Nowhere can you find so many family-friendly daredevil thrills than in the USA and Canada. Here are our 10 favorite amusement and water parks in North America.
Noahs Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
In the rolling farmlands north of Madison, the Dells is mostly a kitschy schlock of taffy and fudge houses and overpriced rides, but the Arks for real. There are half a hundred slides, a couple rivers to float, an island playzone for the whippersnappers, and a new haunted water ride called the Curse of the Crypt.
Sea World, San Diego
Watching Shamu the killer whale and dolphins leap and dive is the main draw particularly if youre in the close-up soak zone but Sea World is also home to several fun splashy water rides, a couple Sesame Street-themed rides for the littlest, and an indoor Arctic experience.
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey
Home to the tallest and fastest roller coaster in America, the Kingda Ka (it drops 418 ft), Six Flags serves the 20-plus million residents of the greater New York area, so brace for lines. If youre not into hardcore thrills, theres a Wild Safari zoo and a recently refurbished 15-storey Ferris wheel.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles
Youre not likely to bump into J-Lo or Will Ferrell here, but this movie-based theme park in the heart of Hollywood has a mix of entertaining thrill rides (including The Simpsons, which debuted in 2008, and the 80-ft raft drop of Jurassic Park), plus the action-packed tram tours of the studio back lots youve seen Conan OBrien taking on The Tonight Show.
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
Always bigger than its Californian big brother, the Magic Kingdom one of several Disney parks, including MGM Studios and Epcot is the Orlando original and remains the core of central Florida trips. The indoor coaster at Space Mountain, the preJohnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean and the nightmarishly looped recording of Its a Small World are timeless. As is the progress of some lines. Be sure to pre-purchase tickets online to save at least one wait.