Summer will be before you know it. What better way to prepare for the upcoming season than planning a trip to an amusement park? Even if you're not an adrenaline junkie, amusement parks have something to offer. From treat tasting to window shopping and kiddie rides to water parks, there's something for everyone at these top entertainment sites.
1. Tivoli Gardens
If you're ever in Copenhagen, Denmark, stop by Tivoli Gardens and see why this Danish attraction is considered a must-visit hotspot. Charming and picturesque, this beautiful amusement park is one of the oldest to date. However, it's also great for solo travelers and families. With rides, theaters, and restaurants spread through the garden landscape, Christmas is an enjoyable and magical time to visit.
2. Efteling, Netherlands
Following Dutch folklore, Efteling is the Netherlands' largest amusement park and one of the most visited in Europe. Imagine strolling through a 15-acre fanciful forest or riding the Flying Dutchman in the form of a water coaster. If adrenaline is the name of your game, Efteling has everything you're looking for.
3. Cedar Point
Located in Sandusky, Ohio, and sitting on the edge of Lake Eerie, this renowned park is a must-visit for the adrenaline junkie. The park offers over 70 rides, including 18 world-class coasters, special events, festivals, and live shows. Open from May through October, Cedar Point also features a water park that requires separate admission. Some notable coasters are Steel Vengeance, which will give you 30 seconds of weightlessness; Valravn, which is the tallest, fastest, and longest rollercoaster in the world; and let's not forget the Gatekeeper, which broke seven world records when they built it.
4. Six Flags-Magic Mountain
In 2022, the Valencia California park opened Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage, the tallest and longest single rail coaster on earth with 3,300 feet of rail and a height of 131 feet. Open all year, the park offers rides for everyone in the family and every adrenaline level. Whether you like to keep it low with bumper cars or turn up the heat with the park's drop tower, everyone will have fun here.
5. Asterix Park
Based on Asterix, the French comic book series, this uniquely French theme park features 42 attractions to entertain everyone. With a focus on family entertainment, you can book special group rates where children can learn about French Heritage, Life in a Park (learning how roller coasters and rides work), comics, The Greeks, Egyptians and Vikings, and Rome or Gaul. Booking a trip to a theme park that teaches while it delights is the best of both worlds.
6. PortAventura Park
Taking a note from the world, PortAventura in Spain has six “lands” for the whole family to enjoy. China, Polynesia, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the Far West (American Old West), and Sesame Street come to life in this beautiful, Spanish-style theme park an hour south of Barcelona. Forty rides await and shows look to please from the moment you enter the entrance. And if you're feeling a little hungry, feel free to enjoy national and international cuisine at this first-ever Spanish theme park.
7. Ferrari World
True to the love of fast cars, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) boasts the world's fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, which reaches speeds up to 149 mph. This car-themed park is the must-visit stop on any car enthusiast's bucket list if you love amusement parks. With options to ride or drive, you can also zip around Yas Island behind the wheel of one of the most notable cars on earth. Don't worry; if you decide to drive, you'll have a trained professional to help ensure you have the time of your life.
8. Everland Theme Park
For extra fun, visit Everland in Yongin in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, during yearly festivals. You'll enjoy a trip through several themed areas, including Global Fair, Zootopia, European and American Adventure, and Magic Land, mainly for children, modeled after Aesop's Fables for you literary buffs. Much like Zootopia, the movie, this region is all about animals and includes species like penguins, white tigers, and bears, to name a few. Enjoy your time here, where up to 150 animal species roam freely among the people.
9. Alton Towers Resort
Named for the towers that still stand on this ancient estate in England, Alton Towers is a family-friendly theme park that features characters from the BBC's favorite channel. These cuddly characters, CBeebies, will entertain your child all day in CBeebies land, where everything is childlike. From November 24th through Christmas, you can enjoy unique, Christmas-themed holiday treats and attractions throughout the park.
10. Europa Park, Germany
Heavily inspired by Disney parks, Germany's Europa Park is a conglomerate of sections based on different countries and regions from Europe. This renowned park, featuring over 100 attractions and 18 themed areas, has entertainment for all. The park's motto, wanting to encourage visitors to have fun, is Experience. Time. Together.
11. Nagashima Spa Land
This excellent park dominates amusement-style entertainment in Western Japan. With more than 40 rides for the whole family, the biggest attraction is noticeably Steel Dragon 2000, a roller coaster that is so massive it spans the entire length of the park. The water park is a fun place to play and cool off in the summer. Like most water parks, it sports slides, wading pools for smaller children, and a wave pool for the adventurous. And when you're all done with play, you can visit the Magashima Spa Yuami no Shima and take a dip in a natural hot spring.
12. Lotte World
Whether you want to catch a new movie in the Lotte Cinema, listen to a renowned orchestra, or stroll through the Lotte World Mall, you'll have plenty to keep you busy, and the food is just as fun. At Lotte World in South Korea, you can ride on the Gyro Drop, Gyro Spin, or Gyro Swing for all your adrenaline-seeking thrill rides. If the gyro rides aren't enough to thrill you, try the Comet Express, Atlantis, or The Conquistador. Don't fret if you visit with little ones in tow; there is plenty for them to enjoy, including several carousels, a swing tree, and even the Drunken Basket.
13. Ocean Park
Whether you want to enjoy the fun at Ocean Park Hong Kong amusement park or cool off at the water park, one membership gets you access to both spots. There are also some fun seasonal adventures planned. For children ages four to eight, Nature Explorer Junior is all about learning to protect the environment while watching animals up close. You can schedule a guided tour, learn about the history of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter Fishery, talk to local fisherfolk, and even enjoy learning about astrology through the Stargazing Program. And end your day with a multimedia production: Soul of the Ocean and Visions of Hong Kong.
Located in Belgium, this fun park is geared mainly toward children ages four to eight but has plenty to offer older children, teens, and adults. From two toddler playgrounds to live shows and meet and greets with Bumba, the clown, your little ones will have plenty to do. But for your older children and you, Tomorrowland-The Ride and other roller coasters thrill you to your heart's content.
15. Dream Park
With a trip to Ochaby, Poland, you can visit fabulous places, like Easter Island, the Taj Mahal, or The London Bridge in Miniature World. You can also learn about insects and dinosaurs, get physical in the Rope Park, and even visit an upside-down house. While Dream Park is small, it is packed with potential and will give you plenty to enjoy for a full day of fun.
16. Sovereign Hill
While most Australians might not think of Sovereign Hill as an amusement park, it has several attractions that offer an educational setting for the whole family. If you've ever wanted to know who discovered gold, check out the immersive AURA show (please book in advance). If nature calls to you, reserve the weed-foraging walk (must be booked separately from park admission). You can learn about fashion and textiles across time with the Back of House Collections Tour and even go Christmas shopping (these two attractions are also not included in your general admission).
17. Legoland Malaysia
If ever there was a park for families, Legoland Malaysia has to be it. This amusement park, sporting a theme park, aquarium, and water park, is a family-centered haven for those long summer months. There are more than 40 rides, a 4D movie theater, 13,000 creatures in the aquarium, and play structures for all ages. Even better, Legoland also offers educational tours where you can learn about robotics or a hands-on physics class.
18. Bali Safari and Marine Park
Enjoy a real safari visit when you head to Indonesia. At the Bali Safari (Taman Safari Bali) and Marine Park, you can partake in Varuna, a voyage of flavors and fantasy, take in a nighttime safari run and enjoy “dinner with tigers,” or enjoy Bali Agung and learn more about Balinese legends and one unique goddess. And if you're adventurous, you can even stay overnight in the park.
19. Greenwood Family Park
Working to be an eco-friendly park, the Greenwood Family Park in Wales has the world's only people-powered roller coaster, The Green Dragon, and the UK's only solar-powered water ride. If you love nature, there's also a trail you walk barefoot. It features water, pebbles, straw, sand, and textured stone sections that allow for an adventure for the whole family to enjoy. There are even play areas for the little ones if it rains when you visit.
20. Disney World
Comprised of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, Disney World is easily the most iconic and famous amusement park. Cinderella's Castle, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and the Tree of Life are well-known attractions this massive park boasts. There are also lodging options in each section that offer unique, guest-only activities, and if you want to visit the entire park, you will need more than one day to do it.
21. Hershey Park
Even if you don't stay at the iconic Hershey Lodge, this staple of American entertainment offers roller coasters, family and water rides, and every chocolate concoction your mind can imagine. Home to Hershey's Chocolate World, at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, you can sample your favorites and get an up-close look at more than 200 animals found in North America at ZooAmerica.
22. Knott's Berry Farm
Although this farm started as a small berry producer, it has grown into a themed park offering something for everyone over the years. The Old West Ghost Town features Western-themed coasters and a real saloon. Camp Snoopy is perfect for children and younger visitors. Fiesta Village pays homage to California's Hispanic roots with its rides and architecture, and Knott's Boardwalk grabs inspiration from Southern California's beaches, including a stage for live entertainment.
23. Busch Gardens
Located in the heart of Tampa Bay, this theme park offers a water park, a full zoo, and roller coasters for adults and children. The train is also a family favorite that comforts you as you ride around the park. Rides abound for every sort of rider, from a family-friendly spin coaster to the 335-foot drop tower. In 2023, the park opened a new ride called Serengeti Flyer, the fastest and tallest ride of its kind. And when you're ready to settle down, you can entertain the little ones by meeting some of Sesame Street's beloved characters.
24. Silver Dollar City
Inspired by another time, Silver Dollar City in Missouri has 10 miles of shows and attractions featuring both a theme and a water park. The White Water Park features 13 acres of rides and a 500,000-gallon wave pool. While the theme park is open year-round, the water park is open from late May to early September, closing down as cooler weather moves in.
If you're passing through Tennessee and want a day out with the family, stop by Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for some down-to-earth family fun. With more than 50 rides and a family-centered atmosphere, Dollywood offers fun for children and adults alike. From the Tennesse Tornado, a 70 mph coaster, to their wood and steel hybrid, Lightning Rod, big and small kids alike can make memories that last.
Whether you want an educational experience or an adrenaline-packed weekend, these theme parks will keep you coming back. And if you can travel, there are great stops for children, teens, and adults alike.