid-friendly park. Two attractions worth checking out:

Cookie’s Monster Land: Built in 2014, this zone features four interactive exhibits such as a three-story net climb and five new rides themed all around the big blue monster..

Neighborhood Street Party: Clap your hands with Sesame Street characters as they march through the park during a daily street parade. Children will interact with familiar tunes, learn about the alphabet, and swing back and forth with their favorite characters.

Clementon Park (144 Berlin Rd.), Clementon, NJ
This mid-size amusement center offers rides for all ages, and splash world, a great place for guests to cool off. Two attractions worth checking out:

Big Wave Bay: For those who hate the feeling of sand, Clementon Park’s 23,000 square foot pool allows guests to body surf, swim, float, and relax just like they were at the beach.

Ring of Fire: You will not get scorched on this ride, but you may feel it as you whiz through a loop at lightning speed.

Storybook Land (6415 Blackhorse Pk.), Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Relive your childhood memories with your kids at Egg Harbor Township’s Storybook Land. Classic and modern fairy tales are relived through rides, sights and entertainment throughout the park. Two attractions worth checking out:

The Seaport: Surrounded by a giant lighthouse, children can cool off from the rides at the water play area provided. The Seaport is only open from June through Labor Day.

Beanstalk Bounce: Jump along with Jack as you soar up and down to the top of the beanstalk.
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Tim Reardon
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