Family Amusement Parks
School is out and there's no better way to celebrate summer than with a trip to the amusement park. These amusement parks have something for kids of all ages -- from preschoolers to teens -- with carousels, Ferris wheels and coasters of all shapes and sizes.
Creative LEGO architects will be stunned by the magnificent displays created using the iconic building toy. There are over 50 rides made out of LEGOs, from mini cars at the Volvo Junior Driving School to roller coasters for more adventurous tots. Miniland USA is a replica of 7 regions throughout the US, from the Las Vegas Strip to New York's skyscrapers, constructed from 20 million LEGO bricks.
Cedar Point amusement park is the reigning roller coaster king with 17 coasters that propel visitors through mind-boggling loops, twists and corkscrews. These thrill rides are sure to score mom and dad bonus points with the tweens and teens. But if your little ones aren't ready for the Top Thrill Dragster, the 19-foot-tall Jr. Gemini provides a smaller dose of excitement with top speeds of 6 mph. Beyond the coasters, young families can spend an entire day enjoying the rides at Kiddy Kingdom, Camp Snoopy and Planet Snoopy. Discount tickets are available for guests over 3 who measure less than 48 inches tall.
While most amusement parks have a section geared toward little kids, Sesame Place is the only one devoted entirely them, featuring the beloved Sesame Street characters. Preschoolers and their parents can see this magical TV show come to life with colorful rides, waterslides and joyful parades. Get on line early for the live production of Elmo's World where the furry red monster and his pals interact with the kids.
Knoebels Amusement Resort
Knoebels has a long history of entertaining visitors since the early 1900s when guests paid for a tally-ho hay ride and the chance to feed and brush the horses. Today, there are plenty of kiddie rides, coasters and classic family rides like the whip and a giant Ferris wheel. The pay-per-ride policy allows families to customize their trip and pay for just those rides the kids want to try for rates ranging from 75 cents to 3 dollars, or you can splurge for the "ride-all-day" plan for endless fun.
Paramount King's Island
At King's Island, siblings can blow off steam with some crashing and smashing on the Dodgem bumper cars or take a dizzying spin on the classic midway attraction, the Scrambler. Then the family might separate so the daredevils can take the plunge on the 215-foot steel Diamondback coaster while younger kids enjoy the 4 kiddie coasters at Planet Snoopy. The whole family can work together as a team to avoid getting completely soaked during a rugged river ride aboard the 6-person raft at Whitewater Canyon.