Now that many places, especially outdoor locations such as amusement parks, are opening, this is the perfect time to plan a vacation, virtual or in real life. Let’s take a look at some amusement parks across the US that are not Disney!
One of the happiest places in the world is not Disneyland, but Hershey, Pennsylvania. The town is named after a real-life Willie Wonka chocolate maker, and is home to the Hershey Company research facility and production facility, and literally smells like chocolate.
What makes it even better is Hersheypark, a theme park in the town that has roller coasters, kids rides and even a zoo, as well as chocolate themed activities and specialties throughout the park.
It has a dozen roller coasters, other amazing rides and even a fun water park. In 2009, it expanded the water park to include The Shore, a large wave pool.
Hersheypark’s Kissing Tower, the 330 foot observation tower, looms over the park, allowing for a great view of the park and the surrounding areas.
Cedar Point takes its reputation as the roller coaster capital of the world very seriously. Located in Sandusky, Ohio, it is the second oldest amusement park in the United States, has the second most roller coasters in the world, and has the most rides of any amusement park in the United States. This amazing park holds too many US and world records to count!
The insane Millennium Force roller coaster opened in 2000, setting records as the fastest, tallest and steepest in the world.
The daring Corkscrew opened in 1976, and was at the time the first coaster to have three inversions. It spans the park’s midway, making it exciting for both passengers and spectators on the ground!
Knott’s Berry Farm
A smaller park in Southern California, Knott’s Berry Farm is a great place to visit with a family. Started by the Knott family in the mid 1900s, the park has steadily grow over the years to include several rides and roller coasters, themed attractions including Knott’s Bear-y World and Soak City, and a reputation for delicious dining that dates back to the earliest days of the family’s business.
Now owned by the same company that owns Cedar Park and other parks, the Farm has an excellent variety of rides and entertainment for every type of visitor.
As far as outstanding amusement parks are concerned, Ohio is where it’s at. Also owned by Cedar Fair, the company that owns Cedar Point, Kings Island is an epic place to visit. It has over 80 rides, 15 roller coasters and a huge water park.
Additionally, the park is known for it’s Eiffel Tower replica built at one third scale of the original version in Paris. This is just a fun and quirky feature of the park.
Son of Beast, named after the original Beast roller coaster at the park, opened in 2000 with several record-breaking features. However, after years of delay, redesign and two public incidents, the ride was closed in 2009 and never reopened. In 2012, it was officially closed and removed from the park.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens has two locations on the East Coast, but the Tampa Bay Florida site is the original. The park has an “African” theme, with rides designed and named after locations in Africa and African cultural themes.
Busch Gardens has several excellent roller coasters, including SheiKra, a steel dive roller coaster that is 200 feet high and reaches speeds of 70 mph.
Busch Gardens also has an expansive zoo, being regarded as one of the largest in the United States, with over 2,700 animals. Visitors can take safaris through the park to have up close and personal experiences with animals.
It also promotes a more humane habitat for the animals, more closely recreating native habitats for animals than most zoos are able to do. Because of it’s size, the park is also a major conservator of endangered and at risk species.
Busch Gardens was named after the original parent company, Anheuser-Busch, but it was sold in 2009. The sale ended the free beer samples given away in locations within the park and the tradition of giving employees two free cases of beer each month.
No list of amusement parks would be complete without Coney Island. Coney Island is not an amusement park like the others in this article, but has a reputation as a funky, unique and fun amusement and entertainment area. Coney Island is a neighborhood in New York that developed as an entertainment center and seaside resort community for the surrounding area. In the 1940s and 1950s, it became run down but has recently had a resurgence in popularity and has expanded and redeveloped to increase attendance at the various sites.
There are two small amusement parks in the neighborhood, but several additional rides, attractions and food and entertainment vendors operate independently.
The Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel is nearly 100 years old, and has both rocking and stationary cars. At night, it is illuminated with neon lights that glow for everyone to see.
The Parachute Jump was a famous ride in the 1900s, but has been defunct for several decades. In 2004 it was cleaned and painted, with the intent to light it up regularly, but that has not taken place since 2009. It is often referred to as Brooklyn’s Eiffel Tower.
The most important contribution of the Island may in fact be the Nathan’s hot dog, which was originally sold at Nathan’s on Coney Island, and is still the site of the annual hot dot eating contest.
No matter what type of amusement you’re looking for, you can find it at these parks. From great food to fun rides to thrilling roller coasters, these parks have got you covered.