Photo source: Flickr - Roller Coaster Philosophy
No summer in the U.S. is complete without the thrills and fantasy rides found in amusement parks. This is where you go to test your fears, pump your adrenaline, and even escape reality for a while all in the name of fun! The U.S. has plenty of fun amusement parks spread all over the country, so here I'll list some of the best parks you should visit at least once in your lifetime.
1. Universal Orlando - Orlando, Florida
Technically, this one counts as two parks since Universal Orlando is composed of Universal Studios Florida and Universal Island of Adventures. Both parks are next to each other, and both are unique. Universal Studios taps into the fictional world of movies and TV like Spider Man, Terminator 2, The Simpsons, Men in Black, and more. They are all presented in visually rich rides that use the best of today's technology to make every moment in the ride feel as real and thrilling as possible.
Island of Adventures, on the other hand, has the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with a life-size replica of the Hogwarts castle and several Harry Potter themed attractions. In addition, it includes several thrilling roller coasters like Dueling Dragons and The Hulk.
Have in mind that these two parks are amongst the most popular in the world, so you should expect big crowds and long lines - but they are worth it!
2. Six Flags Magic Mountain - Valencia, California
Six Flags parks can be found in several states, but Six Flags Magic Mountain in California is considered to be one of the best in the franchise. It is famous for some of the most extreme roller coasters in the world: like X, the world's first 4-dimension rollercoaster with seats rotating 360 degrees; Riddler's Revenge, a heart-stopping standing rollercoaster; and Apocalypse, a wooden rollercoaster that will whip your body at high speeds through every twist and turn.
Six Flags is famous for its thrills, but it also has several lighter rides for kids and adults alike.
3. Busch Gardens - Tampa, Florida
This amusement park is half zoo, half thrill rides and all fun. On one side, you can walk through its gardens and feel like you're in the Amazon jungle, surrounded by birds and all kinds of wildlife. On the other, you'll feel like you're in the African savannah, with the lions and cheetahs just a few feet away. But beyond the animals, Busch Gardens presents some of the most thrilling rides you can find in any amusement park. From old classics like Kumba to the newer Falcon's Fury, you'll get that high-level adrenaline rush you're looking for. And what's best is that Busch Gardens blends both themes in the park very well, so there will be moments when you'll be riding a rollercoaster and see an animal just a few feet away from you.
4. Walt Disney World - Orlando, Florida
Another park that is not just one park, but a conglomerate of parks is the Happiest Place on Earth. Walt Disney World focuses on rides and experiences the whole family can enjoy together whether it is a good old-fashioned show or a modern digital ride.
The four major parks are Magic Kingdom, the central and most important park where Disney classics come to life; Hollywood Studios, where movies become a real life experience; Epcot, where you'll experience a taste of different countries from around the world; and Animal Kingdom, where you'll experience thrills surrounded by wildlife and nature.
Walt Disney World is the largest amusement complex in the country, so expect to spend a few days hopping between its different parks.
5. Cedar Point - Sandusky, Ohio
I'll close the list with the king of thrill rides and roller coasters in the United States: Cedar Point. Cedar Point has been voted the best amusement park dozens of times, a title well earned due to their constant delivery of record-breaking rides. With over seventeen roller coasters, Cedar Point is not for the faint heart. Ride after ride, you will be tossed, turned, dropped and twisted in ways you never imagined.
But, thrills are not the only thing Cedar Point offers. There are also award-winning shows for the family and several recommended restaurants in the park, making it a versatile experience for the entire family.
So there you have it. Now you know where to get your adrenaline fix this summer! Which ones have you visited so far? Which one is next on your list?
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