Before Planning a Trip Make Sure These 24 Most Overrated Amusement Parks in the U.S. Are Not on the Itinerary

Nickelodeon Universe, Minnesota amusement park

Amusement parks are often visited for exciting rides, energizing atmosphere,  or time together with loved ones.  Unfortunately, many of these parks are expensive, have subpar food, have very long lines, and in worse cases, lack of safety.  Before planning your next trip, make sure these amusement parks are not on the itinerary. 

1. Holy Land, Orlando, Florida

Holy Land, Orlando, Florida
Image Credit: Alícia Roselló Gené – flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED/Wikimedia Commons.

Some reviewers found the Holy Land attraction in Florida disappointing due to its gimmicky attractions. Others deemed it a waste of money, especially for those with kids who might prefer an actual theme park. The disparity between the advertised grandeur and the reality of mere displays and miniature exhibitions left people disappointed. It closed its doors permanently in 2020.

2. Action Park, New Jersey

Action Park, New Jersey
Image Credit: Unkown – Fair use/Wikimedia Commons.

Action Park garnered a reputation for its dangerous attractions. Some people found it disappointing due to its numerous safety concerns, and the park earned the nickname “Accident Park” after numerous fatal and near-fatal occurrences. A total of six guests lost their lives during or after their time at Action Park, with many more injured, and in 1996, the park ceased operation. 

3. Pedroland Park, South Carolina

Pedroland Park, South Carolina
Image Credit: Jim – flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED/Wikimedia Commons.

Pedroland Park, associated with the South of the Border tourist attraction, has faced criticism for being an outdated, racially insensitive tourist trap with multiple defunct attractions. Reviewers have warned others against wasting money, citing the park's limited operational days, unreliable hours, and worn-out bounce houses, suggesting it should be closed down. Despite having an active Instagram account, the park's website states they are closed indefinitely.

4. Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park

Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park
Image Credit: Indiana Beach Official Channel.

Indiana Beach was on the receiving end of scrutiny regarding its safety conditions, ride reliability, and working conditions. The park closed in early 2020, with the owners stating they had no plans to resume operation. Only a few short months after its initial closure, Indiana Beach was acquired by an outside buyer. The park has since resumed operation.

 

5. Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia
Image Credit: WillMcC – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

While Six Flags Over Georgia is a popular park, some visitors have expressed disappointment in recent years due to concerns regarding maintenance and the aging attractions. Some guest complaints reference ride closures, poor food quality, and getting stranded on malfunctioning rides.

6. Ghost Outpost, Wisconsin

Ghost Outpost, Wisconsin
Image Credit: bogdanstepniak – Own work, CC BY 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Ghost Outpost might disappoint some due to its small scale and limited attractions, especially when compared to larger, more elaborate theme parks. One attendee, given free tickets, cited uneven ground, insufficient lighting, and excessive noise as reasons they would never pay to visit.

7. Dorothy's House, Kansas

Dorothy's House, Kansas
Image Credit: The Carpetbagger Official Channel.

Dorothy's House, associated with The Wizard of Oz, might disenchant those expecting a full-fledged amusement park. Disappointed reviewers complained that they drove several hours to visit, only to discover that guided tours had long waits. Others said the tour guides seemed disinterested or spoke too fast. 

8. Scandia Family Fun Center, Victorville, California

Scandia Family Fun Center, Victorville, California
Image Credit: Jeremy Thompson – flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED/Wikimedia Commons.

Past attendees of Scandia Family Fun Center claim the park has gone downhill, stating that many of the arcade games were out of order. Most complaints suggested that Scandia was unsanitary and significantly understaffed, which caused unnecessary delays.

9. Flinstone's Bedrock City and Raptor Ranch, Arizona

Flinstone's Bedrock City and Raptor Ranch, Arizona
Image Credit: James Marvin Phelps – flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED/Wikimedia Commons.

Yabba-dabba-don't! This roadside Flintstones-themed attraction, situated alongside Route 64 in Arizona, is often a recipient of criticism regarding the dismal state of its displays, poor treatment of animals, and the high prices.

10. Frontier City, Oklahoma

Frontier City, Oklahoma
Image Credit: Wesley Fryer – flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED/Wikimedia Commons.

This western-themed amusement park in Oklahoma City features your standard thrill rides alongside some Wild West entertainment. In 2018, Six Flags acquired lease rights to operate the park, so hopefully, they're busy repairing some rides, as past guests complained that many were broken down. 

11. Sesame Place, Philadelphia

Sesame Place, Philadelphia
Image Credit: Matthew McCullough – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Inspired by Sesame Street, this park offers rides, shows, and water attractions for young children and is recognized as the first certified autism center among theme parks worldwide—so it's certainly on the right track. However, some recent visitors said that long wait times, rising prices, and overcrowding contributed to a disappointing experience. One person said that despite spending $300 for a family visit, they could only enjoy two rides in three hours because of the wait times.

12. Legoland Discovery Centers, USA

Legoland Discovery Center - Amusement Park
Image Credit: wiredforlego – flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED/Wikimedia Commons.

Legoland Discovery Center is an indoor attraction in many cities with Lego model cities, some theme park rides, a 4D cinema, and a Lego building area. The centers are aimed at children under 10. Most of the complaints focus on the high costs, as all attendees must pay despite many big kids or adults being able to do very little. Others are disappointed that you can't go in without a child, or that visitors over a certain height are not allowed on rides.

13. Lakeside Amusement Park, Colorado

Lakeside Park - Amusement Park
Image Credit: Library of Congress – Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons.

This amusement park opened in 1908, and many visitors felt that some of the attractions had never been updated. People said many rides were closed down, and others felt unsafe. Several visitors found the security staff and employees a little over the top. They questioned their safety if the park needed this much protection.

14. Paul Bunyan Land Amusement Park, Minnesota

Paul Bunyan Land Amusement Park, Minnesota
Image Credit: Gary Hoover – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Founded in 1950, Paul Bunyan Land is an amusement park on This Old Farm in Brainerd, Minnesota. The park is characterized by its iconic 26-foot-tall animated and talking statue of Paul Bunyan, weighing 5,000 pounds. Most negative feedback centers around the poorly maintained attractions, the unfriendly staff, and the high cost for very little in return.

15. Universal's Volcano Bay, Florida

Universal's Volcano Bay, Florida
Image Credit: Jedi94 – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Disgruntled customers weren't impressed with this Universal offering in Orlando. While many visitors thought the water rides and park were wonderful, many felt that it was overcrowded no matter what time of day you arrived. While Volcano Bay sells a ‘skip-the-line' wristband, people claim it only allowed you to register for one ride at a time, meaning they only got to ride a couple of rides during their stay.

16. Elitch Gardens Theme Park, Colorado

Elitch Gardens Theme Park - Amusement Park
Image Credit: Bgtbbum – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

This theme and water park calls itself the “Coaster Capital of Colorado.” However, based on guests saying there were hardly any working, that nickname may be hard to justify. Many people said the park took a long time to get up and running, leaving guests upset about wasting their money.

17. Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, New York

Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, New York
Image Credit: DASonnenfeld – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Situated on Oneida Lake in New York State, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park is a compact retro-themed park that offers family rides, bumper cars/boats, mini-golf, a carousel, and classic carnival treats. People described it as rundown and in need of redevelopment. Many also stated that it was highly understaffed and wait times were terrible.

18. Nickelodeon Universe, Minnesota

Nickelodeon Universe, Minnesota
Image Credit: Tyler Vigen – Own work, CC BY 4.0/Wikimedia Commons.

This indoor theme park is located in a shopping mall in Minnesota. It features 27 rides and attractions, including various rollercoasters, making it fun to do in any weather. An unlimited ride wristband will run visitors around $50, but some people didn't feel it was worth it. Complaints included stolen property, rude staff members, and excessive line jumping without security or monitoring. 

19. Lagoon Amusement Park, Utah

Lagoon Amusement Park, Utah
Image Credit: Scott Catron – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

A day ticket to this family-owned amusement park just outside of Salt Lake City will set you back around $75. It has a water park and over 60 rides, including a double loop-de-loop coaster. Many visitors said it wasn't worth the money with the long lines, below-average food, and claims that caged animals onsite were being mistreated.

20. Western Playland Amusement Park, Texas

Western Playland Amusement Park, Texas
Image Credit: Dimples915 – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Western Playland Amusement Park, located just outside El Paso, TX, is described as more suitable for children than thrill-seekers. Customers said it offers one roller coaster and a water ride, with special discount days recommended for cost savings. The full-price experience could be better, as guests claim the park lacked shaded areas, prompting visitors to bring umbrellas and sunscreen. The roller coasters are geared toward kids, and some rides appear dated.

21. Wild Waves, Washington

Wild Waves, Washington
Image Credit: Jeff Sandquist – CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons.

Marketed as Washington's only combination theme and water park, it features classic rides and an outdoor water park, including the Timberhawk Ride of Prey wooden coaster and a 500,000-gallon Wave Pool. However, recent feedback indicates a decline in the park's quality, with many ride closures causing disappointment and long waits for the remaining rides. The park's offering of full-day passes becomes problematic when insufficient rides are open for an extended period.

22. Austins Park, Texas

Austin's Texas
Image Credit: Amazing Life Trip USA Official Channel.

This amusement park features indoor and outdoor attractions, including go-karts, a batting cage, and mini golf. Many reviewers complained about rude, unprofessional staff and not being told about ride closures before entering. People were being overcharged and treated poorly despite having already paid a lot of money for their children to have a party at the venue.

23. Uncle Bernie's Amusement Park, Fort Lauderdale

Uncle Bernie's Amusement Park, Fort Lauderdale
Image Credit: Coaster Crew Official Channel.

Several reviewers strongly advised potential visitors against visiting the amusement park, emphasizing their disappointing experience. Several people said they were excited to go based on the photos on the park's website. However, they were shocked upon arrival and described the rides as old, unsafe, and dirty. Perhaps it's good that Uncle Bernie's is now permanently closed.

24. MT. Olympus Water & Theme Park, Wisconsin

MT. Olympus Water & Theme Park, Wisconsin
Image Credit: User Royalbroil – CC BY-SA 2.5/Wikimedia Commons.

This theme park is attached to a hotel where lodgers can enjoy the attractions for free. Those who aren't guests of the hotel can still buy tickets. However, some visitors felt it wasn't worth it, saying that it was a disappointing experience that included long lines, chaotic parking without employee guidance, and a lack of clear limits on capacity.

Author: Ree Winter

Title: Journalist

Expertise: travel, food, history

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  • Expertise: Travel, History, Food
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Ree Winter is a versatile journalist hailing from Australia and now making New Orleans her home. Ree's passion for solo travel shines through as she expertly tracks down fantastic flight deals and accommodations, sharing her extensive travel experiences with readers. With a Master's degree in Journalism and a Bachelor's degree featuring double majors in history and literature, she brings a unique blend of skills to her work. Ree's historical expertise extends to the world of architectural history, where she has worked as a tour guide in historic house museums. But her journey doesn't stop there; she's even delved into the art of coffee as a barista, running a coffee van at events and markets, making her a genuine connoisseur of coffee preparation. Today, Ree channels her insights and expertise into sharing these topics with readers at Wealth of Geeks.