Amusement Parks in Pennsylvania: A New Spin on Summertime Fun

Summer wouldn't be complete without a trip (or two or three) to one or more of Pennsylvania’s fun-filled amusement parks. Each is unique, and even better — most offer an amusement park and a waterpark in one, so don’t forget your swimsuit!
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Knoebels Amusement Park
Knoebels Amusement Park
 Knoebels Amusement Park/Photo Credit: Jim Pennucci/Flickr

Pack up the swimsuits and take your kids to one of the top five children’s amusement parks in the world — Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park in Lancaster. Enjoy the park’s wide variety of kid-sized rides, like the new Bon Voyage Balloon Chase, which takes guests on a magical ride in one of eight flying hot air balloons.

And be sure to visit Duke’s Lagoon with its multilevel waterplay platform, large tipping bucket, and kid-sized slides, plus a variety of spray nozzles, jets, and tipping cones surrounded by palm trees and thatched umbrella shaded areas for loads of summer fun.

A trip to PA wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the renowned Hersheypark’s 70 rides and attractions, including Laff Trakk — the first indoor, spinning glow-coaster in the country. Check out more exhilarating roller coasters that range from aggressive to moderate on the thrill-inducing scale, and visit the waterpark where you’ll find rides like the Pipeline, an inline tubing ride that takes you through serpentine curves and water curtains before dumping you out in a splash pool.

The Pocono Mountains recently welcomed new waterpark Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia — the largest in PA — home to the longest indoor watercoaster in the U.S. With 84-degree warm weather year-round, a transparent roof that grants access to natural sunlight in every season, and the first Aqua-Sphere-Manta slide of its kind in the world, as well as ziplines, a tree tops adventure course, Euro bungee, and a rock climbing wall, Camelback offers a truly unique experience for the entire family.

Idlewild & SoakZone, in the Laurel Highlands region of PA, is enjoyed by kids and “kids-at-heart” alike, and is not your typical amusement park. Combining the natural beauty of the Highlands and the Loyalhanna Creek with seven exciting themed entertainment areas, Idlewild offers a unique, relaxing, and enjoyable family experience you won’t soon forget.

At Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, admission and parking are free; you can either pay by the ride or go for a ride-all-day pass. The park offers attractions of all shapes and sizes — everything from bumper cars and roller coasters to Pennsylvania’s largest freshwater pool.

Knoebel’s new steel coaster, Impulse, reaches speeds of 55 miles per hour with one big drop and several loops. Along with its great rides, Knoebels is famous for its eats, winning Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket award for best amusement park food for much of the past two decades.

Waldameer Park & Water World in Erie is a 118-year-old, family-owned, free-admission amusement park that recently expanded with a new outdoor giant wave pool and other new facilities. Don’t skip the Ravine Flyer II, one of the country’s best wooden rollercoasters.

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown has two great parks for the price of one, with more than 100 rides and attractions, nine roller coasters, 22 water slides, two tubing rivers, and two huge wave pools. Meet the world-famous PEANUTS™ characters in Planet Snoopy, an interactive family playland where parents and kids ride and discover together.

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