If you’re a thrill seeker, visit these 5 amusement parks

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  • Published on April 10, 2023
  • Last Updated June 8, 2023
  • In Passport

Summer is among us, which means it’s time to visit a theme park (or a few). With over 400 in the U.S. to choose from, here are five to add to your list.

One of the highlights of the summer for many is the annual reopening of amusement parks. No matter what age, no one is too old for the thrill of riding a twisting and turning coaster, biting into the sugary crunch of a funnel cake, or cooling off from the heat in a chlorine pool.

There are over 400 amusement parks and attractions in the United States, alone, with some of them being the most visited in the world. Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Six Flags are just a few parks that are top of mind during this time of year, but here are five other parks that are great for thrill seekers of all ages to visit.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (Santa Claus, Indiana)

As its namesake suggests, this southern Indiana theme park is divided into four prominent holidays celebrated in America: Christmas, Halloween, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Based on what section of the park you’re in, you’ll be able to enjoy rides, snacks, shops, shows and games that are sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Notable rides include the Thunderbird – located in the Thanksgiving portion of the park – which takes riders on a flight from zero to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. The Halloween-themed attraction, The Raven, is a wooden coaster with sharp turns and steep drops that pays homage to poet Edgar Allen Poe. For folks who want to cool off, there is an adjoining water park for those who enjoy water-based rides and thrills. Holiday World also offers freebies to guests, including complimentary soft drinks, sunscreen, Wi-Fi and parking.

Worlds of Fun (Kansas City, Missouri)

Experience a world of thrills at Worlds of Fun. The Kansas City theme park is divided into five different areas: Africa, Americana, Europa, Orient and Scandinavia. Guests who’ve come for the coasters can choose ones of differing thrill levels including wooden roller coasters, the Prowler or the Timber Wolf. Planet Snoopy provides the little ones with appropriate, kid-sized fun. Like any great amusement park, Worlds of Fun also has a water park called Oceans of Fun, perfect for guests who prefer to beat the intense summer heat with water rides and slides. 2023 marks the theme park’s 50th season and to celebrate, guests will be able to join in on its 50 Nights of Fire celebration. The end-of-the-day celebration takes a look back at some of Worlds of Fun’s greatest moments, utilizing pyrotechnics, drone technology, a compelling soundtrack and lots of memories. Guests can check it out from June 24 to August 12.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay, Florida)

This theme park truly has something for everyone. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has coasters that will have you squeezing your eyes shut and screaming at the top of your lungs, including the SheiKra. The park markets this roller coaster as “intense,” and we can understand why. Brave riders are first taken on a 200-foot climb and brought to the edge of a 90 degree drop. Before you can catch your breath, the coaster plunges straight down at 70 mph, curves into a loop and takes a final plunge into an underground tunnel where the ride ends with a splash. For visitors who would prefer to now get whiplash from a speedy coaster, the park also has a water park, a zoo with over 200 animal species, live shows and featured events, including a food and wine festival. If that sounds like a lot to navigate, no worries; Busch Gardens has an app for Apple and Android users to help you easily navigate the park, see which rides have the longest wait times and more.

Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park, California)

U.S. News Travel notes that Knott’s Berry Farm originally started out as a small berry farm back in the early 1920s. Today, it has evolved into a theme park split into four different regions: the Western-themed Old West Ghost Town, kid-friendly Camp Snoopy, Fiesta Village, which honors California’s Hispanic roots, and Knott’s Boardwalk, which pays homage to Southern California’s laid-back beachy vibe. Knott’s Berry Farm also has an adjoining water park called Knott’s Soak City Waterpark, on-site lodging at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel and Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, where hungry guests can enjoy a fried chicken dinner and boysenberry-infused drinks. Speaking of boysenberries, the theme park also hosts its annual food and wine event, Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, until May 7.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (Glenwood Springs, Colorado)

Amusement parks on their own are already great, so what could possibly make them better? Enter Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, one of the only amusement parks in America to be located on a mountain. Yes, a mountain. The thrilling fun of roller coasters combined with the gorgeous scenery makes this experience one-of-a-kind. Glenwood Caverns Adventure park has various rides including their Alpine Coaster, which allows riders to control their ride by going as fast or as slow as they desire. The park also features the Giant Canyon Swing, which was named one of the most extreme rides in the U.S. by USA Today. According to the publication, the ride moves “four passengers back and forth, takes them nearly vertical at the height of each swinging arc, hits a top speed of 50 mph, and delivers potent, tummy-tickling, negative G-forces, all perched at the edge of a cliff on top of a mountain.” The cliff in question is 1,300 feet above the Colorado River. Guests who like to experience the park on the ground, as in underground, can take a cave tour. Other attractions include a zip line, climbing wall, laser tag room and more.

Roshae Hemmings is an arts and culture magazine journalist from St. Louis, MO. A graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, Roshae has bylines in the Columbia Missourian, Vox Magazineand 5280 Magazinediscussing topics ranging from pop culture, social justice and eat and drink. She is a foodie at heart and enjoys eating food as much as learning about the story behind it. When she’s not working on a story, Roshae enjoys cooking, watching and analyzing reality TV, and spending time with family and friends.

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