Amusement Parks and Theme Parks
Busch Entertainment Corp. Worlds of Discovery
This site brings together the theme parks operated nationwide by Busch Entertainment Corp.: Discovery Cove, Aquatica, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Water Country USA, and Sesame Place. Links take you to individual parks’ sites, where you can get more information and buy tickets.
California’s Great America
In Santa Clara, California, this park offers thrill rides, rides for kids, and live shows. Nickelodeon Central features characters from the popular kids’ channel, such as Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob Squarepants, and the Wild Thornberrys. Boomerang Bay is an Australia-themed water park.
Canada’s Wonderland has more than 65 rides, including a dozen roller coasters; concerts, shows, and other attractions; and a 20-acre water park. It’s located north of Toronto.
Canobie Lake Park
Located 30 miles north of Boston in Salem, New Hampshire, Canobie Lake Park has more than 85 rides, games, and other attractions. Rides range from an antique carousel and other kiddie rides to four roller coasters. Rides’ thrill levels are graded Green Circle (mild), Blue Square (moderate), or Black Diamond (high). Preview Black Diamond rides by taking a video “virtual ride.”
Like roller coasters? Cedar Point has 17 of them—the most, it claims, of any amusement park on Earth. The 364-acre park in Sandusky, Ohio, boasts a total of 75 rides, ranging from mild to wild. The park includes a water park, four resort hotels, a campground, two marinas, and an entertainment complex.
Disney.com: The Official Home Page for All Things Disney
This site offers information about Disney parks around the world and, as it promises, all things Disney, including movies, videos, games, and music. You can also read about Disney vacation packages and its cruise line. Disney-themed items are available for purchase in the gift shop.
Dollywood, named for country singer and co-owner Dolly Parton, is located in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In addition to rides, Dollywood has stage shows (featuring music from bluegrass and country to rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s and 1960s) and demonstrations of traditional crafts such as candle- and soapmaking, woodworking, and glass-blowing. The park features five festivals each year: Festival of Nations, KidsFest, Barbeque & Bluegrass, Harvest Celebration, and Smoky Mountain Christmas.
Hard Rock Park
This rock-themed park opened in spring 2008 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Its different areas celebrate different aspects of popular music, such as the British Invasion (English-style rock), Lost in the ‘70s (folk, punk, disco, and glam rock), Born in the USA (American rock), and Cool Country. Hard Rock Park has a variety of rides, including five roller coasters, and music venues, including a 10,000-seat amphitheater for daily shows and special events.
Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has more than 60 rides, including 11 roller coasters, 13 water rides, and 26 rides just for kids. Use the Ride Search to find the rides you’ll like best: you can search rides by height requirements, type of ride, and thrill level. Its Fahrenheit rollercoaster has a 97-degree drop—the steepest, the park claims, in the U.S. Hersheypark also stages shows, concerts, talent shows, and other entertainment.
With a variety of thrill rides and family rides, this Mason, Ohio, park boasts the most kid-friendly roller coasters anywhere. Its Nickelodeon Universe area has been named Best Kids Area by trade paper Amusement Today for seven years in a row. Get acquainted with the park’s rides and shows, and then buy your tickets online.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Once upon a time, this really was a berry farm. Now this Buena Park, California, park has six themed areas: Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, the Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy, Wild Water Wilderness, and Indian Trails. Each area has rides, shows, and places to eat. Use the Fun Finder to plan your day according to your interests and how much time you can spend.
As its name suggests, LEGOLAND is a LEGO-themed park, featuring 50 rides and attractions in nine themed areas: The Beginning, Land of Adventure, Dino Island, Explore Village, Fun Town, Pirate Shores, Castle Hill, Miniland USA, and Imagination Zone. Watch videos taken in the park, explore shopping and dining options, and buy tickets online.
One site covers three SeaWorld parks: Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio. View a gallery of visitor-contributed SeaWorld photos, and upload your own. Learn more about shows and programs, and buy tickets online.
Six Flags Theme Parks
Six Flags Inc. operates more theme parks than any other company in the world, with 20 parks in the United States and others in Canada, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2007, Six Flag parks worldwide had nearly 25 million visitors. This site is the hub for any Six Flags park you want to investigate; pick a park to learn about its rides, shows, and special events.
Theme Park Insider
A guide to the world’s most popular theme parks, praised by Forbes and Travel + Leisure magazines, Theme Park Insider includes reviews of rides, shows, and hotels. The site also lists safety data by park and by recent incidents. There’s a searchable discussion forum where you can ask questions of experienced park goers.
Theme Park Review
Packed with information, Theme Park Review serves up photos, videos, reviews, and other information for theme parks all over the world. Read reviews, look at photos and videos, and discuss your favorite parks and rides in the forum. The site also organizes theme park tours and events.
If you’re visiting Orlando, don’t forget to check out the other theme park there. Universal Orlando is a world-class complex of parks (Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Orlando, and Wet ‘n’ Wild), hotels, and entertainment venues. Explore the parks, buy tickets or vacation packages, and compare Universal and Disney.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Located just north of downtown Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood offers a plethora of entertainment opportunities: a theme park, studio tours, Citywalk (a shopping/dining/entertainment complex), movie theaters, and concerts. This site tells you what’s new and gives an overview of all the attractions. You can buy tickets online.
Arthur’s Theme Parks Blog
The Theme Parks section of About.com has lots of great information about theme parks, water parks, and more. Guide Arthur Levine’s blog presents news, info, and advice for theme-park goers.
The Season Pass
This weekly podcast features interviews and information relating to amusement parks, rides, and theme-park attractions.
A Walk in the Park
Pat McCabe’s video podcasts take you to amusement parks and water parks across the United States, highlighting the best rides and attractions.