Virginia may be known for its rich history and stunning natural beauty, but it's also home to some of the best theme parks on the East Coast. From adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to water slides and animal encounters, Virginia theme parks offer something for everyone.
If you're planning a trip to the Old Dominion State, you'll want to add one (or more!) of these top theme parks to your itinerary.
1. Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is one of Virginia's most popular theme parks. Known for its European theme, with sections dedicated to different European countries such as England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy, it's been voted “The World's Most Beautiful Theme Park” every year since 1990.
The park's newest coaster, the record-breaking Pantheon, is the world's fastest multi-launch coaster and is a must for coaster enthusiasts. With a top speed of 73 mph, a 95° drop, two inversions, four heart-stopping launches, and a whopping five air-time hills, only the most dedicated adrenaline seekers dare to buckle in for this ride!
In addition to its coasters, visitors can see a variety of animals, including wolves, bald eagles, and even kangaroos. Busch Gardens also offers lively shows like fan favorite Carnaval Imaginique and the new Mardi Street Party.
The annual special events, including Halloween-themed events and a Christmas celebration, are not to be missed.
2. Kings Dominion
With more than 13 million visitors a year, Kings Dominion, located in Doswell, Virginia, is another popular theme park in the state. It offers 60+ rides and family-friendly attractions, plus a 20-acre water park called Soak City. It's no wonder Kings Dominion is one of the premier entertainment destinations in the state.
The park's coaster collection is particularly impressive, with rides like the Intimidator 305 and the Twisted Timbers among the best in the country. In all, there are 12 world-class roller coasters at Kings Dominion for visitors to get their thrills on. Be sure to ride Tumbili, a steel-winged 4th dimension roller coaster known for its unpredictable flips!
The park isn't just for thrill-seekers; families will love Planet Snoopy, Kings Dominion's dedicated kids' area, and the assortment of other rides and attractions found there.
Kings Dominion also boasts a range of live shows, dining options, and special events throughout the season.
3. Water Country USA
If you're looking to beat the heat, Water Country USA in Williamsburg is the place to go. Virginia's largest water park features water slides, pools, and other aquatic attractions, rated from “mild to wild.”
Visitors can enjoy the park's wave pool, lazy river, and a variety of thrilling water slides, including the mega-slide Colossal Curl, which features a funnel-shaped slide and a zero-gravity drop.
New to the park in 2023 is the first dueling pipeline called Riptide Race. You'll be able to race your opponents to the bottom!
In addition to its 17 water attractions, Water Country USA offers a range of dining options, cabanas for rent, and special events throughout the season. The park is only open during summer, so check their website's schedule for current hours.
4. Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Another popular water park in Virginia worth visiting is Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach. Although it's only open during summer, it has more than 30 rides and water attractions to entertain guests.
You won't be bored at this water park. You can spend time in the “Hugh Mongous” million-gallon wave pool, kick back in the lazy river, or hang out with your younger kiddos in the children's play area.
Up for a challenge? Head to the Tropi-Cool Activity Pool with your friends to see who can stay on the log roll longest before falling in the water!
Visitors can also rent cabanas and enjoy plenty of dining options throughout the park.
5. Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia, is an indoor water park and resort that is a wildly popular destination for families wanting an overnight theme park adventure. The lodge features water slides, a wave pool, and two giant slides, including the Howlin' Tornado, a crazy-fun water slide that drops riders into a massive funnel, and the River Canyon Run, a fast-paced water slide that twists and turns through the park.
Great Wolf Lodge offers other activities, including an arcade, mini-golf, and a popular ropes course. The resort also features several dining options, including a full-service restaurant, a pizza place, and a snack bar.
However, what really sets Great Wolf Lodge apart is its theming. The resort is designed to look like a huge rustic lodge, complete with log cabins and a massive stone fireplace in the lobby. The water park is also decorated with a wilderness theme, with animatronic animals and other details that make visitors feel like they're in the great outdoors.
With non-stop fun for all ages, plus the added bonus of on-site accommodations, Great Wolf Lodge is an excellent destination for a family vacation or a weekend getaway.
6. Massanutten Resort
Massanutten Resort, located in the heart of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, is a year-round destination offering families outdoor activities and indoor water park attractions. Knows as “the place where families learn how to ski together,” visitors can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on the resort's slopes in winter. The resort's indoor and outdoor water park attractions are popular in the summer.
The Massanutten Indoor Water Park features several fun water slides, including the Diamond Jim, a thrilling slide that drops riders through a vertical chute, and the Meltdown, a slide featuring rotating arms that drops riders into a pool below.
The fun doesn't stop there. Massanutten Resort also offers zip lining, golf, and mountain biking. Accommodations at the resort vary from hotel rooms to vacation rentals and condos, making it a great destination for a weekend getaway or longer vacation.
7. Motor World
For a different kind of theme park experience, Motor World in Virginia Beach is a popular destination for go-kart enthusiasts. The park features 11 go-kart tracks, including a drift track, a pro track, and a junior track for younger visitors.
Go-kart enthusiasts will enjoy the Euro Track, featuring hairpin turns and straightaways, and the Pro Track, designed for more experienced drivers featuring a high-speed straightaway.
Step off the track and hop into a bumper boat, but beware! Guests can spray each other with water while driving around the pool. You can dry off while showing your skills on the 18-hole miniature golf course.
8. Virginia Safari Park
Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia, is a unique theme park that allows visitors to see exotic and domestic animals up close. The 180-acre park features a drive-through safari experience, where visitors can see animals like zebras, camels, and bison. It's also home to the King Cheetah, one of the rarest animals on Earth!
One of the most popular attractions at Virginia Safari Park is the giraffe feeding experience, where visitors can feed giraffes from the safety of their own vehicles.
The park also features a 10-acre village walk-through area where visitors can see even more animals like kangaroos, lemurs, and tortoises.
Another popular feature is educational programs and events, including a summer camp for children. This park's unique animal encounters and focus on education and conservation make Virginia Safari Park the perfect theme park for anyone interested in wildlife and nature.
9. Compass Entertainment Complex
Compass Entertainment Complex in Irvington, Virginia, is a popular destination for families and groups looking for a fun day out. You'll have a hard time deciding how to spend your time with so much to choose from!
The complex offers the area's only multi-screen luxury boutique movie theater where you can watch your favorite movies in style. You can also play a round of mini-golf, have fun in the arcade, get wild in the bumper cars, and plenty more. Lace up your skates and glide into the 2,400-square-foot SuperGlide synthetic ice skating rink.
Compass Entertainment Complex also offers a variety of party packages, making it a great place to celebrate birthdays, host corporate events, or other special occasions.
Plan Your Virginia Theme Park Getaway
Escape the summer heat or get away for a fun-filled weekend with friends at one of Virginia's theme parks. You won't be disappointed in all they have to offer!
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.