There are more than 1,000 theme and amusement parks throughout the world, ranging from small family parks to thrill-seeking paradises and elaborate fantasy lands. To find the best park for your next trip, trust expert thrill seekers who suggest the most thrilling park rides, challenging games, and delicious park foods.
Best Amusement Parks Around the World
Some of the best theme parks and amusement parks are easily recognized by their name alone. While there are a few standout parks with only one location, many popular parks now have multiple locations around the world.
King's Island in Ohio
Considered the largest amusement park in the Midwest, Ohio's King's Island is a great destination for thrill seekers and families alike. Featuring wooden and steel roller coasters, a kiddie area, and a water park, it's got everything you want in an amusement park.
Alton Towers in Britain
Considered one of the best theme parks in Britain, Alton Towers in Staffordshire features multiple themed areas similar to Disney parks. With family-friendly attractions and cutting-edge roller coasters, Alton Towers is a great destination for families or adults.
Ripley's Believe It or Not Attractions
Ripley's Believe It or Not is a brand known for bringing the unique and odd to your vacation. With 32 individual locations in ten different countries, people from all over the world can marvel at oddities.
- Odditorium locations include New York, Tennessee, and South Carolina in the U.S.
- Aquariums can be found both in the U.S. and in Toronto, Canada.
- Ripley's Haunted Adventures were made just for older kids and adults, but other themed attractions include mini golf courses and Guinness World Record Museums.
Legoland Around the World
Legos are the interlocking brick toy of choice for kids all around the world, so it's no surprise there are theme parks dedicated to these tiny building toys. Legoland theme park locations include California in the U.S., Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Each park is filled with elaborate Lego sculptures, fun rides for kids, and interactive opportunities.
Cool Character Theme Parks
Kids and adults fall in love with characters from books, TV shows, and movies, so some theme parks are centered on these beloved characters to draw in the crowds.
Kids get the chance to actually visit Sesame Street at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. This child-centered theme park features regular shows featuring all your favorite Sesame Street characters like Big Bird and Elmo. There are also rides, games, and a water park perfect for younger kids.
If you love Hello Kitty, Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo is where you want to go. Souvenirs are as big a part of this park as are the rides. You can meet Hello Kitty and other characters from her world and purchase unique themed items to take home.
Land of Oz
When you want a unique trip down memory lane, follow the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz in North Carolina. Once a booming theme park dedicated to the book and movie, The Wizard of Oz, the park is now private and only open to the public for weekend each year. You can rent Dorothy's cottage and travel the yellow brick road through beautiful gardens reminiscent of Munchkinland.
Unique Theme and Amusement Parks
Take a unique trip to an original amusement park unlike anything you've experienced before. While it may seem difficult to create a one-of-a-kind theme park, there are some that approach fun from unique angles.
Hersheypark Amusement Park
If you love Hershey's chocolate, you'll love Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. This unique theme park is all about chocolate and the company's iconic candy bars. As you walk around you can take pictures with lifesize Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and enjoy a variety of thrill rides. The entire town surrounding the park is Hershey themed too, so make your stay comprehensive by staying in the Hershey Lodge and strolling the main street lined with Hershey Kiss shaped street lights.
Diggerland USA Theme Park
Park guests get to try out operating heavy equipment at Diggerland USA in New Jersey. The concept of this park was borrowed from similar ones in the U.K., but Diggerland USA is the only one in the U.S. Modified for safety, real heavy equipment like excavators and dump trucks are the rides.
If accessibility is a concern, Morgan's Wonderland in Texas is an original amusement park that features wheelchair accessible rides and attractions. Many of the theme parks roaming characters have special needs and flaunt them as superpowers. All of the rides have been designed to include people of all ability levels and those with or without special mobility equipment.
Awesome Amusement Park Rides
Some theme park rides are completely unique, but most are versions of a few classic types of rides.
- Vintage amusement park rides found at most parks include the carousel, swings, and a Ferris wheel.
- One of the most iconic park rides is a roller coaster, which can feature loops, nearly vertical inclines, extremely high speeds, and even unique seating arrangements.
- Combine your love of roller coasters and water slides by riding a log flume ride.
- Drop towers like the Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom in California often make Top 10 Thrill Ride lists because of their intense adrenaline rush.
Add Amusement Parks to Your Vacation Bucket List
Because them parks and amusement parks are self-contained with attractions, dining, entertainment, shopping, and other features right inside the gates, they are a convenient option for guests to enjoy many things without visiting different places. With a trip to a theme park you can experience fantasy worlds in real life, test your own limits, and create great memories.