Thursday, September 18, 2014
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That's the ticket: A guide to area amusement parks

There is only one place where a person can escape from reality and ride monstrous steel and wooden rollercoaster's, get soaked on splashy 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 special features for all to enjoy. Whether it's a summer day vacation, or a weekend of getaways, here is a great list of parks around the Tri-state area.

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

The Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Park has turned 100 years old. (Photo by Terry Wild courtesy of Knoebels)
The Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Park has turned 100 years old. (Photo by Terry Wild courtesy of Knoebels)

There is only one place where a person can escape from reality and ride monstrous steel and wooden rollercoasters, get soaked on splashy 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 special features for all to enjoy. Whether it’s a summer day vacation, or a weekend of getaways, here is a great list of parks around the Tri-state area.

Lancaster’s famous amusement park, Dutch Wonderland, is home to over 30 rides and castle-themed amusements that kids love, and will keep parents entertained likewise. Two attractions worth checking out are:

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.

River Boat Ride: Climb aboard Dutch Wonderland’s Signature River Boat and travel across the water while looking at the farm land scenery surrounding the park.

In Allentown, wild rides and wacky water excitement is what you can expect when travelling over to Dorney Park for a day of fun.  Take pictures with Snoopy, and spend your time at the vast activities they have to feature. 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 this area anytime soon. 

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.

An experience in the Poconos is not complete if you don’t visit Knoebels, a free amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. Knoebels 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 known as 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 towards America. Take a peek at historic carousel pieces and themes at this interesting museum. 

Milton S. Hershey’s Hershey Park is a great destination for chocolate lovers and amusement-seekers alike. Providing over 100 years of entertainment, Hershey Park has been a family go-to spot on the outskirts of Philadelphia since its opening. Since the first merry go round in 1908, the park has been through series of updates and added some must-see rides to the park. Two attractions worth checking out are:

Skyrush: Fasten your seatbelts as you travel 200 feet into the clouds while your 75 mile drop to land awaits you. 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. You will feel like you are back at the playground.

In New Jersey, you can take an adventure at Jackson’s Six Flags Great Adventure theme park. This zany park features an abundance of rides giving guests the ultimate rush in excitement. While you stroll through the park finding the best ride for you, make sure you give Bugs Bunny, Taz, and other Warner Brother characters a high-five if you see them.  Two attractions worth checking out are:

Skull Mountain- Hold on tight as you travel through this pitch-black Amazon temple swerving up and down with no idea what will happen 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.

Join Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and the rest of their friends as they come alive at Sesame Place. Located in Langhorne, Sesame Place is an exclusive park themed totally for kids, with amusements dedicated to the characters of the show. Two attractions worth checking out are:

Cookie’s Monster Land- A new exhibit for 2014 that features four interactive exhibits such as a three-story net climb and five new rides themed all around the Cookie 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.

Nestled in Clementon New Jersey is none other than Clementon Park, a mid-size amusement center offering rides for all ages, and splash world, a great place for all the water bugs out there. Two attractions worth checking out are: 

Big Wave Bay- For those who hate the feeling of sand, Clementon Park’s 23,000 square foot pool lets guest’s body surf, swim, float, and relax just like they were on 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.

Relive your childhood memories with your kids at Egg Harbor Township’s Storybook Land. Classic and modern fairy tales are relived through rides and attractions throughout the park. Two attractions worth checking out are:

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.

 

Tim Reardon philly.com
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