Just along for the rides: Your guide to Pennsylvania amusement parksBy Brett Dworski, Tribune Brand Publishing
A family, a sense of anticipation that?s been building all week, a car packed with kids ? and you don?t get back home until dark. Your destination: a fun-filled amusement park where everyone spends the entire day being thrilled, getting splashed on, eating summertime treats and creating family memories that last a lifetime.
No matter where you live around Allentown, summer excitement isn?t far away. Check out our list of Pennsylvania?s many unique amusement parks that offer everything from high-speed roller coasters to laid-back picnicking. As an added bonus, all of these parks are easy to reach by car.
Parks vary in whether admission is charged and if admission includes rides. Some also offer discounts for online purchases, as well as other promotions, so call ahead before hitting the road.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
3830 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Established in 1884 by Solomon Dorney, this Allentown attraction is one of the state?s more popular amusement parks. And no wonder: One minute, visitors can be riding one of the famous roller coasters; the next, they can be swooshing down a crazy waterslide. The fun doesn?t stop with rides, as live music and dance performances are featured daily as well.
Max Curewitz, 19, a sports marketing student at Indiana University and resident of Yardley, Pennsylvania, has visited Dorney Park numerous times. Curewitz says the summer camp where he works takes kids there every year. ?I like the water park better than the roller coasters, but that?s because I?ve been on the roller coasters so many times.?
100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Recipient of the 2000 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Applause Award, Hersheypark also has been a fan favorite for years. A visit can get you a ride on the first looping roller coaster installed on the East Coast, live entertainment at the famous Hersheypark Amphitheater, quality dining and more.
Adam Baker, 21, a student at Indiana University and resident of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, has visited Hersheypark numerous times. He admires the park?s hospitality. ?Hersheypark has awesome hotel packages,? Baker says.
Knoebels Amusement Resort
391 Knoebels Blvd, Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Just about everyone in Pennsylvania knows about Knoebels Amusement Resort, which has been family owned for nearly 90 years and is still going strong as America?s largest free-admission amusement park. With more than 60 rides and award-winning food, Knoebels is a favorite destination for many area residents.
David Lipnicky, public relations director for American Coaster Enthusiasts, knows the attractions of Knoebels well.
?It?s my happy place,? Lipnicky says. ?It?s a great family-owned park, which is very rare to find today. Their collection of roller coasters is great, too, with rides for thrill-seekers and families, as well.?
Above all, Lipnicky praises the bumper cars. ?They have the best in the nation, maybe even the world,? he says. ?Old-fashioned and still in great condition.?
100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Open since 1980, Sesame Place has the distinction of being America?s only theme park entirely based on ?Sesame Street.? Every attraction brings back the joyous memories of watching one of the most successful children?s television series of all time. You can spend time in Cookie Monster Land, Elmo?s World, or even on Bert & Ernie?s Slip & Slide.