There are several Southern California theme parks with rides and attractions ranging from mild to wild. Each has its own motiff differing it from the rest. All are kid friendly and have something to do for the whole family.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain, in Valencia, is the premiere coaster park in Southern California. With more roller coasters than any other California theme park, thrill seekers will not be disappointed. There are numerous family rides and attractions and younger children will have a blast in Bugs Bunny World. Keep cameras ready as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are frequently seen!
Universal Studios in California
Universal Studios in Universal City is unique in that not only is it a theme park, it’s a real working movie studio as well. Included in the admission price is the Studio Tour where guests get an escorted tour through Universal’s Backlot. There are several shows including Backdraft, WaterWorld and Shrek 4-D. Rides include Revenge of the Mummy, The Simpsons, and Jurassic Park-The Ride.
Knott’s Berry Farm in California
Dubbed as America’s first theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm began as a simple berry stand in Buena Park. Today it’s home to several themed areas including Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, and Camp Snoopy. There are rides for all age groups including some Old West style rides. The fried chicken is very popular here along with Knotts’ boysenberry punch.
Disneyland In Anaheim, California
Opening in 1955, Disneyland, in Anaheim, CA, is the number one theme park destination. Consisting of Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Main Street USA, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, and Mickey’s Toontown, Disneyland’s rides and attractions reflect the land in which they reside. Entertainment includes shows, parades, fireworks, and the night time spectacular Fantasmic.
Disney’s California Adventure
Located across from Disneyland is California Adventure. California Adventure celebrates the history and culture of California through entertainment, rides and attractions. Areas include Hollywood Pictures Backlot, The Golden State, Sunshine Plaza, Paradise Pier, and A Bugs Land. Nighttime brings the beloved classic, Disney’s Electrical Parade.
Residing near the California coast in the city of Carlsbad lies Legoland. The entire park is geared towards children, especially those 10 and under. Legos are used extensively throughout the park and can be particularly appreciated in Miniland USA, which is a replication of seven areas of the United States.
Sea World in San Diego
In the heart of San Diego is the aquatic sensation, Sea World. Home to several shows including Shamu Rocks, Dolphin Discovery, and Cirque de la Mar, Sea World hosts a number of attractions such as Penguin Encounter and California Tidepool. Although mainly known for its sea life, Sea World does have some rides including Shipwreck Rapids and Journey to Atlantis.
Buying Tickets For Southern California Theme Parks
In purchasing theme park tickets, check the website of the park you plan to attend. Often times they offer discounted tickets online or special deals. Many visitors enjoy visiting multiple parks so it’s best to take advantage of any discounts offered. After all, there’s so much fun to be had at all of the theme parks in Southern California.
Guide to Smaller Amusement Parks in the Midwest
Amusement parks make for great summer fun. Nonetheless, long lines, extensive walking and costly admission fees make visiting theme parks difficult for some.
Mention the idea of visiting an amusement park in the Midwest, and most will think of the most popular parks in the region such as Cedar Point, Kings Island, Six Flags Great America or Six Flags Missouri. Surprisingly, however, there are some other great amusement parks in the Midwest. These parks offer shorter lines and waiting, cheaper admission fees, less walking and more economical options for dining.
Indiana Beach Amusement Park near Monticello, Indiana
Located in the northwest part of Indiana, Indiana Beach Amusement Park is a good choice for families from Chicago, southwestern Michigan (Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, etc.) and residents throughout Indiana. The park offers a great mix of thrill, water fun, traditional rides (such as the carousel, ferris wheel and bumper cars) and other entertainment (including games, water ski shows and a boat cruise). While in the park one can choose from a variety of dining options. Some choices include standard park foods like cheeseburgers, fries, ice cream, elephant ears and hot dogs, along with tacos, burritos and italian sausage.
A family of four visiting the amusement park only will spend approximately $100 for admission (depending upon the age of children), and around $140 if choosing to visit the waterpark as well.
Arnold’s Park in Iowa
This historical park was built over a century ago. Located in northern Iowa, it is a short distance from Sioux City and Fort Dodge (Iowa), and just a few hours drive from St. Paul/Minneapolis (Minnesota).
The park offers a mixture of very traditional and historic rides like the Legend (a wooden roller coaster that is nearly a century old), ferris wheel and carousel, along with other attractions such as bumper cars, raceway stock kars, a water park, shopping and musical entertainment. When hungry, one can choose to eat a quick meal at one of the park stands, or dine in one of the on-site cafes or restaurants. Some popular food items include hoagies, pizza, scones and fudge.
One of the most economical park choices, a family of four can enjoy a day at the park for around $100. This fee includes a pass for unlimited riding, game tickets and discounts on food and other activities.
Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan
Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park is a part of the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (owners of Cedar Point, Canada’s Wonderland, King’s Island and various other theme parks). Located in northwestern Michigan in the Muskegon/Whitehall area, this park is just a few hours drive from Detroit, Chicago and northern Indiana. Although it is somewhat small, it offers a plether of activities for families with children of all ages. Some highlights of the park include the Thunderhawk and Shivering Timbers (for the thrillseeker), popular rides like Tilt-A-Whirl and the Sea Dragon (for the somewhat faint of heart) and rides for the little ones such as Winky the Whale and Timbertown Railway. Additionally, Michigan’s Adventure offers a separate waterpark with everything from wild rides (like Cyclone Zone) to a small kiddie pool.
A family of four will spend just over $100 for admission as well as parking. The park offers a few on-site dining options. Some food choices include common park foods like hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream, as well as various barbecue meals.
Many of these parks also offer 2-day passes allowing the family to enjoy a summer weekend get-away. The smaller park is also a good choice for families with children of varying ages. Parents will find it easier to keep up with all of the kids, and the little ones will not be overwhelmed by the size and large crowds at these parks.