Major Amusement Parks in the US (That Aren’t Disney)

Amusement parks hold a place in the American psyche, and the current generations have grown up watching the evolution of the amusement park largely led by the archetype of all amusement parks, Disney. But there are many amusement parks other than Disney, and for families seeking an extraordinary adventure their diverse attractions, entertainment, and water parks offer the opportunity for families to bond and create memories in a fantasy setting.

  • Cedar Point

    Cedar Point

    Cedar Point amusement park, on the shore of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, is known as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” Home to over 70 rides, 18 of them roller coasters, this amusement park is for seekers of thrill-rides such as Millennium Force, Steel Vengeance, and the Top Thrill Dragster.

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  • Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando

    Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando

    With movie-titled rides straight from the Universal movie repertoire, Universal Orlando Resort is more than rollercoasters. The complex features two amusement parks, a shopping and dining district, several resorts, and many complete vacation experience packages. Rides with themes such as Harry Potter, Transformers, The Simpsons, Spider-Man, and Jurassic Park spread throughout the complex. There are also live shows, family-friendly activities, and themed restaurants such as Hard Rock Café and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

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  • Hersheypark


    Known as “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” Hersheypark combines rollercoasters and entertainment in Pennsylvania. Rollercoasters include the Great Bear, Fahrenheit, and Storm Runner. Kid-friendly attractions include more gentle rides. Performances and dance parties create a party atmosphere, while convenient accommodations are numerous. Taking its cue from the brand of chocolate, the traveler can also create their own chocolate bar at Chocolate World next door to Hersheypark.

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  • Dollywood


    Named after the beloved country singer Dolly Parton, who grew up in the area of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, this park celebrates the Smokey Mountain area in culture and heritage. It covers 160 acres and has 50 rides, including the world’s fastest wooden rollercoaster, Lightning Rod. The water park section has a lazy river and slides for all ages. Plenty of family-friendly activities are available at this wholesome park. A nearby resort is convenient for however long the traveler wishes to enjoy the park.

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  • Silver Dollar City

    Silver Dollar City

    Close to Branson, Missouri, Silver Dollar City is inspired by the theme of an 1880s Ozark Mountain Village. Featuring about 40 rides and attractions, there is also the nearby White Water water park with 13 acres of cooling down on hot days—with a 500,000-gallon wave pool to boot. Music, comedy, and theater acts play regularly. Festivals held there include National Harvest & Cowboy Festival, Bluegrass & BBQ Festival, and An Old Time Christmas. Artisans showing skills and crafts from the 1880s are numerous, while also enjoying southern food galore.

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  • Busch Gardens

    Busch Gardens

    Busch Gardens is only 10 miles out from the city of Tampa, FL. Known for its African-themed experiences, there is an immersive sense of the beauty and diversity of the African continent. These themed areas include Morocco, Egypt, and Congo. There are also themed roller coasters for thrills as well, including SheiKra, Montu, and Cheetah Hunt. Shows and performances are carried out throughout the day. Guided tours or feeding experiences are also available with lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and more.

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  • Sea World

    Sea World

    A marine-themed park in San Diego, CA, Sea World has always been known for top marine animal shows in the US. Though, education about marine is its primary purpose, with shows that are educational and entertaining. These include Shark Encounter, Penguin Encounter, and Dolphin Point… and more hands-on experiences such as feeding sea lions, touching stingrays, and swimming with dolphins. Rollercoasters are available for the thrills, and more kid-friendly activities are available. But the emphasis with all shows, rides, and experiences is on conservation and education. There is also a similar park in Orlando, FL.

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  • Universal Studios Hollywood

    Universal Studios Hollywood

    Universal Studios Hollywood, like Universal Orlando, has movie and show themes throughout the park. Located in Universal City, CA, it is only 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Popular franchise themes for the rides and coasters are Harry Potter, King Kong, Jurassic World, and even the new Super Nintendo World. There’s even a tour available of a working movie studio to show the magic behind the magic.

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  • Six Flags Magic Mountain

    Six Flags Magic Mountain

    Six Flags Magic Mountain is a 260-acre theme park in Valencia, CA. Six Flags has a history of adrenaline-spiking rides, like Twisted Colossus, X2, Full Throttle, and Tatsu. Like other parks, it also has a water park and experiences for the younger kids. Newer rides are always introduced, like WONDER WOMAN: Flight of Courage and the 75-mph whipping CraZanity.

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