For many of us, Pennsylvania may not be the state that comes to mind whenever we think about amusement parks, but surprisingly, it offers a good variety to choose from. Many of these parks have roots in the early 1900s but are also equipped with modern attractions for today’s generation. They will feature everything you need for a fun day out with the family, including waterslides and rollercoasters.
So if you’re planning a trip to the Keystone State, be sure to check out the best amusement parks in Pennsylvania below.
Tips To Maximize Your Visit to Pennsylvania’s Amusement Parks
Before we get straight to the various amusement parks in Pennsylvania, here are a few things you need to know to ensure that your trip will be as fun as possible and without any hassles. By taking the time to plan ahead, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the most thrilling adventures that this state has to offer. Just follow the tips below to make the most out of your visit:
- No matter which park you choose, be sure to visit their website to get your hands on attraction maps, event times, special discounts, and restaurant menus. In this way, you won’t have to waste time deciding things once you’re there — you’ll already have a general plan.
- Always buy your tickets in advance by going online, which can help you save time and often money. Many amusement parks offer discounted prices on their websites and you can print them out for your trip or show a digital version.
- Don’t visit parks during their peak times — Mondays and Tuesdays will often be the least crowded times, while weekends typically have the most crowds. If you want to try the most popular rides, be sure to get there early and be one of the first groups to line up.
- Purchase only hot food inside the parks, or you can make sandwiches for your meals. Some amusement parks will provide shuttle services to help you find cheaper eats just outside the park.
- Be sure to pack a cooler with water, fruits, and snacks to avoid buying them inside the park. However, it’s also smart to check in advance whether the park will allow you to bring food and beverages from outside.
- Make sure to set a budget for everyone in the family that will help them buy food and souvenirs, and make sure that everyone sticks to it. This is especially helpful for families with older kids that will want to head off on their own.
- Always bring a first-aid kit, sunscreen, and moist towelettes which will all come in handy.
- Be on the watch for parades and other large park-wide events, because this will be the time when many visitors will stop to watch the event, so you’ll be able to spend less time waiting to get on rides.
- Always start your adventure by walking around the park to figure out what you want to do, and don’t start with the rides and attractions closest to the main entrance — these are usually the most crowded.
- Consider purchasing an express pass if the park offers it — these allow you to skip the lines, saving you hours.
- It will also help to buy multi-day passes if you’re visiting for a few days; doing this will give you a lot more time to do the things you want and see everything the park has to offer. Most of the time, these tickets are cheaper compared to one-day tickets.
The Best Amusement Parks in Pennsylvania
Whether you’re traveling or just visiting Pennsylvania, be sure to take a day to experience the adventure of a lifetime. Here are just a few of the most popular amusement parks in the state, where everyone will have fun — whether you’re traveling with kids or a group of friends.
Arnold’s Family Fun Center, Phoenixville
With over 150,000 square feet of activities for kids, Arnold’s Family Fun Center is home to the largest indoor amusement center in the country, located in eastern Pennsylvania. With over a hundred arcade games, this park will be a blast. You’ll also find that it offers a cafe famous for its candy counter, treats like slushies and ice cream, hot food, drinks, and a fully stocked bar. Arnold’s also offers easy access and free parking spaces just outside the park. Walk-in visitors are welcome.
Some of the best rides at Arnold’s Family Fun Center include:
- Laser tag
- Inflatable bounces
- Bumper cars
- High-rise ropes course
- Blacklight mini golf
- Kiddie rides
- And more!
If you’re planning to throw a party with more than 15 guests, be sure to call in advance to make reservations to get group prices. Many locals swear by the great birthday parties their kids have celebrated here; prices start at just $28 per person for 10 people. Make sure to try their o-karts and laser tag activities, where kids and adults of all ages are sure to have fun.
Address: 2200 West Dr, Oaks, PA 19456
Phone: (610) 666-0600
Bushkill Park, Easton
This hidden gem in Easton celebrated its 120th birthday in July; it can take you back to a time when trolleys were primarily used for transportation. This park opened in 1902 and has since seen its share of calamities, including the floods of 2004, 2005, and 2006. Thankfully, it was able to return by 2017, where it has been steadily bringing back rides, including a carousel to replace one that was destroyed beyond repair.
While the outdoor park is closed during winter, the indoor roller rink remains open, and visitors can stake from Friday to Sunday. New attractions include pro wrestling, which became available in January this year; tickets are available at the door.
Other great rides include:
- The Whip
- Bumper cars
- The Haunted Pretzel
- The Bar’l of Fun
- And more
Many of these are antiques and are well cared for, allowing kids to appreciate the joys of riding attractions from simpler times. Bushkill Park also recently opened a tractor show last month.
Address: 2100 Bushkill Park Drive, Easton, PA 18040
Phone: (610) 258-6941
DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, Tipton
If you’re in Tipton, be sure to stop by DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, where they offer a great range of rides that have been in operation for the past 100 years. Packed with rides, games, and even a waterpark, this park offers families a fun oasis to escape the heat. There are also over 20 private cabanas that can be rented here, which can each accommodate as many as six people.
With roots dating back to 1907, this park has been known for its thrilling rides, its antique carousel, and rich history. Some of their most popular rides and attractions include the following:
- The Rock Star
- Kid’s Kingdom
- Water Park
- And more
After the park added its waterpark expansion in 2016, visitors have been able to enjoy many different slides as well as cabanas. Furthermore, it has games such as ping-pong toss and balloon bust for those who want a different experience. Check their website for weather updates and to purchase tickets.
Address: 4352 E Pleasant Valley Blvd, Tipton, PA 16684
Phone: (814) 684-3538
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown (Dorneyville)
If you’re more into water-based activities, be sure to stop by Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom. With over 100 rides to choose from, your family won’t run out of things to see and do here, where you will find something for everyone. Many visitors love the wave pool because it gives them time and space to relax after experiencing the more thrilling rides.
Here are just a few of the attractions and rides you’ll surely enjoy:
- The Talon
- Planet Snoopy
- Seaside Splashworks
- And much more
Apart from these, you’ll also find that there are eight roller coasters in the park, so there’s something for everyone even if you don’t particularly enjoy water activities. There are also games and restaurants throughout the park grounds to provide you with a break from the body and tube slides available. There is also a water wonderland!
Address: 3830 Dorney Park Rd, Allentown, PA 18104
Phone: (610) 395-3724
Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster
Known for providing kids with endless fun, Dutch Wonderland is located in Lancaster County, which welcomes visitors with a bright and happy atmosphere as soon as you step inside. While the park is designed for younger audiences, it offers a wide array of attractions, and even live entertainment. With over 30 rides as well as a water play area, visitors will find that there’s plenty to do here, including:
- Dino Dig
- Bon Voyage Balloon Chase
- Boat rides
- Trapeze swings
- Gondola cruise
- And more
Kids will also love Exploration Island, where they will see life-like dinosaurs and even dig up fossils! There is also a wide range of rollercoasters for you to experience, so if you can’t fit everything inside one day, there are campgrounds right on the property where you can stay overnight.
If you’re looking for more fun after Exploration Island, try one of the countless roller coasters or water rides. This park is well-known and has been recognized by Amusement Today magazine as one of the “Top 5 Best Kids Parks in the World,” so be sure to take the time to visit.
Address: 2249 E Lincoln Hwy, Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: (866) 386-2839
Hersheypark started as nothing but a place for relaxation and picnics for Hershey’s company’s employees but has since transformed into one of our country’s best amusement parks. With over 72 attractions and rides, you’ll be sure to enjoy every hour spent here with your family. Built in 1906, this park is conveniently located right next to Hershey’s Chocolate World but now serves to entertain all those who visit it.
- Visitors love these great rides and attractions:
- Laff Trakk
- The Boardwalk
- Jolly Rancher Remix
- Mix’d Flavored by Jolly Rancher
- And more
You’ll be getting a lot of value for each admission since the park offers a variety of areas, including the 11-acre ZooAmerica North America Wildlife Park, where you’ll find over 200 animals. There’s also a waterpark with many slides and pools, a food court, food trucks, and free live shows where you can enjoy music on summer weekends. From thrilling roller coasters to kid-friendly carousels, everyone in the whole family will find something they love here.
Address: 100 Hersheypark Dr, Hershey, PA 17033
Phone: (717) 534-3900
Idlewild and Soak Zone, Ligonier
As Pennsylvania’s oldest amusement park, the Idlewild & Soak Zone has a kind of charm that you won’t find anywhere else and ensures that every guest will have the best experience. Because the park is divided into various zones, you’ll find that it’s very easy to go anywhere — this means you’ll be able to jump from one activity to another without losing time. Those who have already spent time here will suggest starting your day by going through the jungle-themed area, where kids can enjoy a ball pit and fun slides.
Some of the most popular attractions and rides you’ll find here include:
- Bigfoot’s Mudslide
- Suspension Bridge
- Rollo Coaster
- Hydro Racers
- Paul Bunyan’s Loggin’ Toboggan
- Net Climb
- And more
After these great activities, you can take your children to the storybook forest where they can learn more about their favorite children’s tales and nursery rhymes. There’s also a Western-themed historical village complete with a general store, blacksmith, and saloon. When the little ones get hungry, there are plenty of dining options available; additionally, there are shops throughout the park where you can pick up souvenirs to remind you of your stay.
Address:2574 US-30, Ligonier, PA 15658
Phone: (724) 238-3666
Kennywood, West Mifflin
If you’re looking for an amusement park that offers fun for all ages, Kennywood is the place for you. Starting as a humble trolley park when it first opened in 1898, it has grown over the years to become one of Pennsylvania’s largest and most popular amusement parks. While most of their attractions are much older compared to others, you won’t be disappointed by the wide range of modern rides that are perfect for thrill seekers.
Offering close to 50 different rides, Kennywood’s main attractions are the unique roller coasters it offers. However, many visitors also love other rides such as:
- Sky coaster
- Phantom’s Revenge
- Jack Rabbit
- And more
If you’re traveling with little ones, they’ll enjoy Kiddieland, where there are plenty of activities for them to do or you can take them with you on water rides to cool off during summer. Because the park’s unique rides and attractions are from the early 1900s, it has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Address: 4800 Kennywood Blvd, West Mifflin, PA 15122
Phone: (412) 461-0500
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg
Are you looking for an adrenaline rush and to feel the intense thrill of rides that are unmatched in the state? Then head over to Knoebels Amusement Park, which has continued to thrill tourists and locals for the past 90 years. Since 1926, the park has been family owned and operated, holding the honor of being the biggest free-admission amusement park in the country.
Throughout the years, Knoebels Amusement Park has continued to offer more rides and activities — the latest is the Tornado, which will provide you with the fun and adventures you crave. Apart from this, you’ll find even more rides, such as:
- The Phoenix
- The Impulse
- The Twister
- Haunted Mansion
- Giant Flume
- And more
With 60 other rides to choose from, everyone is sure to find something for their taste. You’ll also find relaxing activities such as golfing, swimming, or shopping. Inside the park, you can also choose from food options between a bar, restaurant, picnic facilities, and many concession stands.
Address: 391 Knoebels Blvd, Elysburg, PA 17824
Phone: (570) 672-2572
Lakemont Park, Altoona
Lakemont Park is another place with a long history. The park opened in 1894; its friction wooden coaster, called “Leap the Dips,” is the oldest roller coaster that’s still operational. Located on a 51-acre property in Altoona, it offers over 30 rides, including many water slides and roller coasters. Some of the park’s attractions and rides include:
- The Paddle Boats
- The Go-Carts
- The Skyliner Roller Coaster
- The Toboggan Roller Coaster
- Little Leaper Roller Coaster
While most rides will be included in the admission price, there are a few additional fees when it comes to certain rides. Additionally, you’ll find three waterslides and activity pools inside to help you beat the heat. The park is open between May and Labor Day every summer, and also opens for Christmas to share a lights show for the holidays.
Address: 700 Park Ave, Altoona, PA 16602
Phone: (814) 949-7275
Sesame Place, Langhorne
Sesame Place is the perfect place to be for families with children; it’s the only theme park that’s based on Sesame Street, the iconic kid’s TV show. Be sure to bring the whole family to splash, twist, and whirl in pools, relax in the lazy river, and meet and greet their favorite characters. Featuring different attractions and rides with Sesame Street themes, Sesame Place is perfect for kids and kids at heart.
Here are some of the park’s most beloved attractions:
- Cookie’s Monster Land
- Elmo & Friends
- Elmo the Musical
- The Magic of Art
- And more
Visitors also love other highlights of the park, such as their gift shops, buffet-style meals, live musical shows, and meet and greets with characters from Sesame Street. To get the most out of your visit here, be sure to visit between April and January when the park hosts various parades and shows during Halloween and Christmas.
Address: 100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne, PA 19047
Phone: (215) 702-3566
Waldameer Park, Erie
Dating back to the 19th century, Waldameer Park is yet another one of Pennsylvania’s oldest parks. Despite this, it still offers a wide range of rides and plenty of things to do for the whole family. Both adults and children can enjoy exciting roller coasters, thrilling rides, and family-friendly attractions.
Be sure to try these great attractions and rides to get the most out of your visit:
- Ravine Flyer II
- Battle of Lake Erie
- Bermuda Triangle
- Endless River
- Giant Wave Pool
- X Scream
- Mega Vortex
- And more
Located right at the base of Presque Isle, this family-owned amusement park offers over 100 various attractions that every family will love. Once you’ve had enough thrills, you can grab a bite from one of the many concession stands, play games, or catch a show by the theater located on site.
Address: 3100 W Lake Rd, Erie, PA 16505
Phone: (814) 838-3591
Plan Your Trip to the Best Amusement Parks in Pennsylvania Today!
Now that you know just how much Pennsylvania has to offer in terms of amusement parks, hurry and pack your family’s bags and head straight to one of the parks above. Whether you wish to visit during summer or spring, there are plenty of choices for you to consider, and tons of parks that are rich in history. However, even the older options can provide you with the thrills you’re looking for, as well as the kind of entertainment that will bring a genuine smile to your child’s face.
Looking to explore Pennsylvania? Here are some other great things to do in the state: