The 15 Best Amusement Parks for Kids

Ready to plan a family trip? These 15 amusement parks are kid heaven -- and you'll like them too.

An image of people on a rollercoaster with masks on.
Photo: Getty Images.
01 of 15

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park
Courtesy of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Orlando, FL

We had to start with the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Yes, Magic Kingdom is massive and a day there can be exhausting, but there's really something for everyone -- and the characters and stories that inspired the attractions have a soft spot in our hearts, which is why families from all over the world flock there every year.

For little kids: Take a boat ride and sing the infectious song at "it's a small world;" tour Mickey and Minnie's homes.

For big kids: Don't miss favorite coasters Space Mountain and Splash Mountain.

For parents: Cool off and rest your feet at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, where you can take in a comedy show for all ages to enjoy. Baby Care Centers include nursing rooms, changing tables, family bathrooms, feeding area with highchairs, and a microwave, oven and sink.

Getting around: The park offers a variety of accommodations and assistance for people with disabilities.

02 of 15

Legoland California Resort

Courtesy of Legoland California Resort

Carlsbad, CA

The obsession with Legos lives large at this building-block-inspired resort. It's part amusement park, part science center, part look-what-we-built-with-Legos exhibit.

For little kids: Head to Fun Town with your preschoolers, where they can play with Duplos, drive a mini car, and see how Legos are made.

For big kids: The Land of Adventure has several exciting rides. Big kids will probably also want to spend a day at the water park.

For parents: It's not just burgers and dogs at this resort. Fun Town Market features fresh foods made right before your eyes. Fun Town has a baby care area with chairs for nursing, highchairs, a fridge, and a microwave.

Getting around: Strollers, wheelchairs, and electric convenience vehicles can be rented onsite on a first-come first-served basis. If you're visiting a few days and don't want a long drive, you can stay right on the premises at the Legoland Hotel.

03 of 15

Schlitterbahn Water Park & Resort

Schlitterbahn Water Park & Resort
Courtesy of Schlitterbahn Water Park

New Braunfels, TX

This vast water park sits on a whopping 65 acres, and wins the title of best water park again and again. Prepare for a long, full day of pruney fingers and splashing good fun.

For little kids: There are more places for preschoolers to wade, splash, and slide than you may expect: Pollywog Pond, Tadpole Kiddie Pool, Kinderhaven, and Butterfly Bayou, to name a few.

For big kids: Tube chutes, an "uphill water coaster," speed slides and giant conveyer belt to tube on are just a few attractions they'll want to make repeat appearances on.

For parents: Renting a cabana where everyone can convene and rest is probably a good idea. You can also borrow life vests for small kids.

Getting around: Everyone who goes to the park pays for admission, even if they don't ride the rides. But if Grandma or Grandpa are coming along and just want to watch, ask for the "Senior Spectator" rate.

04 of 15

Sesame Place

Sesame Place
Courtesy of Sesame Place

Langhorne, PA

You probably watched Sesame Street as a kid, and we're guessing your little ones love Elmo and the gang, too -- which is why this Muppet-themed park is a hit with everyone in the family.

For little kids: Mini Monster Clubhouse is a safe play area just for kids 5 and under.

For big kids: Don't forget their swimsuits! There are a variety of water slides and a wave pool to keep kids cool during the summer days. Steel coaster Vapor Trail is a thrill. And don't miss the new rides for 2015: The Count's Fly By and The Castle Swing.

For parents: Take note: There's a Starbucks at Elmo's Eatery. For baby care, there's a private nursing station, baby bottle warmers, and changing tables in all park restrooms. Strollers can be rented in advance online, and private cabanas can be rented near the pool.

Getting around: The park offers a variety of accommodations and assistance for people with disabilities.

05 of 15

Knotts Berry Farm

Knotts Berry Farm
Courtesy of Knotts Berry Farm

Buena Park, CA

From the name, you'd think this was your friendly, neighborhood petting farm, but it's actually a full-fledged amusement park complete with family rides, coasters, live entertainment, and shopping. There's a separate water park, too. Running themes include the Wild West, Peanuts characters, and Native American culture.

For little kids: Ride the Calico Railroad or take to the air on the Balloon Race ride.

For big kids: There's a wide variety of rides and activities for kids of different sizes, and dare-devilishness! Bigfoot Rapids is a perennial hit, and new this year is the Iron Reef, a 4-D interactive ride.

For parents: Sign up for KidTrack when you enter -- a wristband will help you reunite with your child if you get separated within the park. There are baby changing and nursing stations, and there are single and double wheelchairs available for rent.

Getting around: Wheelchairs and electronic convenience vehicles can be rented on a first-come first-served basis. Alternate access entrances allow people with accessibility issues easier access to some attractions.

06 of 15


Courtesy of Hersheypark

Hershey, PA

This Pennsylvania park is pretty sweet. Height stations have fun, candy-themed names ("Hershey's Miniatures," Hershey's Kisses," "Twizzlers," etc.) that clue kids into which rides are right for them. And you can stay dry on typical rides or get wet in the crazy-cool water park.

For little kids: There are 20 kiddie rides, plus, a train ride, a sprinkler area, and pools.

For big kids: Daredevils will dig the 13 roller coasters. Whee!

For parents: Use the Kiddie Swap program if you're riding with small kids. One parent can get on a coaster with a big kid, while the other waits with a little one. Then, the parents can swap places without waiting in line again. There's an area for nursing and a few quiet locations if you need a break. Rent a stroller or bring your own.

Getting around: The park offers a comprehensive guide on which attractions are accessible and safe for people of different abilities, heights, weights, and health conditions. There's assistance available as well. Download the Hersheypark mobile app to navigate your way through the park and to check on wait times and show times.

07 of 15

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure
Courtesy of Universal's Islands of Adventure

Orlando, FL

Some of your family's favorite stories come to life in Universal's imaginative attractions, most notably The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Hogsmeade™, Dr. Seuss in Seuss Landing™ and Marvel Super Hero Island®.

For little kids: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™ and the Caro-Seuss-el™ are fun if they're ready for rides. There are also several play areas throughout the park for little kids -- bring swimsuits because some of them involve water play. Bonus: Kides under 3 get free admission!

For big kids: Be sure to check out new coasters and rides: Dragon Challenge™, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ and Flight of the Hippogriff™.

For parents: Park bathrooms have changing tables, and there are strollers available to rent. Park hotels have kids' activity centers complete with childcare, so you and your partner can enjoy a little time to yourselves if you want.

Getting around: The park provides a variety of accommodations for people with different disabilities, and a rider's guide that breaks down requirements for each ride.

08 of 15

Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park
Courtesy of Disneyland Park

Anaheim, CA

With the same sense of wonder and magic as the Florida park but a slightly smaller footprint (read: small kids don't have to walk as far from ride to ride), Disneyland is a must if you're heading to the West Coast.

For little kids: There's no shortage of things for preschoolers to enjoy, such as the classic Dumbo ride and Chip 'n Dale Treehouse.

For big kids: Satisfy your thrill-seekers with Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones Adventure.

For parents: Baby Care Centers include nursing rooms, changing tables, family bathrooms, and a feeding area with highchairs, a microwave, and a sink.

Getting around: The park offers a variety of accommodations and assistance for people with disabilities.

09 of 15

Cedar Point

Cedar Point
Courtesy of Cedar Point

Sandusky, Ohio

"The Roller Coaster Capital of the World" is more than just coasters. You're going to get a ton of rides, but also a dinosaur encounter, a variety of dining options, and live entertainment.

For little kids: Head to Kiddy Kingdom where little ones can drive dune buggies, have a mini helicopter ride, and more nostalgic experiences. Planet Snoopy has seven kids' rides, and Gemini Midway is middle-of-the road -- it's for kids who aren't ready for the big rides yet but want something similar.

For big kids: Obviously, the roller coasters are awesome -- new coaster Rougaroo is "floorless," meaning your feet dangle above the track as you twist turn and even ride upside-down. But also check out the 50 huge animatronic dinos at the Dinosaurs Alive experience.

For parents: Two Family Care Centers offer areas for breastfeeding and diaper changing. Sign up for KidTrack when you enter -- the system helps families reunite if they get separated within the park.

Getting around: Most shows and attractions are accessible to people with disabilities; some through alternate entrances. Those with mobility restrictions or an autism spectrum disorder are given a special Boarding Pass to ride rides at specific times, instead of waiting in the regular lines.

10 of 15

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens
Courtesy of Busch Gardens

Williamsburg, VA

You'll feel as if you're walking the streets of Europe as you traipse through Busch Gardens -- that is, until you realize you're also in close proximity to eight awesome roller coasters. And the park works to support environmental organizations, which is a plus.

For little kids: Land of the Dragons® and the Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ are for younger kids -- but were created for parents and older siblings to enjoy, too.

For big kids: New to the park in 2015: A gravity-defying coaster called Tempesto.

For parents: Strollers are available for rent, and the park has family restrooms, changing tables, nursing rooms, and kids-sized meals. Take a break and see the fun musical show Roll Out the Barrel. Look for all-ages seasonal events, like the Food & Wine Festival and Star Spangled Nights.

Getting around: The park offers a variety of accommodations for people with different disabilities, including assistive listening device for the shows. Wheelchairs and electronic convenience vehicles can be rented.

  • Visit Busch Garden's site!
11 of 15

Holiday World and Splashin' Safari

Holiday World and Splashin' Safari
Courtesy of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari

Santa Claus, IN

It's always a holiday at Holiday World. Well, four holidays, to be exact. The amusement park has sections themed after Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. Plus, there's a water park.

For little kids: Little park-goers love the merry-go-round, treehouse, and seahorse ride. Take a swim in the gentle waves in Butterfly Bay.

For big kids: Head to the full-sized wave pool with bigger kids and hit the waterslides too. Brave? Thunderbird roller coaster launched riders from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.

For parents: A few things you're going to love: There's free parking, soda, sunscreen, and Wi-Fi, and the park is known for its cleanliness. (Yep, cleanliness.) There's an air-conditioned room for nursing moms with fridges, electrical outlets, and lockers for pumps. You can also rent double stroller or wagon.

Getting around: There's an extensive accessibility guide to help disabled visitors get around the park as easily as possible.

12 of 15


Courtesy of SeaWorld

Orlando, FL

Yes, there's the show with everyone's favorite whale, Shamu, but that's just the beginning. The whole family will love meeting baby dolphins in the Dolphin Nursery and the cool new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride and exhibit.

For little kids: Get a Preschool Pass and kids 5 and younger get into the park for free in 2015. Little ones can play in Shamu's Happy Harbor, ride several sea-life-themed rides, and watch the Elmo and Abby's Treasure Hunt show.

For big kids: Shamu Express is the perfect first roller coaster for kids, and Journey to Atlantis is part water ride, part roller coaster.

For parents: A lot can be done in advance to make your day a little easier: book dolphin encounter tickets, make dinner reservations and/or get Quick Queue unlimited if you want these perks for your family.

Getting around: An extensive accessibility guide can help guide you around the park if you have any concerns. Wheelchairs and electric convenience vehicles may be rented in park and reserved in advance online or by phone.

  • Visit SeaWorld's site!
13 of 15

Story Land

Story Land
Courtesy of Story Land

Glen, NH

It may not be huge, but this park isn't short on timeless charm. Centered around everyone's favorite storybook characters, it's definitely worth a day trip. Plus, extras like Tea Time with Cinderella and character dinners don't cost a small fortune.

For little kids: Choo-choo along on the Huff & Puff Whistle Railroad, go on safari or ride a pretty swan boat. There are lots of play areas -- both dry and wet, so bring your suits! The new Dig-M-Deeper areas offer good and dirty digging fun.

For big kids: The place is mostly geared toward younger kids, but older children can enjoy the new Roar-o-Saurus -- the only wooden roller coaster of its kind in the area. Other adventures include Dr. Geyser's Remarkable Raft Ride

For parents: Single and double strollers are available for rent.

Getting around: The park suggests you call in advance if you have any mobility impairments, so they can arrange to give you extra assistance. Wheelchairs and electric convenience vehicles are available to rent.

14 of 15

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Courtesy of Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

Orlando, FL

What kid doesn't love animals? And this Disney Park takes the animal theme and runs with it -- we're talking 1,700 animals across 250 species. It's like a zoo, a safari, an amusement park and, well, Disney World, all in one.

For little kids: Definitely head with little kids to the Affection Station petting zoo and see what animal encounters are happening at the Conservation Station.

For big kids: Thrill seekers will revel in the Kali River Rapids, Dinosaur, and Expedition Everest rides.

For parents: Everyone in the family will enjoy the Kilimanjaro Safari, so don't miss it. Baby Care Centers include nursing rooms, changing tables, family bathrooms, and a feeding area with highchairs, a microwave, and sink.

Getting around: The park offers a variety of accommodations and assistance for people with disabilities.

15 of 15


Courtesy of Knoebels

Elysburg, PA

When we say Knoebels is old-school, we mean it. You don't pay for entrance to the park -- you just pay for each individual ride as you go (most around $1 to $1.75), which can come in handy if you don't know how long your toddler will tolerate the trip.

For little kids: With 23 kiddie rides to choose from, your tot won't get bored!

For big kids: There are almost as many thrill rides, so there's plenty for those who love an adrenaline rush, too. If your big kids love to be spooked, be sure to head to the Haunted Mansion.

For parents: It's not just admission that's free: Parking, entertainment, and Wi-Fi are too. Take the kids to a puppet or interactive song-and-dance show. Many of the restrooms have changing tables, but take note that more ladies rooms have them than men's rooms do. (Say what?!) Single and double strollers and wagons are available for rent.

Getting around: Electronic convenience vehicles can be rented here too.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and availabilities are subject to change. Please contact each hotel and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before taking your trip.

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