AMUSEMENT PARKS

Find thrilling family fun for all ages at these amusement parks.

See our guide to more outdoor play.

NY/LI

Luna Park

📍Coney Island
🎟 $43-$65

Coney Island’s iconic seaside amusement park, home of the historic Cyclone and Thunderbolt roller coasters, has dozens of family-friendly and thrill rides, dining, shops and more.

Three new major attractions include an intertwined roller coaster, a log flume, Leti’s Treasure, and NYC’s tallest ocean-side ropes courses overlooking the beach and boardwalk.

Get unlimited-ride 4-hour wristbands (buy online to save) or pay-per-ride on site. Carnival games are extra, around $5 a try. The rides are spread out in distinct areas along the boardwalk (with the totally separate Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in the middle).

🍽 A range of dining options at booths throughout the park include pizza, gelato, hot dogs, cotton candy, tacos, frozen lemonade and more. Take food to benches on the boardwalk to eat with a view (but look out for sea gulls).

🚗 Lots of street parking starting at $3 per hour. Next door to the New York Aquarium.
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Splish Splash

📍New York
🎟 $44.99-$74.99, $30/parking

Splash among 96 acres of 20 water slides, rides, and attractions, including two wavepools, a large Kiddie Area and a lazy river. Everything is close together with lots of trees and shade.

Favorite rides of my thrill-seeking 10-year-old: Bombs Away – very fast, 300-foot slides perched on a tower over 50 feet in the air. You stand in a capsule and wait a countdown until the floor drops beneath you. Hyperlight – pulsing lights and music that feel like a nightclub. Bootleggers Run – a four-man raft that actually goes uphill with new generation hydromagnetic technology.Minimum heights of 42 or 48 inches on some rides.

Stow stuff in lockers ($15) or cubbies throughout the park. Strollers can be rented for $10. There are lockers by the entrance but more conveniently located ones at ‘Doo Drop’ by the wave pool. Life jackets available throughout the park for no charge.

🍽 Dining options include Johnny Rockets, tacos, Dipping Dots, slushies and Wafel & Dinges by the entrance. Use the QR code in front of some stands to order on your phone without waiting in line.

💰 The park is cash free. Get a waterproof pouch on a lanyard for your phone (available for more at the gift shop) to pay with Apple Pay at most vendors.

🎟 Try to go early in the season or no a weekday to avoid loooong lines. A lot of rides have two lines – one to pick up the tubes, one to get on the ride.

🎟 H2Go passes allow you to skip the main line; though you will have to wait in a 20-30 minute fast pass line. Use a digital wristband to reserve rides, with waiting times varying by pice point. With the H2Go Standard Pass ($50), your reservation time will be equal to the current wait time, however, you don’t have to physically stand in line. Premium H2Go Pass ($75) cuts the digital wait time by 50%, Elite H2Go Pass ($120.00) cut the digital wait time by 90%, but you still have to wait in the fast pass line behind those that paid way less than you. Season passes also available.

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Fantasy Forest Amusement Park

📍Queens
🎟 $4.25/ride, $37.50/10 rides

A carousel created for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair by combining two historic Coney Island carousels is the centerpiece of this small, kid-friendly amusement park. Choose from 4 jumping horses, 7 standing horses, 1 menagerie animal, and 2 chariots.

Try an assortment of classic, family-friendly rides within a tree-filled landscape of Forest Park including the Corona Cobra Coaster, a western-themed train and twirling tea cups and play carnival games.

Enjoy unlimited rides until 4pm on non-holiday weekdays for $27.

Next to the Queens Zoo.

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NORTH OF NYC

LEGOLAND New York Resort

📍Goshen, NY
🎟 $59.99-$84.99, free/ages 2 & under

Explore themed LEGO lands featuring pirates, castles, Ninjago and more. There are only about a dozen rides that work for each age/height (and some are only open seaonsally), but lots of hands-on activities, interesting playgrounds and fun theming to explore. The rides are mild so not a lot of thrills for older kids, but it’s still a fun spot for any LEGO lover with imagination.

⭐️ Ride height requirements can be checked on website or in the useful LEGOLAND app (bring your phone chargers). Wait times are also updated throughout the day in the app (though we found them to not always be accurate).

⭐️ Be ready for lots of walking – the park is spread out over some hills with not much shade, so bring sunscreen. Note that the weather in Goshen can differ from that around NYC. Bring a change of clothes/socks as you may get wet on some attractions.

⭐️ Lines can get very long on busy days, with shortest waits around park opening and the hour before closing. The rides with the longest waits are usually Ninjago, The Dragon, Driving School, Fire Academy, Coast Guard Academy and The Brick Factory Ride. We recommend arrive before the official opening time and heading right to Ninjago and The Dragon or, with younger kids, LEGO City  (Driving School/Fire Academy/Coast Guard Academy ). Explore the activities, playgrounds, show etc during the peak hours, then hit the other popular rides closer to closing.

⭐️ A ‘Reserve & Ride,’ available for $110 per perspn (on top of admission), allows you to skip the line 1 time each ride and isn’t really worth it as long as you can come early/stay late. The queues have some entertainment in them, especially The Brick Factory Ride. The pass is free for disabled kids and their party; visit the Guest Services office at the entrance to the Park.

The themed lands, going clockwise from the entrance:

🧱 BRICKTOPIA: On your way in, stop at Lego Creative Workshop and sign up for an afternoon session with LEGOLAND® Master Builder – these slots can fill up within an hour of park opening. Join madcap Professor Brick on the Factory Adventure Ride – shrink to Minifigure size and witness the colorful creation process of a LEGO brick. Build & Test racing cars and earthquake proof structures in an indoor play center or contribute to an outdoor LEGO Dots Art Gallery.

🥷🏻 LEGO NINJAGO WORLD: With the help of 3D glasses and motion sensors, master the power of elements and digitally fight to save the World of Ninjago. Whirl on Jay’s Gravity Force Trainer. A twisty turny cubic playground is a hit with brave kids; ages 3-5 can explore Ninja Training Camp.

🏰 LEGO CASTLE: The Dragon Coaster is the most thrilling roller coaster, with big drops after a ride through amusing medieval scenes. The Dragon’s Apprentice is smaller and slower for younger riders (32 inches + tall).

🏴‍☠️ LEGO PIRATES: Board a LEGO boat and shoot water cannons from at passersby in Splash Battle. Be shot at on spinning boats in unique Rough Riders. Swing on a ship in Anchors Aweigh.

🚒 LEGO CITY: Compete as a team to put out fires at Fire Academy. Drive around mini-roads and earn a license in Driving School. Steer a battery powered boat among waterways at Coast Guard Academy. See 20 minute 4D LEGO films (you may get wet) in the Palace Cinema – choose from three options or see them all; a great way to pass time and rest during peak crowds. Jump, climb, and play a giant boat at The Wharf playscape.

💧WATER PLAYGROUND: Splash, slide, cool off and look for pirates. Explore waterslides and a cascading splash with 318 gallons of refreshing water, plus build a LEGO boat to float and race. Time slots available via online reservations only. Reservations are first come, first serve and open at 7 am each day.

🧱  MINILAND: During the crowded midday, explore 10 destinations of scenery and city skylines from coast to coast – including favorite NYC landmarks – all made out of LEGO bricks (22,231,368 in all). Lots of cool details and some interactive elements.

🤖 Look for amazing LEGO sculptures and LEGO Friends throughout the park. Meet a variety of favorite LEGO® characters at Meet & Greets and see them in energetic stage shows (times for both on the mobile app).

👶  Breastfeed/change diapers in  full-service DUPLO Baby Care Center in LEGO CITY as well as changing stations in all restrooms.  Quiet Rooms availble for those that may need a calm respite with sensory swings and dimmable lighting.

🛍 Several rides exit into themed gift shops with LEGO sets, costumes, LEGOLAND merchandise and more, so set spend limits in advance. Explore a wide selection of LEGO toys, including some you won’t find anywhere else, at The BIG Shop, the largest LEGO store in North America. Purchases can be held for pick-up near the exit to retrieve at the end of the day.

🎟 Prepay for tickets and parking online to save time and money. Visit on weekdays for smaller crowds. Annual passes available start at $129.99; some levels include discounts on shopping, retail and hotel stays.

🍽 Dining options include burgers, pizza, sandwiches, barbecue, snacks, dumplings, tacos, Granny’s Apple Fries ice cream, and more. You can also bring your own food. Our favorites are Smokey’s Brick-B-Que and Brickolini’s Pizza and Pasta, both counter service style with indoor seating.

Bring a water bottle for easy access water bottle re-fill stations across the park. Cooling stations activated on hot days.

🛏 Stay overnight at the LEGOLAND Hotel. Choose from very themed Pirate, Kingdom, LEGO Friends and LEGO NINJAGO rooms with separate sleeping areas for kids and fun LEGO surprises throughout. Enjoy themed play areas throughout the resort including a huge castle in the lobby, a heated resort-style pool, treasure hunts with LEGO prizes, visits from LEGO characters and daily children’s entertainment. The whole park can be done in one day, but the hotel is a worth a stay.

🚙 About 60 miles north of NYC. Parking is $25 (free for some members). Bus service available from Port Authority.

The Legoland Discovery Center Westchester in Yonkers is much smaller, closer and entirely indoors for less ambitious building fun.

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Playland Park

📍Rye, NY
🎟 $34.99, $24.99/under 48 inches tall ($5 discount for Westchester residents), $15 parking

This charming beach-side amusement park, in operation since 1928, has lots of cute rides for little ones and a few roller coasters for those taller and more daring including a historic wooden dragon coaster.

* Small enough that it can all be done in one day. Colorful, creative decor include giant toy soldiers and fireman water fountains.

* The rides aren’t built for efficient loading and lines can be very slow. Also look out for the carnival booths throughout the park, fun but at $3 a try the stuffed animals can get pricey.

* If it rains, you have the option of returning another day in the season for free.

* Don’t miss the Long Island Sound views from the ferris wheel and the old-fashioned beach boardwalk outside the park.

🌭 Limited food options throughout the park include Nathan’s hot dogs, Popeye’s Chicken, funnel cakes, pizza, cotton candy, popcorn and the usual carnival fare. Outdoor and indoor dining available at nearby dockside Charley’s Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar.

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Lake Compounce Amusement & Water Park

📍Bristol, CT
🎟 $29.99-$59.99, $30/parking

The oldest continuously operating amusement park in the US, opened in 1846, has modern thrilling roller coasters along with a classic wooden roller coaster, kiddie rides and old-fashioned charm on 332 verdant acres.

Through Sep 4, cool off on water slides, a wave pool, pirate-themed play areas and a lazy river in the Crocodile Cove water park.

Small enough that you can visit every ride in a day, especially if you pay for Speedy Passes ($14.99-$39.99). Hit Boulder Dash and Saw Mill Plunge at opening as these lines can be 90+ minutes.

Bring towels, bathing suits and a change of clothes. Locker rentals available ($18-$24). Get a waterproof pouch on a lanyard for your phone; park is cash-free.

🍽 Concessions throughout the park include BBQ, hot dogs, pizza and frozen lemonade. Overpriced with slow service. Outside food and beverage allowed in soft-sided coolers smaller than 12”x12”x12.”

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West of NYC

Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari

📍Jackson, NJ
🎟 $45-$90

Enjoy over 100 rides, shows, special events and dining among themed areas such as Boardwalk, Frontier Adventures, Fantasy Forest and Movietown.

🎢 Thrill seekers can try 14 different roller coasters, including Kingda Ka, the tallest coaster in the world and fastest roller coaster in North America and the legendary El Toro, a classic wooden roller coaster with ultra-modern engineering.

🐰 Young kids and parents can ride together in the popular Bugs Bunny National Park area, featuring gentle experiences for all heights.

🍽 Find typical amusement park food around the park, plus outposts of chains like Nathan’s Hot Dogs and Ted’s Cheesesteaks. Use the Six Flags Mobile App for mobile food ordering. Also save time by eating at non-traditional lunch and dinner hours.

👶 Stroller rental available on Main Street.

🎟 Purchase a Flash Pass ($35-$150) to wait in lines virtually so can enjoy another attraction, watch a show, or grab a bite to eat, without losing your place in line.

⭐️ Ride the most popular rides (Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, Kingda Ka, SUPERMAN: Ultimate Flight, Nitro, BATMAN: The Ride, El Toro and GREEN LANTERN) early in the day or after 6 pm.

🌧 Rain-proof, air-conditioned indoor attractions include THE DARK KNIGHT Coaster, Skull Mountain and Studio 28 Arcade — three great. Indoor shows include Houdini’s Great Escape and JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis, and family entertainment at the Wilderness Theater. Air-conditioned dining is also available at Granny’s Kitchen, Yum Yum Cafe and Best of the West.

💳 Only card payments accepted. This includes parking. Cash-to-card devices available inside the park.

🦒 Also check out the adjacent Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure ($14.99- $29.99).

🚙 About 1.5 hours from mid-Manhattan

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