Scream at the top of your lungs, Happy Travelers! From dips and drops to soak zones and slides, each park is the ultimate way to pursue your happiness with the promise of an exciting experience for visitors of all ages. So gear up, thrill seekers, and get ready for wind-blown hair and stomach-churning twists at Pennsylvania’s amusement parks.
1. Waldameer & Water World
One of Pennsylvania’s oldest amusement parks tracing its origins to a picnic area called Hoffman’s Grove in 1896, Waldameer has since grown into an amusement park featuring more than 100 rides and a state-of-the-art waterpark. The park’s crown jewel is the Ravine Flyer II, a classic coaster that reaches speeds of over 60 mph, crosses a four-lane highway and is annually named one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world. Other favorites include the Thunder River log flume, the Comet coaster and the Music Express.
2. Knoebels Amusement Park
Knoebels Amusement Park enthusiasts applaud this pay-as-you-go park, featuring award-winning rides such as The Haunted Mansion, named one of the best dark rides by members of Dark Ride and Funhouse Enthusiasts; The Phoenix, hailed as one of the "best wooden coasters” by Amusement Today magazine for several consecutive years in a row; and Impulse , an unforgettable coaster featuring four upside-down twists and a 90-degree freefall. In 2022 America’s largest free-admission amusement park became bigger and better with the addition of the ride “Tornado,” where as the name suggests, gives guests the ultimate thrill. Celebrating more than 90 years of “making memories the old-fashioned way,” Knoebels claimed multiple finalist spots in the Golden Ticket Awards, including “Best Guest Experience,” “Best Park,” and two of their rides were selected for “Top 50 Wooden Roller Coasters.”
What started as a picnic and relaxation area for Hershey company employees is now one of the country’s premier amusement parks, with more than 72 rides and attractions, including Laff Trakk, the first indoor, spinning, glow-coaster in the U.S. Also included in the one-price admission are the 11-acre ZooAmerica® North America Wildlife Park and The Boardwalk at Hersheypark®. Be on the lookout this summer for not one, but two new adrenaline filling coasters. “Jolly Rancher Remix” will take your senses forward and backwards on the same sweet track, while “Mix’d Flavored by Jolly Rancher” will treat your family to lifts, drops, and dodges with such terrific views of the park you’ll want to get back in line for another go!
Established in 1898, Kennywood® brings an old-fashioned amusement park feel to the 21st century with rides like the Thunderbolt, one of the highest rated roller coasters in the country, and the exciting coaster Sky Rocket, which reaches speeds of 50 mph in three seconds and features a 90-degree drop. Designated a National Historic Landmark since 1987, you'll find "Lost Kennywood," a replica of turn-of-the-century architecture that houses some of the park's most popular rides, as well as an array of attractions throughout the park. In 2022 the park is celebrating their 125th anniversary and is bringing back a true Kennywood classic — the iconic “Kangaroo” returns to give guests a hopping good time.
5. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Long after its humble origins as a fish hatchery and summer resort, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom has transformed into a popular park with more than 100 rides, games, restaurants, and attractions. The park features the Talon, the longest and tallest inverted roller coaster in the Northeast, and more than three dozen water play areas and slides. Young thrill seekers will have a blast at Planet Snoopy, the PEANUTS™-themed park just for kids. In 2020, the park kicked off summer with a splash with the addition of “Seaside Splashworks,” a new beach-themed multi-level play structure with more than 75 play elements to engage with.
6. Dutch Wonderland®
Designed for families with young children, Dutch Wonderland hosts an array of attractions including live entertainment, more than 30 rides and a water play area. Guests can enjoy Exploration Island, a rediscovered island full of lifelike dinosaurs, and young explorers can learn about the history of over 20 dinos while digging up fossils at the interactive Dino Dig. Experience the exciting Bon Voyage Balloon Chase ride, where visitors can enjoy the view of the park by soaring sky-high in eight flying hot air balloons. Dutch Wonderland has consistently been recognized as a premier family amusement park and was voted one of the “Top 5 Best Kid’s Parks in the World” by Amusement Today magazine.
7. DelGrosso’s Amusement Park
DelGrosso’s Amusement Park can trace its roots back to 1907, when the Rinard brothers brought their carnival to the Bland Family Farm in Tipton, PA. In 2000, more than 50 years after the DelGrosso family took ownership and management of the park, Bland’s Park was finally renamed DelGrosso’s Amusement Park. Today, guests can spend a fun-filled day on rides such as the Paratrooper and Scrambler, while also admiring the beautiful Antique Carouselle and exploring the Kid’s Kingdom and the Water Park. For those looking for a thrill, take a high-flying ride on the neck of a guitar and enjoy an incredible LED® light show on The Rock Star. After unveiling the park’s largest expansion in its 69-year history in 2016, its waterpark, Laguna Splash, provides guests with a much-needed break from the summer heat as they experience a variety of slides and cabanas.
8. Sesame Place®
It’s the perfect time — and they’re the perfect age — for Sesame Place®, the nation’s only theme park based entirely on the iconic television show Sesame Street®. Bring the entire family to whirl on rides, splash down slides and hug everyone’s favorite furry friends. Don’t miss Cookie’s Monster Land!™, the furriest land ever, or the special opportunity to meet, greet and eat with Elmo & Friends! Get ready to sing, dance and clap along at daily character shows like “Elmo the Musical — Live at Sesame Place!, or join Abby Cadabby and her friends in The Magic of Art, and watch as Abby finds inspiration to create magical masterpieces. So go before they grow™ for a day that they’ll remember forever!
9. Idlewild Park & SoakZone
It’s always a magnificent day at Idlewild Park, considered to be one of the most beautiful amusement parks in the country. Idlewild offers more than 40 unusual rides and attractions, including Raccoon Lagoon, Story Book Forest and SoakZone waterpark. For six consecutive years, Idlewild & SoakZone has received the coveted Golden Ticket Award for Best Children's Park by Amusement Today magazine. Little ones will especially love to take a trolley ride through Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Idlewild is the first amusement park to introduce this character to young children, which is the first TV series inspired by the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.