Ride on! Amusement parks are all about thrilling, chilling and family fun. These popular getaway spots are running full force and rolling out fresh attractions.
New rides are inspired by the likes of Big Bird and Jolly Rancher, while a log flume with a view readies for its New York City launch.
That’s just a sample of what awaits Long Islanders within a few hours (or less) of travel time at parks. Here’s a breakdown on six Northeast destinations that bring the thrill this summer.
Guests are encouraged to follow CDC recommendations about COVID-19 safety at each park.
What’s new Two exciting rides custom-designed for the iconic property debut this summer. Tony’s Express roller coaster covers 1,200 feet of track at up to 40 miles per hour. Leti’s Treasure log flume ride ascends 40 feet before a rapid descent and a splashy finale. Also, a 50-foot Sky Chaser Ropes Course and pedestrian plazas are in the works.
Pricing Prices range $38-$62 per wristband, depending on height, or $3 per ride.
Best rides for kids Fire Patrol, a race game, lets little ones channel inner first responders. Magic Bikes gives the sensation of pedaling across the sky. The Tickler roller coaster ups the thrill ante with turns, dips, drops, and OMG-force spins.
Best rides for adults Inspiring squeals of delight (and, let’s be real, fright) for 95 years, the Coney Island Cyclone wooden roller coaster is legend. Its 85-foot, 60-degree drop lets it live up to the hype. Thunderbolt, a steel roller coaster with a 90-degree drop, promises “2,233 feet of pure exhilaration.”
INFO 1000 Surf Blvd., Brooklyn 718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com
What’s new The Dream Wheel, unveiled in April at the retail and entertainment complex, rises up 300 feet and has 27 temperature-controlled gondolas for breathtaking views of Manhattan. General boarding: $27.20, ages 3-9 $18.76.
Pricing Ticket pricing varies per attraction/date/day of week
Best rides for kids Nickelodeon Universe features Dora’s Sky Railway, which gives Explorers a bird’s-eye view of the park. Paw Patrol Adventure Bay keeps kids busy sliding, climbing and playing rescue. Water, water everywhere! Cool off at DreamWorks Water Park that features a 1.5-acre wave pool, a fleet of water slides (Shrek’s Sinkhole Slammer promises to be “ogre-whelming”) and more wet-and-wild attractions. Water Park admission is $69 to $99 for ages 10 and up, $64 to $94 for ages 3 to 9. Free for kids 2 and younger.
Best rides for adults The TMNT Shellraiser roller coaster has the world's steepest drop; The Shredder is the world's tallest free-spinning coaster; and Skyline Scream, is the world's tallest indoor spinning tower. $49-$89, ages 3-9 $44-$84; prices depend on date and day of the week
Stay On-site accommodations are not offered, but local hotels can be booked through americandream.com. Packages start at $120 per night.
INFO 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, N.J.; 833-263-7326, americandream.com
What’s new LEGO City Water Playground debuts this season at the 150-acre park for families with kids ages 2-12. The park introduces new live shows, meet-and-greets with LEGOLand characters, and special events including a July Fourth fireworks spectacular.
Pricing Single-day tickets are $89.99 at gate; $67.99 online.
Best rides for kids The Dragon, is a “pink knuckle” roller coaster — one that’s “not too high, fast or scary,” says a park spokesman. The LEGO Factory Adventure Ride uses technology to let riders see themselves as LEGO miniatures.
Stay LEGOLand hotel packages, including theme park tickets, start at $177 a person per night.
INFO One Legoland Blvd., Goshen, N.Y.; 845-410-0290, Legoland.com
What’s new Big Bird’s Tour Bus, a double-decker red coach rises 16 feet into the air, going backward and forward as it revolves to give passengers the ride of their lives. Water attractions (one with an 8-foot-tall rubber ducky), family shows (one is a charmer about friendship) and a new-and-improved property-wide food and beverage program make the summer more fun.
Pricing $89.99 at the gate; starting at $49.99 online
Best rides for kids The Sunny Day Carousel is a family-friendly ride. The Vapor Trail comes with easygoing twists and turns and is the perfect first coaster experience for kids 3 and older.
Best rides for adults Life comes with curves — and so does Oscar’s Wacky Taxi, a wooden-steel hybrid roller coaster that’s great for thrill-chasers of all ages. Sky Splash is a popular family raft ride that stands six stories tall and goes from smooth, gentle sailing to a wild plunge.
Stay Sesame Place does not have an official hotel, but partners with several in the area. Some offer packages, prices vary.
INFO 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, P.A.; 215-702-3566, sesameplace.com
What’s new The 510-acre property has undergone its biggest improvements initiative ever. Medusa, the first seven-looping, top-rail floorless coaster unveiled in 1999 and later rebranded, is back with a new color scheme.
Pricing Starts at $34.99. Take note Wild Safari and Hurricane Harbor are available via separate admission.
Best rides for kids Lil’ Devil Coaster and Barnstormer are part of a newly themed area called Jr. Thrill-seekers.
Best rides for adults The name of the El Toro roller coaster means “the bull” — and you feel the power when it’s moving. Superlatives apply to the Jersey devil Coaster, the world’s longest, tallest and fastest single-rail coaster.
INFO 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, N.J. 732-928-2000, sixflags.com
What’s new The Jolly Rancher Remix, a re-imagined boomerang roller coaster, combines lights, music and scents to stir your senses. Mix’d Flavored by Jolly Rancher features four arms that lift and lower and spin 360 degrees while dodging other riders.
Pricing Ages 3 and up at the gate $76.95, $54.95 online.
Best rides for kids At 102, the Carrousel with its moving horses, stationary ponies and chariots, is a family-friendly favorite. The sooperdooperLooper is a great first coaster for thrill-seeking kids. You can take a ride break at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, an 11-acre walk-through attraction.
Best rides for adults Of the park’s 15 roller coasters, Candymonium is the tallest, fastest, longest, sweetest. It boasts a 210-foot ascent, hills and drops, and a 123-degree hammerhead curve. Great Bear, an inverted steel coaster lifts riders 90 feet off the ground and loops up to 61 mph.
Stay Hersheypark offers three accommodation options, including a lodge, hotel, and camping. Starting summer rates: $359 for lodge; $499 for hotel; $75 for camping sites and $179 for cabins.
INFO 100 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, P.A.; 717-534-3900, hersheypark.com