From the newest coasters that dangle you from high above the track to the latest water slides that keep you completely in the dark, the region’s amusement parks offer ways to cool off, face your fears, and experience plain old fun with the whole family.
2245 Route 110, Farmingdale, Long Island
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, then weekends through November 1. 11am-11pm weekdays and 12pm-11pm weekends. Price: FREE admission. Single tickets: $1 (3-5 tickets per ride). Pay One Price (P.O.P.) bracelet: 48” and over $24.99; under 48” $20.99. FREE parking.
Open since 1962, there are rollercoasters; family, kiddie and water rides; and games. The Flying Puppies in Kiddieland debuts this year (for kids under 48”) and a new indoor arcade features games like Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune, and The Price is Right.
Coney Island Cyclone
834 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day at noon.
One of the only continually operated wooden coasters in the nation, the world famous Cyclone is one of the main attractions at Coney Island, which also includes the beach, the boardwalk, and New York Aquarium. It is listed in the New York State Register of Historic Places and occupies the space that held the world‘s very first rollercoaster.
2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, then weekends through October 11. 10am-8:30pm.
Prices: Ages 3 and up $30.95; ages 60-69 $25.95; ages 70 and over $18.95; 2 and under FREE.
Featuring 30 rides, including two kid-friendly coasters, water rides, and a merry-go-round. Additions for 2009 include a new family-friendly spinning ride called The Twister, and A Dragon’s Tale, a high-dive show. New cabana rentals are available at Duke’s Lagoon.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
4000 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, PA
Hours: Daily through Labor Day, then Saturdays and Sundays, September 26-November 1. Varying hours. Full schedule available online.
Prices: $39.99; seniors and kids over 3 but under 48” and 62 and over, $19.99; ages 2 and under FREE.
New for 2009 is the 603-seat Good Time Theatre, which will host Snoopy Rocks on Ice.
100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, then Saturdays and Sundays through September 26. 10am-10pm, later on some weekends. Boardwalk hours close earlier.
Prices: Regular (ages 9-54) $51.95; senior (55-69) or junior (3-8) $30.95; senior+ (70+) $20.95; kids under 2 FREE. Check website for special discounts.
Two new water elements will be added to the boardwalk: SEAquel, which offers a 378,000-gallon wave pool called “The Shore,” and a lazy-river attraction, Inter-coastal Waterway.
271 Enterprise Drive, Bristol, CT
Hours: Open weekends, then daily June 13-August 30. 11am-8pm; some days open later. Check website.
Prices: Regular (52" and taller) $34.99; junior (under 52") $25.99; senior (over 60 years) $17.99; children 3 years and under FREE. After 5pm, $17.99 for all ages. Free soft drinks.
Water park, a few rollercoasters, and kids’ area for ages 3-10. Three new waterslides called Tunnel Twisters, a new Wipe Out ride, and Jolly Jester mini pirate ship debut this year.
Land of Make Believe
354 Great Meadows Road, Route 611, Hope, NJ
Hours: Open weekends through June 14, then daily June 20-Labor Day. 10am-6pm.
Prices: Adults $21; ages 2-18 $23; seniors 62+, $19; under 24 months FREE. Includes parking, attractions, rides, shows, family picnic area and Pirate’s Cove Waterpark.
Enjoy attractions like Free Fallin’, a plunging thrill ride, and the waterslide Pirate’s Plunge.
Mountain Creek Waterpark
200 Route 94, Vernon, NJ
Hours: Weekends only starting June 6; open daily June 23-Labor Day. 11am-6pm (opens/closes later certain days).
Prices: Over 48” $34.99; under 48” and seniors $24.99.
This wild water park has ‘extreme thrills’ and ‘wild rides’ for those over 48”; the ‘just for kids’ area has sprays, slides, a Fishing Village and a water play fort. The new Alpine Pipeline lets riders enter a pitch-black flume, in which they’ll rocket down a mountain at avalanche speed in total darkness.
Playland Parkway, Rye, NY
Hours: Open daily June 20-Labor Day. Tuesday-Sunday. Also Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13. Hours vary. Check the website.
Prices: The new, low pay-one-price admission is $30 for an All Day Fun Band or $25 for a Twilight Fun Band (6pm or after). Westchester County residents receive $5 off with beach, pool and mini golf access. A Junior Fun Band, for children under 36”, provides unlimited free access on select park rides, with adult purchase.
There’s a separate kiddieland for kids up to age 7, more than 50 rides and attractions for children and adults, and free entertainment.
Quassy Amusement Park
2132 Middlebury Road (Rte. 64), Middlebury, CT
Hours: Open daily June 12-Labor Day. Hours vary. Check the website.
Prices: Pay-one-price: over 45” $21; under 45” $17. Individual tickets $3; book of 12 tickets $27; each ride is one ticket.
Enter the park through a new park entrance and enjoy the new Kiddie Play Port, a mega playground complete with slides and crawl-through spaces.
100 Sesame Road. Langhorne, PA
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, then Saturdays and Sundays September 12-October 31.10am-8pm, but times vary in June, July, August.
Prices: $50.95; seniors 55+ $45.95; kids under 2 FREE. $15 general parking.
Rides, water slides, colorful shows and furry friends. A brand new water attraction, The Count’s Splash Castle, opens for the season.
Six Flags Great Adventure
1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson, NJ
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, then Saturdays and Sundays through November 1, as well as Fridays in October. Safari Park opens 9am, Six Flags at 10:30am, and close times vary.
Prices: $49.99; junior (under 54”) $29.99. 3-park, which includes Wild Safari and Hurricane Harbor water park, $84.99; $48.99 for juniors; ages 2 and under FREE. Online $39.99 for adults.
Fireworks displays, called Saturday Night Lights, will be held every Saturday from July 4-September 5. Glow in the Park, a musical nighttime light parade, is expanding with new floats, and the Bizarro coaster, a redesign of the first floor-less Medusa coaster, makes its debut, complete with fog and fiery flame.
2549 Splish Splash Drive, Calverton, NY
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays; then daily June 19-Labor Day. Call for hours.
Prices: $35.99; under 48” tall, seniors 62+, and handicapped $26.99; children 3 and under FREE.
Ninety-six exciting acres of rides and water slides for all ages. New for 2009 is Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror, a new water ride featuring a 40-foot drop and high-speed spins against a backdrop of total darkness.
Wollman Rink, Central Park, NYC
Hours: Mid-May through September, open daily. Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm; Friday 11am-8pm; Saturday 10am-9pm; Sunday 10am-8pm. Hours subject to change.
Prices: $6.50 weekdays, $7.50 weekends, plus $2-$3 for rides and games; unlimited-ride wristbands available. Children under 36" FREE.
Big thrills for small kids, plus you’re in Central Park! Live performances every Saturday and Sunday all season.
91 Shady Glen Road, East Durham, NY
Hours: Open June 26-Labor Day; weekdays 10am-6pm, weekends 10am-7pm.
Prices: $23.95; ages 7 and under $19.95; spectator pass $12.95; infants FREE.
Featuring safe and fun water slides, the 10,000-gallon-a-minute Wild River Ride, the Black Vortex where you can splash in the dark, the Lagoon Activity Pool, and a lazy river.