Cedar Fair Parks
The following North American amusement parks are listed in order of their bang for the buck (attractions and cost of admission). The prices indicated are the posted admission fees. Discounts often are available.
1. Holiday World
Location: Santa Claus, Ind.
2012 admission: $45; $35, under 54 in. tall or age 60 and up; free, 2 and under
Why: Holiday World delivers world-class wooden roller coasters and a water park that has the two longest water coasters in the world, Mammoth and Wildebeest. Ticket prices include admission to the water park, parking, sunscreen, unlimited soft drinks and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Top attraction: The Voyage wooden roller coaster
Location: Elysburg, Pa.
2012 admission: Free; pay-per-ride tickets vary from 75 cents to $3, depending on the ride
Why: Knoebels is one of two few remaining free-admission, family-owned amusement parks in North America, and it has two classic wooden roller coasters. It also has free entertainment, free parking and free picnic facilities.
Top attraction: The Phoenix wooden roller coaster
3. Cedar Point
Location: Sandusky, Ohio
2012 admission: $52; $27, under 48 in. tall or age 62 and up; free, 2 and under
Why: Cedar Point has one of the largest collections of rides and attractions in North America, including 16 roller coasters among 58 attractions.
Top attraction: Millennium Force steel roller coaster
4. Lake Compounce
Location: Bristol, Conn.
2012 admission: $37; $27, under 52 in. tall; $18.99, age 60 and up; free, 3 and under
Why: The country’s oldest continually operating amusement park combines a nostalgia-tinged vibe with contemporary thrills. General admission includes the water park and all-you-can-drink beverages.
Top attraction: Boulder Dash wooden roller coaster
5. Santa’s Village
Location: Jefferson, N.H.
2012 admission: $27; $25, age 62 and up; free, 3 and under
Why: With its charming holiday theme and gentle rides, Santa’s village is designed especially for families who have young children. The reasonable admission fee includes parking and stroller and wheelchair rental. Pet kennels are complimentary, and the food concessions are priced reasonably.
Top attraction: The Skyway Sleigh monorail
6. Six Flags Magic Mountain
Location: Valencia, Calif.
2012 admission: $62; $37, under 48 in. tall; free, 2 and under
Why: Magic Mountain has three water rides, nine themed areas and has the most roller coasters (17) in a single park in North America. Its new Green Lantern: First Flight roller coaster is nearly worth the price of admission alone. The park is scheduled to open in summer 2012 Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, which will be a free-fall ride that has a 400-foot drop. Magic Mountain’s season passes are good at all Six Flags amusement parks.
Top attraction: Green Lantern: First Flight
7. Lakeside Amusement Park
2012 admission: $2.50; free, 2 and under. Pay-per-ride tickets are 50 cents to $3, depending on the ride. An unlimited-ride option, which includes admission, is available for $14 on weekdays and $22 on weekends and holidays.
Why: Established in 1908, Lakeside has an inviting traditional vibe that includes authentic art deco architecture and classic rides, such as the Whip and the Cyclone roller coaster. Parking is free, and visitors are allowed to tote in their own food and use the park’s picnic area.
Top attraction: The Cyclone wooden roller coaster