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Experience Thrills and Fun Galore: Top Amusement Parks to Visit in Pennsylvania

Visitors stand in line at the entrance of Hersheypark, a popular attraction in Chocolatetown USA.

Introduction to Pennsylvania's Amusement Parks

Overview of Pennsylvania as a hub for amusement parks

Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, is not only known for its picturesque landscapes and historical significance but also as a thriving hub for amusement parks. Nestled within its borders are some of the most thrilling and captivating destinations that draw visitors from far and wide.

With a diverse range of attractions, Pennsylvania offers something for everyone - from adrenaline junkies seeking heart-pounding roller coasters to families searching for wholesome entertainment. One of the reasons why Pennsylvania holds such prominence in the amusement park industry is its convenient location on the East Coast.

It serves as a prime destination for both locals and tourists, offering easy access to a multitude of amusement parks within a reasonable distance. This accessibility has contributed significantly to the state's reputation as an amusement park haven.

Brief history of amusement parks in the state

The history of amusement parks in Pennsylvania dates back to the late 19th century when these recreational playgrounds started popping up across the state. It all began with early pioneers like Milton S. Hershey, who established Hersheypark in 1906 as an attraction for his employees but soon opened it up to the public. As time went on, more amusement parks emerged, each with its own unique story and charm.

One notable park is Kennywood Park, which was established in 1898 and has since become an iconic landmark in Pittsburgh. Another noteworthy example is Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom near Allentown, which has been entertaining visitors since 1884.

These historical origins have paved the way for Pennsylvania's vibrant and ever-expanding portfolio of amusement parks. Today, these parks continue to evolve and innovate while staying true to their roots by maintaining nostalgic elements that captivate generations of visitors year after year.

Top Amusement Parks in Pennsylvania

Dutch Wonderland

Dutch Wonderland, nestled in the heart of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a unique amusement park designed specifically with families and young children in mind. This enchanting kingdom offers a wide array of attractions that cater to the imaginations and thrills sought by younger guests. The park features over 35 rides, including kid-friendly roller coasters, water attractions, and interactive shows. Each ride is crafted to be both fun and accessible for children, ensuring a magical experience for the entire family. The whimsical design of the park, with its castle-like entrance and fairytale-themed decor, sets the scene for a day filled with wonder and excitement.

One of the park’s highlights is Duke's Lagoon, a water play area that is perfect for cooling off on hot summer days. This tropical island-themed zone includes geysers, water slides, and interactive spray nozzles, all designed for safe, splash-filled fun. Dutch Wonderland also hosts a variety of entertaining shows and special events throughout the season, featuring everything from high-energy musical performances to educational animal encounters. These shows are tailored to engage and delight young audiences, adding an extra layer of enchantment to the park experience.

Beyond the rides and entertainment, Dutch Wonderland is also renowned for its commitment to a family-friendly atmosphere. The park offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste, from classic amusement park fare to healthier alternatives. Additionally, the park provides ample amenities for families, including stroller rentals, nursing stations, and shaded rest areas, ensuring a comfortable visit for guests of all ages. With its combination of thrilling rides, engaging entertainment, and thoughtful amenities, Dutch Wonderland stands out as a premier destination for families seeking a fun-filled day in a magical setting.


Nestled in the heart of Chocolate Town, USA, Hersheypark is a sweet haven for thrill-seekers and chocolate lovers alike. Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this amusement park sprawls across a whopping 121 acres of land.

With its vast size and charming atmosphere, it offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages. Hersheypark boasts an impressive collection of over 70 rides and attractions that cater to various interests and adrenaline levels.

From breathtaking roller coasters like the lightning-fast Storm Runner and the exhilarating Fahrenheit to family-friendly attractions like the iconic Ferris wheel and classic carousel, there's something for everyone at this park. What makes Hersheypark truly unique is its close connection to the legacy of Hershey's chocolate.

Throughout the park, you'll find delightful nods to all things cocoa-related. Don't miss out on taking a tour through Chocolate World or indulging in mouthwatering treats like freshly made chocolate-dipped pretzels or delectable s'mores by one of the many cozy campfires scattered around the park.

Kennywood Park

Situated near Pittsburgh, Kennywood Park holds a special place in the hearts of Pennsylvanians due to its rich historical significance dating back over 120 years. This amusement park not only provides thrilling rides but also preserves the charm and nostalgia of yesteryears.

Kennywood Park is home to an array of iconic rides that have become legends throughout its history. One such ride is the legendary Thunderbolt roller coaster which combines breathtaking drops with twists and turns that leave riders begging for more adrenaline rush.

In addition to its thrilling rides, Kennywood Park hosts several notable events and festivals throughout the year. The Phantom Fright Nights during Halloween season transforms the park into a spine-chilling haunted attraction, while the Holiday Lights festival dazzles visitors with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations during the winter holidays.

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Straddling between Allentown and Emmaus, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom offers an unparalleled combination of thrilling rides and refreshing water park attractions. This dual amusement park is a favorite destination for those seeking excitement under the sun. With adrenaline-pumping roller coasters like Steel Force, known for its breathtaking drops and high-speed thrills, and Talon, an inverted coaster that will have you soaring through inversions and spirals, Dorney Park caters to even the most daring thrill seekers.

For those who prefer a milder experience, Planet Snoopy provides a whimsical area filled with family-friendly rides and attractions themed around beloved Peanuts characters. When you need to beat the heat or simply cool off after an exhilarating ride, head over to Wildwater Kingdom.

This water park offers a variety of slides and pools to splash around in. Whether you choose to race down speed slides or lazily float along a lazy river, it's guaranteed fun for all ages at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Amusement Parks in Pennsylvania

Knoebels Amusement Resort

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of Elysburg, Pennsylvania, Knoebels Amusement Resort is a true hidden gem among amusement parks. What sets Knoebels apart from other parks is its unique free admission policy.

Yes, you read that right! Unlike the majority of amusement parks that charge an entrance fee, Knoebels offers free admission to all visitors.

This allows families and thrill-seekers alike to enter the park without breaking the bank. Once inside, you'll discover why Knoebels has gained such a loyal following over the years.

The park boasts an array of noteworthy wooden roller coasters that are sure to leave you breathless. One standout coaster is Phoenix, known for its exhilarating twists and turns that keep riders on their toes from start to finish.

It's no wonder Phoenix consistently ranks among the top wooden coasters in the country. Moreover, Knoebels offers a variety of attractions beyond its thrilling rides.

Take a dip in the refreshing Crystal Pool on hot summer days or challenge your bravery with a visit to the Haunted Mansion—a spooky experience sure to send shivers down your spine. For a touch of nostalgia, don't miss a ride on the Grand Carousel; it's like stepping back in time as you're surrounded by beautifully crafted horses and charming music.

Lakemont Park

When it comes to historical significance and family-friendly fun, Lakemont Park holds a special place among Pennsylvania's amusement parks. Established in 1894, it proudly claims the title of being the oldest operating amusement park in Pennsylvania—a testament to its enduring charm and appeal. One of Lakemont Park's major attractions is Leap-the-Dips, hailed as one of America's most iconic roller coasters.

What makes this coaster truly unique is its status as the world's oldest operating roller coaster. As you climb aboard this charming wooden structure, you'll find yourself transported back to a bygone era, feeling the thrill of each gentle dip and curve.

Lakemont Park is not just about heart-pounding rides; it also offers a wide range of family-friendly activities. Mini-golf enthusiasts can test their skills on the park's well-designed courses, while go-kart enthusiasts can embrace their need for speed on the twisting tracks.

With a variety of options for both young and old, Lakemont Park ensures that every member of the family has an unforgettable day filled with laughter and joy. Pennsylvania is home to some truly remarkable amusement parks that often fly under the radar compared to their more prominent counterparts.

Knoebels Amusement Resort and Lakemont Park are perfect examples of these hidden gems, offering unique experiences and attractions that leave a lasting impression on visitors. So next time you're planning a trip to Pennsylvania, make sure to venture beyond the obvious choices and explore these lesser-known parks for an unforgettable adventure!

Thrill Seeker's Paradise: Adventure Sports in Pennsylvania

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

When it comes to satisfying your inner thrill-seeker, look no further than Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. This awe-inspiring indoor waterpark in Pennsylvania is a haven for adrenaline junkies of all ages. With its vast array of exhilarating slides and one-of-a-kind attractions, this resort promises to leave you breathless.

Step into the heart-pounding world of Kalahari's waterpark, where you'll find towering water slides that twist and turn through cascading waterfalls. Take a plunge down the Anaconda slide, a high-speed adventure that will have your heart racing with every twist and turn.

If you're up for a challenge, test your skills on the Zip Coaster - a unique blend of zip line and waterslide that provides an unforgettable rush. And for those looking to catch some waves without leaving Pennsylvania, the FlowRider surf simulator offers an opportunity to ride the perfect wave all year round.


Pennsylvania boasts some of the country's most extraordinary amusement parks that cater to thrill-seekers from all walks of life. From the iconic Hersheypark with its delectable chocolate heritage to Kennywood Park's timeless charm and Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom's fusion of thrill rides and water park attractions, there is truly something for everyone in this exciting state.

Moreover, don't overlook some hidden gems like Knoebels Amusement Resort with its unique free admission policy or Lakemont Park - the oldest operating amusement park in Pennsylvania. These parks offer their own distinct experiences while still delivering on thrills and family-friendly fun.

So, whether you're seeking adrenaline-inducing roller coasters or want to make a splash at an indoor waterpark like Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Pennsylvania's amusement parks have you covered. Get ready to create lasting memories and embark on unforgettable adventures in the Keystone State!

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