Many parents with young children forgo visiting theme parks until their kids grow into them.
Most rides are not designed for children smaller than 48 inches. However, there are parks that provide fun rides for younger kids, besides other attractions. Let’s take a look at a few of the family oriented theme parks throughout the United States and see what they have to offer for our youngest offspring.
Legoland in California
(it also has its branches in Denmark, UK and Germany) The whole park is decorated with sculptures made out of Lego blocks. There are over 50 rides and activities for all ages.
One of the most popular rides is the Knight’s Kingdom Robo Coaster. It is designed for children of 40 inches and taller. It has six arms, which makes it look like a robot and each arm holds two seats. A large dragon made of Lego blocks guards the entrance. There are five levels of fun with level 1 and 2 being mild and level 5 – quite intense. Upon entrance riders can choose the level of thrill.
Other rides worth trying are:
– Dragon Coaster – where you ride through a medieval castle.
– Technic Coaster – full of sharp twists and turns. They are also for children 40 inches plus tall.
There are also some rides for smaller kids (need to be accompanied by an adult), like:
– Safari Treck Ride – is a slow automated car ride going through a “jungle” full of Lego-made animals.
– Sky Cruiser – is a monorail powered by your own legs (it has pedals) and it goes about 10 feet in the air.
– Spellbreaker – is a coaster, which looks a lot like a complicated ski lift.
Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA
Everyone knows Sesame Street! Here is a park just for fans. There are lots of rides and for kids:
– Vapor Coaster – is a kid’s size roller coaster. Children need to be 3 years or older, to ride alone they should be at least 44 inches tall and 7 years old.
– Sunny Day Carousel – with Muppet-like horses.
– Grover’s World Twirl – tea cup like ride children under 42 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult.
– Big Birds Balloon Race – you sit in a balloon basket and go up the 40 foot high tower. You can see the whole park from above.
Storyland in Glen, NH
It has 21 rides for parents and children to enjoy together. Riders must be at least 36 inches tall to ride most rides (under parental supervision), but there are also a few for smaller children:
– Polar Coaster – is a great first-time coaster for young children.
– Crazy Barn –
looks like a big barn that goes up and down in the air and spins.
– Dr. Geyser’s Remarkable Raft Ride – a raft floats through a fast running creek. You are sure to get wet.
– Bamboo Chutes – oriental themed flume ride with dragons and singing bamboo people. Great for toddlers.
Who doesn’t like Christmas. Here are two of the best Christmas theme parks in the country:
Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH
From a two year old to an adult, everyone will find a fun ride:
– Rudy’s Rapid Transit Coaster – a coaster for the whole family. The children have to be over two years old.
– Christmas Carousel – you have to be 42 inches tall to ride alone. Toddlers can be held by an adult.
– The Pixie Mix – is a coaster ride for children only. Kids need to be at least two years old.
– The Great Humbug Adventure – is a ride through old Scrooge’s house. Watch for humbugs and tickle them with your JOY sticks to make them giggle. Children 48″ or taller can ride alone.
This is a dark ride with a slope. If your child isn’t afraid of the dark, they will want to ride this one over and over again!
Northpole Santa’s workshop in Cascade, CO
Great park in Colorado. All the rides for young children are grouped in Santa’s Enchanted Forest:
– Candy Cane Coaster – is a kid’s size coaster with lots of fun.
– Christmas Tree – children sit in a car that goes up and down around the giant Christmas tree.
– Carousel – vintage ride dated since 1919, still operating.
For older family members the best are:
– Ferris Wheel – world’s highest (altitude) wheel.
– Skyride – the ride resembles a ski lift. View the beautiful Rocky Mountains as you ride.
Idle Wild in Ligonier, PA
The park is divided into seven different zones, but only three of them offer rides: Olde Idlewild, Raccoon Lagoon, and Hooting Holler.
At Olde Idlewild there are rides for the whole family. Although on most of them children have to be at least 36 inches high, it is worth mentioning because many of the attractions have been operating since the early 1930ies. The best ones are:
– Caterpillar – is a set of linked cars that speed around a circular track. During the ride, a green canopy covers the riders. From the outside, the covered ride resembles a caterpillar.
– Rolo Coaster – was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and opened to the guests in 1938. Even kids can have fun on this classic wooden roller coaster.
– Wild Mouse – is a modern version of the classic coaster. Mouse-shaped cars, with four guests in each car, follow the steel track full of twists, dips and hills.
– Hootin’ Holler zone is full of live entertainment, games, shops and a few rides. The best one is:
– Loggin Toboggan – where you ride log boats in a fast flowing river to the top of a 30-foot tower. From there you come down a chute with a big splash.
From the Hootin’ Holler there is a train called Loyalhanna Limited Railroad that can take the whole family to the Raccoon Lagoon.
Raccoon Lagoon is a 9-acre Kiddie Land, one of the largest in the United States. There are at least 12 different rides, where riders cannot be taller than 56 inches. It also offers pony rides. Some of the rides include:
– Cattail Derby – miniature bumper cars,
– Rainbow Wheel – kids size Ferris Wheel,
– Dino Soars – each child rides their own car in the shape of a dinosaur. The cars spin slowly and children can make them go up and down.
– Ricky’s Racers – miniature car ride through the trees.
Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA
The park offers 30 rides which include two kid friendly coasters plus many rides for children under 36 inches tall:
– Kingdom Roller Coaster – is a wooden coaster. Children have to be at least 42 inches tall, or 48 inches if they want to ride alone.
– Joust Family Coaster – minimum height is 36 inches.
There are at least 10 rides for children smaller than 36 inches. Here are some of the most fun ones:
– Dragon’s Lair – is a ride in a log boat through dragon’s lair.
– Wonder Whip – is a miniature version of the whip. Kids love to twist and turn as they go round and round.
– Off-Road Rally – electric “monster truck” ride, where the kids are in the driver’s seat.
To top it all there is even a Nursing Mothers Station located near the train station at the front of the park. It has a rocking chair for the mom and a kid-sized chair for the older brother or sister and, of course a changing station.
Many theme parks strive to accommodate guests of all ages. There are parks that are specifically designed for younger children throughout the United States. It is impossible to list them all. When you plan a trip to an unfamiliar area, first call the local Chamber of Commerce and find out what kind of attractions are available.