Get Your Theme Park Fix Without Busting Your Budget

Summer plans often include nostalgic vacations, especially for families whose trips revolve around annual or bi-annual theme park visits. Lately, theme parks have become synonymous with being costly, especially if you’re talking about the ones residing predominantly in Florida or California. However, your ticket to fun might be closer and less expensive than you think. Discover these low-cost amusement park options before you plan your next vacation.

Image Credit: Visit Ohio.

Tropic Falls at Owa

Tropic Falls at OWA
Image Credit: Visit Iowa.

Located in Foley, Alabama, Tropic Falls amusement park boasts 23 different rides and attractions and a brand new indoor water park that opened on June 29, 2022. Tickets purchased online ahead of your visit for $26.99 per person ($29.99 per person at the gate). Combination tickets for the water and amusement park are $63.99 per person ($69.99 per person at the gate). Parking at OWA is free.

Image Credit: Visit Iowa.

Quassy Amusement and Waterpark

quassy Summer Scenes 1 e1657058872694
Photo Courtesy Connecticut Office of Tourism

Middlebury, Connecticut boasts that Quassy Amusement and Waterpark has been “affordable family fun for more than 110 years.” Offering a variety of pass types that are all budget-friendly, Quassy ticket pricing is dependent on height (over or under 45 inches) and date.

Weekday prices are between $19.99 and $34.99 per person, and weekend passes are between $24.99 and $39.99 per person. Parking is $10 per vehicle, so plan your visit with that in mind.

Image Credit: Connecticut Office of Tourism.

Wild Adventures Theme Park and Splash Island Waterpark

waterpark jeremiah lawrence QBN X4H0x9U unsplash e1657506266958
Image Credit: Unsplash.

Many theme parks on this list offer dual admission to their amusement and waterpark. Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia, is one of those theme parks. For $54.99 plus tax, guests ages 10-54 receive one-day admission to Wild Adventures and Splash Island. Children ages 3-9 are $39.99 per ticket, and adults 55+ are $49.99 per ticket. Parking is $15 for the day.

Image Credit: Unsplash.

Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun

amuementpark chris slupski QLqIqIhMiNs unsplash e1657506100962
Image Credit: Unsplash.

Another entry for the waterpark/theme park combo is Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri. One-day admission for ages 3+ is as low as $39.99 when purchased ahead of time online. Kids 2 and under are free, and there are discounts for military members and a free pre-k pass for ages 3-5 that grants the child admission for the entire season. Unfortunately, parking is a bit more costly at $25-$30, depending on how close you’d like to be to the park’s entrance.

Image Credit: Unsplash.

Six Flags Amusement Parks

Illonois Six Flags
Courtesy Six Flags

Although Six Flags amusement parks are some of the least expensive across the United States, they sometimes garner a negative connotation. However, they have a lot to offer for their lower price point. $34.99 per person grants admission to the following locations:

  • Six Flags New England in Massachusetts
  • Six Flags Darien Lake in Buffalo, New York
  • Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, New York
  • Six Flags Great America in Chicago, Illinois
  • Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Six Flags America in Bowie, Maryland
  • Six Flags St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri

Admission prices often include entrance to the waterpark part of the Six Flags location (usually called Hurricane Harbor or White Water). Parking is $20 at just about every location across the country. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s Six Flags Frontier City boasts the lowest admission price for any Six Flags location at just $29.99 per person.

Image Credit: Six Flags.

Magic Springs Theme and Water Park

Arkansas Courtesy Unsplash scaled
Courtesy Unsplash

One of the most family-friendly U.S. parks, Magic Springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas, offers an enticing combo of rides, attractions, and water park access for one great price. Visitors 48 inches tall and over can get tickets for $39.99 Sunday through Friday. Saturday ticket prices go up to $59.99. Children under 48 inches and adults 55+ can get access anytime for $39.99. Add $20 to your budget for parking costs to get an idea of your accurate total to visit Magic Springs.

Image Credit: Unsplash.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Indiana holiday world Voyage scaled e1656805517122
Courtesy Holiday World

One of my favorite parks is in the quaint town of Santa Claus, Indiana (yes, that’s its name). Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari offer lots of freebies to entice you to visit:

  • Free (non-alcoholic) drinks
  • Free sunscreen
  • Free parking
  • Free Wifi

Though their pricing is date-based like many other theme parks, if you choose your date wisely, you can enjoy everything the park offers for less than $40 per person. Tickets purchased online for as low as $34.99 (plus tax) or as much as $59.99 (plus tax) for one-day admission. Even at the higher cost, online ticket prices are still less than purchasing them at the gate.

Image Credit: Holiday World.

Silverwood Theme Park

Silverwood Theme Park
Image Credit: Silverwood Theme Park.

High season at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho, will cost you as much as $65 per person or $49 per person for children 3-7 and adults 65+. However, there are discounts for military and first responders and special events like Grandparents Weekend (free admission for ages 65+). While parking isn’t free at Silverwood, their $5 charge for all-day parking is quite budget-friendly.

Image Credit: Silverwood Theme Park.

Cedar Point

ohio courtesy visit ohio 2020CedarPointHotelBreakersbeach scaled e1656805612536
Courtesy Visit Ohio

Another entry on our budget-friendly amusement park list is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Date-based pricing seems to be the name of the game for many theme parks, and Cedar Point is no exception. Popular date tickets will run you as much as $64.99 per person, but less popular dates are as low as $49.99 per person.

Parking is not included and will run you $25-$35 depending on where you want to park. Kids 3 and up but under 48 inches tall get a price break at $45 per ticket, and so do adults 62+.

Image Credit: Visit Ohio.


Hersheypark 1
Image Credit: Hersheypark.

Don’t be fooled by this entry. There is more to Hersheypark than just its chocolate factory. A one-day ticket gives guests access to Hersheypark, The Boardwalk (from Memorial Day to Labor Day only), and ZooAmerica. Online, tickets are $59.95 for ages 9-61, and ages 3-8 and 62+ cost $54.95 per person.

Purchase parking in advance and save $5 on the total price of $25. In addition to the three parks for one price, you can tour Hershey’s Chocolate World for free. It is located next to Hersheypark and is open year-round.

Image Credit: Hersheypark.

Kings Island and Kings Dominion

Kings Island and Kings Dominion 1
Image Credit: Kings Dominion.

Both Kings Island in Kings Island, Ohio, and Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, are owned by the Cedar Fair Entertainment company. While in different locations, these two parks have many of the same features, including price points.

Depending on the date of your visit, admission can be as low as $39.99 per person. Children under age 2 are free, and parking is between $25-$35 per day. In addition, both Kings Island and Kings Dominion include admission to their waterpark, Soak City, in the cost of your ticket.

Arizona Courtesy Unsplash scaled
Courtesy Unsplash

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Sarah Gilliland is a travel journalist and editor for Wealth of Geeks with over ten years of experience writing, editing, and producing content related to family travel. She freelances for several online outlets, including Yahoo, Insider, Conde Nast Traveler, and Attractions Magazine. Sarah's beats include theme parks, family travel, cruises, and road trips. When she isn't traveling or writing freelance columns, Sarah can be found on her website, On the Road with Sarah, or binging the latest geeky thing on Netflix or Disney+.