While summertime can represent various things to people around the world like the beach, sun, and sand, to Americans the amusement park comes to mind much of the time. A sense of nostalgia can roll over you as you think of the first time you went to Disney World or Six Flags and rode what you thought was the biggest roller coaster in the entire world.
While the roller coaster can still incite a pang of fear, even as full grown adults, it can also bring excitement. Not to mention all the other fun activities – and food – at amusement parks (ahem, deep fried Oreos) that can entice us to revisit our childhoods.
Even though the US has been a center-point for the amusement park industry, there are plenty of other countries harboring these “ginormous” playgrounds.
1. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Cedar Point, opened in 1870, is the second oldest and one of the most visited theme parks in the USA. Known for its epic roller coasters, with 17 total, it holds the record for the highest number of coasters in a park. However, we all know its not quantity but quality that counts, right? Good thing this park’s roller coasters include the Raptor and the Corkscrew, known as being some of the wildest in the world.
2. Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, USA
Opened on October 1, 1971 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida , Disney World is the most visited theme and amusement park in the world. The property covers approximately 30,000 acres and is divided between Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In addition it harbors two water parks and 24 resort hotels on its property. While Disney attracts mainly children, this park is bound to be one of the greatest family experiences.
3. PortAventura, Salou, Spain
PortAventura is a theme park and resort in Catalonia, Spain, close by Barcelona, that opened in 1995. It is divided into five subsections including: Mediterrania, Far West, Mexico, China, Polynesia, and SesamoAventura (AKA Sesame Street). Like the previous parks, PortAventura is also home to an Aquatic Park. Seemingly having everything, you surely won’t get bored with over 30 rides to choose from.
4. Europa Park, Rust, Germany
Europa Park in Germany is the second largest park of its kind in Europe. This 1975 complex also has subdivisions, each representing a different European country, in addition to its Hotel Resort. Its main goal is to integrate Europe’s different cultures so as to excite every visitor, in addition to creating a semi-educational experience.
5. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Being one of the oldest amusement parks in Europe – and even the world – the park is still growing and evolving. Housing over 40 rides with more to come in the next years, this South Shore park attraction does not let on of its age. In addition to rides, Blackpool is known for its shows and performances including a “Hot Ice” dance show.
6. Everland, Yongin, South Korea
This family oriented theme park, opened in 1976, is actually a subsidiary of the Samsung Group. As many of the previous have done, it is also divided into five subsections which include: European adventure, Zootopia, Global Fair, American Adventure, and Magic Land. Along with these attractions, Everland also includes a water park known as Caribbean Bay.
7. Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
Canada’s Wonderland is a 330-acre theme park located in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, and was opened on May 23, 1981. It was Canada’s first major amusement park, and to this day continues to be Canada’s largest. Canada’s Wonderland is home to 16 roller coasters as well, which is more than any other amusement park outside of the US. Aside from roller coasters, it has a grand total of 65 different rides including water sports and rides such as wave pools.
8. Efteling, Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands
Efteling if the largest theme park in the Netherlands and even predates California’s original Disneyland Park by a few years. Covering 160 acres, in the midst of what seems to be a forest, you can’t help but get a feeling of enchantment. Aside from the obvious nature and scenery, it also includes roller coasters, water rides, haunted houses, and other activities for both the young and the old.
Even if you aren’t jetting off to these amazing countries anytime soon, hopefully you will be inspired to visit a nearby amusement park or even boardwalk sometime this summer. Don’t forget that the US is home to some of the greatest parks and rides of all time, so we have it easy!