The problem with a lot of theme parks these days is that they’re not always fun for the entire family. Sure, most of the time they’re just great for the kids. But for the parents, it may not be all that much fun at all.
First off, you have the costs: lodgings, parking, entrance fees, food and snacks, souvenirs and all the other purchases can really rack up the total bill. And lots of parents don’t particularly like many of the childish rides that they’re forced to ride on just to accompany their kids.
But there are some US theme parks that actually offer some respite for the parents, and they may even be quite fun for the adults. And they don’t have to be the more famous theme parks like the Disney parks that are often crowded and overly expensive.
So, if you’re a parent planning to go on vacation with the kids, and you want to have a better time for yourself, consider the following amusement parks instead.
1. Luna Park in Brooklyn, New York
This is great if you’re already in NYC, as you can reach this place with a simple subway ride and you won’t need to pay for lodgings. This is where your family can enjoy some time with the B&B Carousel and the Cyclone, while you won’t find the newly rebuilt Thunderbolt roller coaster all that boring.
The prices are much more reasonable here, at $62 (or so) for adults and $38 for kids under 48 inches. The kids will enjoy the various rides and a visit to the beach, while the adults can indulge with some Totonno’s pizzas and Nathan’s hotdogs. There’s even a nearby brewery, so there’s beer as well.
2. Lagoon in Farmington, Utah
Adults only pay $80 and it’s $62 for the kids. It’s more expensive than Luna Park, but then you’re getting dozens of rides along with 9 roller coasters. Lots of the features here were designed with both kids and adults in mind, and that goes for the campground nearby, a waterpark with a landlocked beach, a pioneer village, and the live shows.
3. Playland in Rye, New York
This is even more affordable, as adults only pay $30 and it’s $20 for the kids. And if you’re sure you won’t go for any of the rides, it’s only $10.
If you’re a parent, then you might recognize this place as the amusement park where Tom Hanks got Big. This place is basically like Coney Island, as you have roller coasters, live bands, a swimming pool, and its own stretch of beach along the Long Island Sound.
4. Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
This place started out in 1899, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s one of the amusement parks that are regarded as a National Historic Landmark. It features a pair of roller coasters named the Racer and the Jack Rabbit, which were built way back in the 1920s. While the kids enjoy the Thomas the Tank engine area, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll among the Victorian windmills and fountains. It’s very pretty here, and it only costs $50 for weekdays and $60 for the weekends.
5. Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon
This is another old place that started out in 1905. While you don’t have huge rides and cartoon characters gallivanting around, you do have carnival games, mini golf, some kiddie rides, and even some rides for the adults.
There’s also the original skating rink along with a live pipe organist. The rink even floats on barrels, when the Willamette River nearby floods. You can go skating for $12 and that includes the rental cost for the skates. The rink is open for your kids to enjoy, even when you’re enjoying yourself during the fresh-hop beer festival or during the Oktoberfest beer parties.
6. Knoebels in Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Lots of parents love it here, since the costs are so low. It’s free to park, to enter, and to enjoy the various live entertainment. You do pay for rides, but a summer ride pass is only $48 for the adults, and just $32 for the ones under 4 feet. Adults can enjoy a whole day in the swimming pool with slides for only $13.50, and it’s just 411.50 for the kids.
There’s also an 18-hole golf course that costs $23 on weekdays and $30 on weekends. You have various restaurants and snack bars, plus the Nickle Plate Bar & Grill serves beers, cocktails, and happy-hour specials.