Top 10 Amusement Parks across the United States

Arts and Entertainment

June 9, 2014

Do you like your rides wet or does a day of amusement include a gravity defying experience on a high-speed thrill ride? We're taking a look at the Top 10 Amusement Parks across the United States. Step right up and tell us about your favorite amusement parks near Hamden.

1. A list of the Top 10 Amusement Parks would not be complete without Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. It's been called the roller coaster capital of the world and is the second oldest amusement park still in operation in the United States. Soar high above the park on Lake Erie Eagles, an updated version of the classic thrill ride that lets you control the flying action or take a turn on one of the more than a dozen roller coasters that spin up, down and all around.

2. Another Ohio native is King's Island - a combination water park and amusement park in Mason, Ohio with a brand new coaster called the Banshee, touted as the world's longest inverted roller coaster. King's Island is also a favorite with the smaller set, who make their way straight to Planet Snoopy for pint sized versions of their parent's rides and attractions, including four roller coasters, like the Flying Ace Aerial Chase.

3. Also tops with kids and parents are the Disney properties in Florida, which rarely disappoint with options like Magic KingdomEpcotDisney's Hollywood Studios or their Animal Kingdom Park. The newest ride at Magic Kingdom is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train-a family-friendly roller coaster that starts in an enchanted forest and takes you on a rollicking real-to-life ride through the Seven Dwarfs jewel mine.

4. Florida is home to many other destination theme parks, like Universal in Orlando where you can indulge your Hogwart's habit at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Join Harry and his mates on a "forbidden journey" or take part in other multi dimensional character themed attractions like The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk Coaster or the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster.

5. Knoebel's in Elysburg, PA is "America's Largest Free Admission Park" with more to offer than the average amusement park. In addition to rides and attractions you can picnic, swim, camp or rent a cottage. Their famous wooden roller coaster, The Twister, shows up on Top 10 coaster lists and their newest ride, the StratosFear is the park's tallest ride at 148 feet.

6. Another Pennsylvania favorite is Hershey's - the "sweetest place on earth" with an eye popping gift shop in addition to family-friendly rides and fun. You might have heard about the chocolate spa treatments at the hotels, but Hershey's also has 12 roller coasters for those who like their chocolate shaken, not stirred. New for 2014 is the Cocoa Cruiser, a moderate thrill ride designed for those just getting started on a life of thrills and amusement park adventures.

7. In the wet and wonderful category is Schlitterbahn, a water park and resort in New Braunfels, Texas. Choose your thrill level and then take off on a high speed adventure, slipping, sliding and squealing your way through the day. With heated pools, slides, chutes and special coves for kids, it's easy to see why it's a top travel pick, voted the world's best waterpark for 16 years in a row. Schlitterbahn is a family-friendly favorite, with a number of locations across Texas.

8. Six Flags parks satisfy with a reliable assortment of modern roller coasters and thrill rides, like the new Goliath at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL, which claims to be the tallest, steepest and fastest wooden roller coaster, whipping riders over the rails at more than 70 miles an hour.  Six Flags has many other fine and fun properties across the country, like Magic Mountain in sunny Valencia, California.

9. California is also home to Disneyland, an older and smaller park than the beloved destination in Florida as well as Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. A Berry Farm you ask? Not really, but they do have a marketplace for dining and shopping and you can pick up a pie at the Berry Farm Bakery, but what really gets visitors fired up are the coasters and thrill rides, like Boomerang, Coast Rider and GhostRider, all rated "Aggressive Thrills." They even have games and arcades and when the heat gets too hot to handle, you can cool down on a drenching water ride.

10. For a tamer time and to experience fun at a slower pace, families line up for a 3-mile ride on a historic steam train ride at Tweetise Railroad, and then hoot and holler the day away at the wild west theme park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Even Thomas the Train engine makes an appearance at Tweetsie! 

For more great things to do around Hamden check out our Hamden, CT Things to Do page.