Gone are the days of the simple wooden roller coaster and the secluded theme park. Amusement parks are constantly in competition, aiming to provide the best in entertainment, quality, and adventure. Their rides are climbing higher, dropping further, and flying faster than ever before. It’s tough to choose from amongst the hundreds of theme parks in existence, but we narrowed the staggering list down to our favorite nine.
9. Parc Asterix
Parc Asterix in Plailly, France is home to two of the most stomach-flipping roller coasters on the continent. The two main roller coasters are Tonnerre de Zeus and Goudurix. The first raises riders 30 meters before flipping riders through two loops, while the other flips riders over a stomach-churning seven times. The park is also full of artisans and craftsmen, providing plenty of entertainment for everyone.
8. Cedar Point
Located in Sandusky Ohio, Cedar Point was built in the late 1800′s and is the second oldest amusement park in the world. As the oldest park, Cedar Point has had plenty of time to collect rides, making its 17 roller coasters the largest collection in the world. Get started with rides on the Maverick, Blue Streak, and Wildcat. Young riders will particularly enjoy the Woodstock Express. Visit the amusement park, the Soak City water park, or check out the rip roaring bungee adventures or golf outings in Challenge Park – there’s something for everyone!
Tivoliland is one of only four amusement parks in Denmark. While it’s not the largest or most crowded, it is known as the home of Scandinavia’s largest roller coaster, the Boomerang. After the Boomerang throws you around, be sure to head on over to Gravity Tower for a quick 55 meter drop!
6. Universal Studios
In Orlando, Florida you’ll find the ever popular Universal Studios. The resort is home to some of the hottest themed roller coasters you’re going to find. Join the Simpson’s on a ride through Krustyland or help defend the country in a Men In Black style alien attack. A ride on the Dueling Dragons roller coaster will leave you feeling as if you’ve been suspended in a real battle 125 feet above the ground. In the actual Universal Studios park you’ll have the chance to experience special effects, like tornados, first hand!
If you’re planning on visiting Orlando to spend the day at Universal Studios, book your discount Orlando hotel early to beat the crowds.
5. Coney Island / Astroland Amusement Park
Combination board walk and amusement park, New York’s Coney Island opened in the early 1900′s. The Cyclone roller coaster tends to appeal to those seeking thrill rides, while the Freakshow Hall of Fame, Mermaid Parade, Coney Island Museum, Burlesque at the Beach, and dozens of side shows promise to entertain and educate the rest of us. The boardwalk was first known as an affordable place that anyone can visit, and it still is!
4. Busch Gardens
Williamsburg, Virginia is home to more than historical sights and Water Country USA. Busch Gardens. The grizzly Griffon carries riders to an astounding 205 feet before beginning the ride with a 70mph drop. The Big Bad Wolf drops 99 feet, but leaves riders wondering if they’re going to end up in the river! The park boasts dozens of shows and animal attractions as well. Not up for the rides? Take a leisurely stroll through Aquitaine, the quaint replica of a French village.
In the rolling hills just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lies Kennywood Amusement Park. There aren’t many parks where you’re going to find three old-fashioned wooden roller coasters. Those looking for an added thrill will enjoy The Exterminator which throws riders around twists and turns in a dark environment designed to make you feel as though you’re the rat attempting to get away from the exterminator – a clever and fun concept for a thrill ride!
2. Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool, England claims to be the roller coaster capital of the world and Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the city’s main attraction. The park boasts roller coasters for everyone, from the youngest child to the mature thrill-seeker. Valhalla is one of the newest and scariest coasters in the park, boasting three full minutes of terrifying twists and turns in complete and utter darkness. Not for the weak of heart or mind!
1. Six Flags Magic Mountain
While Six Flags has amusement park locations throughout the country, the Six Flags Magic Mountain Park in California is home to some of the finest thrill rides in the United States if not the world. The Riddler’s Revenge is the tallest stand-up roller coaster in the world, while Tatsu is one of the longest and fastest. Arrive prepared for some of the wildest rides of your life!
Each of these parks is packed with thrill rides and adventures for children and adults of all ages. Find the park closest to your home and hit the road – these are coasters you won’t want to miss!