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Latest Best of LA

Best Summertime Amusement Parks Near Los Angeles

May 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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(credit: Knott's Berry Farm)

(credit: Knott’s Berry Farm)

(credit: Universal Studios)

(credit: Universal Studios)


There are sights to see and roller coasters to ride in Southern California. Amusement parks are fun for the whole family. The screamers, the kiddie rides, the water rides and more give you a day to remember. Plan ahead by visiting park websites for new attractions, fast passes and special entertainment. But most importantly, have fun.

(credit: SixFlags.com)

(credit: SixFlags.com)


Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355
(661) 255-4100
www.sixflags.com/hurricaneharborla

A perfect way to spend a summer day in Los Angeles, Hurricane Harbor is the water park for the entire family. From the 65-foot drop (long way down) on Taboo Tower to the fast-moving zig zag raft slide of Lightning Falls, visitors are going to get really wet. If you dare, Bonzai Pipelines is the newest water slide at Hurricane Harbor. It is a 50-foot free-fall drop. The whole gang can compete on the Bamboo Racer and play in the 400,000-gallon wave pool. Mom and dad will feel secure watching their little ones splash around in the shallow waters of Castaway Cove.

(credit: Randy Yagi)

(credit: Randy Yagi)


Disneyland
1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565
www.disneyland.disney.go.com

Grab your Mickey Mouse ears and spend the day at Disneyland, the magical kingdom of the west. Little princesses are lining up in Fantasyland near Pinocchio’s Daring Journey ride to get a glimpse and take a picture with the newly iconic sisters Anna and Elsa from the hit movie “Frozen,” while little boy avengers are hoping to come face-to-face with hero Captain America in Tomorrowland. For big drops, face Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, while Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure and the Matterhorn Bobsleds do the trick for a quick thrill. The good eats are aplenty from churros and popcorn to frozen chocolate bananas, BBQ and fried chicken.

(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)


Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
(800) 864-8377
www.universalstudioshollywood.com

Popular movies drive the Universal Studios experience. “Despicable Me” has just joined the line-up of exciting rides at Universal Studios. This new 3D HD animated “Minion Mayhem” gives riders an experience in the silly world of the minions and Gru. For thrills, hop onto Transformers: The Ride, which has been praised as one of the best thrills (it’s a 3D experience, too) in the country. Universal Studios sure knows how to utilize movies, technology and good old fashioned fun at its theme park. The studio tour ride is always interesting and worthwhile while it gives you access to behind-the-scenes, sound stages and the magic behind the movies. Staying true to Hollywood, the park features Pink’s Hot Dogs, which has locations throughout Southern California. Pink’s originally opened in 1939, and is a true Hollywood landmark today.

Related: Best Hot Dogs In Los Angeles

(credit: Getty Images)

(credit: Getty Images)


Pacific Park
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-8744
www.pacpark.com

What’s not to love at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier? It’s a nostalgic amusement park looking out over the Pacific Ocean. Take a whirl on Pacific Wheel, the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel. Ride it in the daytime and visitors get a panoramic view of the Southern California coastline from 130 feet high. After dusk, the ferris wheel lights up with a dynamic display of 160,000 LED computer-generated lights. If you need a little shaking up, head over to the Sea Dragon, which is a swinging ship that deliberately rocks back and forth. Amusement park foodies will love the funnel cake, cotton candy and soft serve ice cream.

(credit: Knott's Berry Farm)

(credit: Knott’s Berry Farm)


Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 220-5200
www.knotts.com

While the little kids play in Camp Snoopy, the big kids get twisty turvy on thrillers and coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm. Get your scream ready on Rip Tide, a wild ride that soars 59 feet into the air while flipping you head over heels, Xcelerator The Ride that speeds at 82 mph and drops 205 feet, and Bigfoot Rapids, a white water raft ride, all while taking in the beautiful California indigenous plant life and geography. Recover on the Grand Sierra Railway, an actual steam locomotive which tours you through the park and starts in Ghost Town. Save room for Cordelia Knott’s fried chicken, buttery homemade biscuits and berry pies at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, which is the foundation for the theme park itself.

Related: Best Pies In Los Angeles

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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