Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
Theme parks are amusement parks with rides, games, and other entertainments circling around a central theme. That theme could be a celebrity, a concept, or a location, and all the rides, shops, and entertainment in that park use the same theme.
The MidAtlantic area has several internationally known theme parks that have been around for decades. These parks are perfect for casual travelers with little time to plan or spare for a lengthy vacation. Roller coasters are the main draw of theme parks for most people, but for others it is the theme itself that keeps them coming back. Here are a handful of the most popular theme parks in the MidAtlantic.
Kings Dominion. Kids and adults alike revel in the fast-moving, body jerking roller coasters and rides at Kings Dominion in Richmond, Virginia. The classic wooden Rebel Yell roller coaster is the most widely known of them all, and perhaps the scariest. Nothing compares to the tickity, rickety sound you hear as you ascend the first peak. Kings Dominion in particular has been said to have the best collection of roller coasters in the MidAtlantic.
Hershey Park. The theme at Hershey Park is chocolate. Lots of it. From Reese’s Cups to Hershey Bars and Hershey’s Kisses. All from the Hershey chocolatiere in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The advantage of Hershey Park is its proximity to Lancaster, home of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where the Amish still thrive and live traditional lifestyles. Make a full weekend getaway to visit Hershey Park and Lancaster together.
Six Flags. With six locations in the MidAtlantic and several others around the United States, Six Flags makes amusement park fun more accessible for people in locations too far or remote from some of the parks mentioned above.
Most of the Six Flags parks offer traditional ride, roller coaster, and concert offerings. However, Six Flags Wild Safari is unique in that it boasts a 350-acre drive-thru safari—the largest outside the continent of Africa—that hosts an array of animals, including endangered species. Following is a list of all the Six Flags parks in the MidAtlantic.
In the Baltimore City/Washington, DC area, there is Six Flags America. In New Jersey, there is Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Wild Safari, and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, all located in Jackson. In New York, there is The Great Escape and Splash Water Kingdom as well as Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark, both in Lake George.
Coney Island. Well, this one is not technically a theme park. Rather, the rides here are extensions of attractions from the Coney Island beach, just on the southern edge of Brooklyn in Manhattan, New York. The heyday of Coney Island did have an amusement park as a major attraction. Today, there are a collection of rides that are a nice of way of shaking up an otherwise lazy day at the beach. The site remains a huge tourist destination, however, because it represents a moment in American history.
Make a visit to Coney Island part of a larger trip to New York. While you are there, take a ride on the Cyclone, one of America’s oldest wooden roller coasters. Try going in June to catch the Mermaid Parade and October for the Coney Island Film Festival.