When was the last time you were in an amusement park? Do you remember how you felt up on the rides or trying out the games for toy prizes or being entertained by various shows and filling your tummy with carnival goodies? The amusement park is a fantastic place to bring out the kid in everyone. Not only will it make your little ones more excited about your next camping trip, but having fun together as a family strengthens your bond.
In no particular order, we have picked 10 great family U.S. amusement parks that are near campgrounds and RV parks. Enjoy days of thrills, fun and laughter!
1. LEGOLAND (Carlsbad, California)
If as a child you enjoyed stacking bricks upon bricks of LEGO (who didn't?), you'll probably go crazy over the LEGO-themed rides and attractions at LEGOLAND. A few of the fun attractions are the DUPLO Village (African animals made totally out of LEGO bricks are the main feature), Miniland USA (some of America's most famous landmarks replicated out of 20 million LEGO bricks) and Imagination Zone (an attraction that seems to have come out of someone's imagination to stimulate children's own creative thinking).
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Fun for the whole family
2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Virginia)
Have a taste of Europe at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The rides, attractions and shows at Busch Gardens feature a distinct European flair. Attractions you have to try are the Sesame Street Forest of Fun (children will surely love the lively cast and crew of Sesame Street), Curse of DarKastle (a spectacular horror castle with spectacular 3D visuals of scary creatures), Da Vinci's Cradle (take a trip inside the genius Da Vinci's mind) and Europe in the Air (a state-of-the-art simulator that takes you to Europe's famous landmarks). There is a zoo where children not only see animals, but are also taught about proper care for animals and nature. Lively shows that display European culture entertain the whole family and after a day of fun and excitement, dine at the European restaurants found around the park.
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3. Cedar Point Amusement Park (Sandusky, Ohio)
When an amusement park is touted as the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World", you definitely know what to expect. There are 17 roller coasters at Cedar Point, ten of which are considered the world's most thrilling. If you're a thrill-seeker with a penchant for this adrenaline-pumping, dizzying ride, you'll have absolute fun at this famous park. It's not all roller coasters here; you'll also find water rides, milder rides for the faint-hearted and kiddy attractions like Planet Snoopy, Gemini Children's Area and Kiddy Kingdom.
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4. Walt Disney World Resort (Orlando, Florida)
Walt Disney World Resort has created a fantasy island where everyone can go to rekindle the flames of their childlike heart. One of the biggest attractions is the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade where our most loved Disney characters parade on floats, singing and dancing to everyone's entertainment. Most rides and attractions are based on Disney films and fairy tales such as the Cinderella Castle, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean. Some of the enjoyable shows are Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (comedy show), "it's a small world" (world's different cultures showcased by 300 dolls in various colorful costumes) and Innoventions (interactive futuristic playground with musician robots).
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5. Schlitterbahn Waterpark (New Braunfels, Texas)
Water babies in America don't exactly have it easy. The beaches are far and the water is cold for most of the year. Fortunately, Schlitterbahn Waterpark answers your craving for some much-needed water fun. Your whole family will go gaga over the park's many attractions. Slides and chutes of varying heights are to be conquered; you can match wit and brawns at the Hang Ten Harbor Activity Pool's obstacle course and scream your lungs out at America's best water ride, the 1000-feet long Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster. Parents tired of keeping up with their children's energy can lounge at any of the hot tubs, especially the truly relaxing one, River Bend Pool, which overlooks the Comal River.
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6. Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, Pennsylvania)
The Knoebels Amusement Resort has been giving loads and loads of amusement to Pennsylvanians and their neighbors since the 1960s. And when you say Knoebels has everything, it really does have everything: rides and attractions for little kids, preteens, adolescents and even seniors. Aside from the usual heart-thumpers like the whirling Fandango, Kozmo's Kurves roller coaster and the Haunted Mansion, there is a historical museum, a golf course, a magnificent light show and a Bald Eagle habitat. And you know the best thing about Knoebels Amusement Resort? Your family can continue its day of fun and enjoyment by setting camp at either of the resort's two campgrounds; Knoebels Campground or Knoebels Lake Glory Campground. You can pitch a tent or rent a cabin; either way, you and your kids are sure to love it.
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7. Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, Illinois)
Six Flags Great America has more than 50 rides that range from mild to monster. Let your kids loose at Up, Up & Away, Yogi's Yahoo River and Buccaneer Bay. Meanwhile, adults can compete at how many times they can get on the monster rides without succumbing to the brown bag: Batman the Ride, Dare Devil Dive and Vertical Velocity. Take photos of the little ones with their favorite Looney Tunes and Justice League characters for souvenir.
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8. Universal Studios (Orlando, Florida)
How would your children love to walk into the setting of their favorite films they thought they could see only in the cinema or at their living room's TV screen? How does the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sound like? Imagine yourselves as wizards-in-training at the Hogwarts Castle and visit Dumbledore's office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and the Gryffindor common room! Relive your much loved Harry Potter scenes as you walk through the corridors, into the classrooms. And that is only one part of Universal Studios! Films, chills and thrills have merged into exhilarating attractions like The Simpsons Ride, Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and E.T. Adventure.
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9. Hershey Park (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
What kid has never been curious about chocolate? Do you remember that time when you were a kid and you dreamt of walking into a chocolate wonderland? Of making your own candy bar? At Hershey Park, the "Sweetest Place on Earth", you and your children can satisfy your sweet tooth while enjoying park rides, well-manicured gardens and an educational exhibition of how America's favorite confection is transformed from a bean to a bar. It has 11 roller coasters, 14 water rides, more than two dozen family and kiddy rides. After all the thrill and excitement, treat the whole family to a unique Chocolate Spa experience.
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10. Disneyland Resort (Anaheim, California)
With the world calling it "the happiest place on Earth", how can you go wrong with Disneyland Resort? With so many attractions at the Disneyland Resort, you'll surely have trouble squeezing all of those into one day, so grab those 3-day passes and you won't be sorry. Soarin' Over California, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue, Toy Story Mania!, Silly Symphony Swings, California Screamin', Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage - I'm twisting my tongue here and the list isn't even halfway over. The best way of ending a day at the Disneyland Resort is watching the dazzling fireworks display and punctuating the moment with the World of Color lagoon show where 1,200 fountains, Disney characters and familiar Disney music get together in a most wonderful showcase of light, sounds and motion.
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