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Amusement Park Rides

New rides and attractions at the Delaware Valley's favorite amusement parks.

Summer spells fresh thrills at local amusement parks. Here’s a roundup of the new rides, themed lands and experiences you can expect to find this season at the area's favorite amusement parks, water parks and shore points. Our scream factor lets you know whether your kids can handle the attraction’s intensity.

 Ooh! Fun for all   |   Aah!! Mild thrill   |    Eek!!! Hold on to your hat!

 

Amusement Parks

The Shore

Cost Cutters

 

 

Amusement Parks

 Ooh! Fun for all   |   Aah!! Mild thrill   |    Eek!!! Hold on to your hat!

 

Diggerland USA

West Berlin, NJ
Diggers and dirt-lovers will, well, dig this brand-new construction-themed adventure park near Sahara Sam’s, featuring 23 truck-happy attractions and debuting June 14. Kids will be able to safely dig, drive and ride modified JCB heavy-construction equipment like skid-steer loaders, backhoes, tractors, mini dumpers and small excavators. 

 

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom

Allentown, PA
Daring water babies can slither down the Snake Pit, Wildwater Kingdom’s new seven-story, six-slide complex. It incorporates the 450-foot free-fall of Python Plummet, the 360-degree loops of Constrictor and the twists, turns and drops of the Boa Blasters. Dorney Park also launches a new Fast Lane Plus program that includes Wildwater Kingdom attractions; purchase this pass to speed past the main queue and board rides quicker. ­ 

 

Dutch Wonderland

Lancaster, PA
Journey through time to Exploration Island, where 15 animatronic dinosaurs, up to 80 feet tall, move, breathe and roar as guests watch them from the forest-based Prehistoric Path, the scenic Gondola Cruise and the self-propelled cars on the relocated Turnpike. Kids can get hands-on in Dino Dig, the open-air fossil dig area. 

 

The Funplex

Mt. Laurel, NJ
Last year saw the debut of the FunCoaster at this amusement center; this year, its the FunTwister, a 360° pendulum swing that delivers twists, turns and speed. Thrill seekers are catapulted 50 feet in the air and forced back to ground level while maintaining a constant spin.  

 

Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains

Scotrun, PA
Whether fitness or family time is the goal, kids and parents find both when they tackle a new 20-foot-high climbing course, Howlers’ Peak Ropes Course. If you’re not sure the whole brood is up for the task, don’t fret; there’s a version designed just for younger kids. 

 

Hersheypark

Hershey, PA
Deliciously fun additions to Hersheypark’s mix include the Cocoa Cruiser, a family coaster ideal for a kid’s first roller-coaster ride; a classic Teacups spinner; and a gentle, low-speed Sweet Swing. Chickie’s and Pete’s and a frozen yogurt stand join the food lineup, and the entryway queue gets shorter with the addition of a new ticketing building near the tram circle, separate from the Front Gate. 

 

Land of Make Believe

Hope, NJ
This family amusement and water park celebrates its 60th season with a splash, unveiling Pirate’s Escape, a state-of-the-art attraction where guests plunge downward as the bottom drops out from underneath them. 

 

Sahara Sam’s Oasis

West Berlin, NJ

In a constant effort to use guest feedback to better the venue, recently updated features of this indoor/outdoor water park include new arcade games like a giant 4-person Pac-Man and snowmobile ride; Desert Palm Café, a new dining staple with options ranging from ice cream to family bucket meals; and indoor cabanas, private getaways around the park complete with chairs, table, water and a view. 

 

Sesame Place

Langhorne, PA
Cookie Monster is the star of the season with the opening of Cookie’s Monster Land, complete with a three-story net climb, a soft play area, an updated interactive photo op and five new kiddie rides: Flying Cookie Jars, Captain Cookie’s High “C” Adventures, Oscar’s Rotten Rusty Rockets, The Honker Dinger Derby and the Monster Mix-Up. Also new: Elmo the Musical Live! in which Detective Elmo takes the case to search for Cookie’s missing favorite treat. 

 

Six Flags Great Adventure

Jackson, NJ
Do you think you’re brave enough to tackle the world’s tallest drop ride? Meet Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom (opening mid-June), which shoots guests up 41 stories (415 feet!) in 30 breathtaking seconds before plummeting to the ground at 90mph. Adding to the intensity, Zumanjaro’s built within the drop of Kingda Ka, North America’s tallest, fastest coaster. As you wait in line, keep your eyes fixed on the adjacent safari sections for native African Anubis baboons or the park’s three newest lion cubs.  

 

 

The Shore

 Ooh! Fun for all   |   Aah!! Mild thrill   |    Eek!!! Hold on to your hat!

 

Cape May County Park & Zoo

Cape May Court House, NJ
When you want a break from the beach and shopping, drop by and meet the newest residents at this beachside staple, including a wallaby, capybara, ostrich, red panda, baby giraffes, Oryx, bison and white-tailed deer.  

 

Casino Pier

Seaside Heights, NJ
Still rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, the park has added several new attractions to the pier’s lower deck. The Musik Express, originally lost in Sandy, has been replaced; the Air Race spins guests upside-down barrel roll-style in acrobatic flight; the Drop N Twist rockets riders 50-plus feet in the air, cycling 360 degrees before plunging down; the Jump Around beach buggy brings together kids and parents; and the bumper cars speed over to a new building.  

 

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
There will be at least one new sight on the boardwalk this year. Prepare for flight with Kite Flyers, a ride where guests lie on their stomachs, spinning and soaring through the air. 

 

Morey’s Piers

Wildwood, NJ
Situated 11 feet higher than the original swing ride, the new and improved Wave Swinger is decorated with 72 vignettes displaying the city’s history. An updated food menu here includes the Taco Joint, Jake’s Steaks, ALOHA Smoothie Co, Tony Luke’s and Big Wave Burritos; and new entertainment features include a stage for live music, kids’ art classes by artBOX 2.0 and two radio stations broadcasting live from Adventure Pier. Keep an eye out for five new tram-car trains, a series of murals and the WildTRAX app that lets guests share photos, challenge friends and earn badges. 

 

Steel Pier

Atlantic City, NJ
While last year saw the opening of six new attractions, the 2014 focus rests on one major project: a 200-foot observation wheel, the tallest in New Jersey. No debut date has been announced, but this Ferris wheel — with 40-plus air-conditioned gondolas where guests can enjoy food, drink and a view of the ocean — is expected to open this season. 

 

 

Cost Cutters

A day at the park or the shore can add up quickly. Take advantage of the discounts that some of the go-to locales are offering this season.

The school year is wrapping up, but be sure to bring those straight-A report cards to Sahara Sam’s Oasis for $10 off ticket price. The discount also applies in your birthday month and for members of the military and first responders.

At Six Flags Great Adventure, save $18 at the park with any can of Coca-Cola or up to $25 with advance online sales, courtesy of the soft-drink company.

Before making the trip to Hersheypark, stop by participating Giant food stores in PA and MD to purchase discount tickets, or go online to grab a combo ticket package with Dutch Wonderland.

Several parks offer discounted rates, often called Twilight Admission, for those who come to the park later in the afternoon. Find this promotion at Dorney Park, Hersheypark, Sesame Place and Jungle Jim’s in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

While many attractions run on day passes, some — like Steel Pier, Rehoboth Beach’s Funland and Ocean City, NJ’s Gillian’s Wonderland Pier — have a traditional ticket system. Others use pay-per-ride; Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA, for one, has ride rates that range from $1 to $1.75 per attraction. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk runs on a ticket system but holds $18 unlimited-riding Wristband Specials every Tues. from 12noon to 6pm and Fri. from 5 to 11pm.

 

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