Take the Kids: Dutch Wonderland
In the heart of Amish Country lies this sweet amusement park — perfect for little adventurers.
This charming 43-acre park has long been a staple for Jersey families looking for pint-sized thrills. We love its regal renaissance theme (with mascot Duke the Dragon) and location near Amish country, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and Hershey Park, which makes it easy to combine with a few other destinations for a weekend of fun.
You’ll find plenty of familiar amusement rides here but the standouts are the unique attractions, like Wonder House’s optical illusion maze, the monorail that scales the perimeter of the park and the Gondola Cruise, which sails around Exploration Island. There’s also an old-school wooden coaster (The Kingdom Coaster), a smaller family one (Joust Family Coaster) and a mini-whip ride made just for kids under 54”. Your clan can prance on ponies (for an extra fee) or take a spin on the Sunoco Turnpike—an “antique” car ride that crosses Exploration Island. New this summer is the Bon Voyage Balloon Chase—a sweet teacup-like ride that spins passengers in the air.
Open just a year, the island is home to 20 life-like animatronic dinosaurs that move and make noise as you walk along the wooded path. Kids can take even control of one of the dinos, making him lift his claws or tilt his head. Also a hit: the giant fossil dig area, where explorers-in-training use shovels or little claws to unearth prehistoric treasures.
Bring your swim gear to take full advantage of the water park (included with admission), open all summer long. Cool off in the giant tropical-themed splash and spray area, made infinitely more fun by kid-operated hoses set in super safe zero-depth pools. Bigger adventurers will love the taller and faster slides and everyone will appreciate the cabanas available to rent. Spend a full day here, or tack it on to the end of your afternoon after you’ve done the dry parts of the park.
Don’t miss the many stage shows and meet-and-greets (where you can snap a pic and steal a hug from Duke or Princess Brooke). The dive shows are the best of the bunch—they’re often funny and feature (impressively) high-flying aqua acrobatics.
Keep in Mind
Everyone will find something fun here, but kids 10 and up might prefer the bigger thrill rides at nearby Hershey Park. If you think this might be your crew, consider purchasing discount combo tickets—made possible by the fact that Hershey and Dutch Wonderland have the same owners.
2249 Lincoln Highway East
Hours vary, but are typically 10 am–8:30 pm daily during the summer
Admission: $40 per person (3–59), children under 2 are free, seniors (60–69) are $35 and seniors (70+) are $27.
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