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Thrills within driving distance - 5/16/04

Amusement parks ready for busy season with new roller coasters and attractions

Amusement parks ready for busy season with new roller coasters and attractions

May 17, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Amusement parks offer fun for the whole family, with seasonal attractions ranging from roller coasters and water flumes to live entertainment and animals.

More than 320 million people visited U.S. amusement parks and similar attractions in 2003, feeding industry revenues that topped $10 billion that year, according to statistics from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions at www.iaapa.org on the Web.

Here's information about amusement parks within four hours of the Tri-State area. Most parks also offer season passes and other discount packages. Prices and operating dates and times are subject to change.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Va.

Hours of operation: Regular season runs through Sept. 6, with weekend hours through October. Times vary. Go to www.busch

gardens.com on the Web for a complete schedule.

Attractions: European-themed park with six landscaped "countries"; more than 40 rides, including four top-notch roller coasters and water rides; children's area; animal attractions; live entertainment; gift shops; food.

What's new? "Imaginique" at the Royal Palace Theatre, a European-inspired circus infused with American Broadway flair.

Costs: $46.95, ages 6 and older; $39.95, ages 3 to 6; $8, parking.

For more information, call 1-800-343-7946 or go to www.buschgardens.com on the Web.




Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Allentown, Pa.

Hours of operation: Dorney Park's regular season runs through Sept. 6, with weekend hours through October; Wildwater Kingdom's season runs May 29 through Sept. 12. Hours vary. Go to www.dorneypark.com on the Web for a complete schedule.

Attractions: The 17 rides include roller coasters and other thrill rides, antique carousel and kiddie rides; Camp Snoopy interactive theme area for children; three water park areas; live entertainment; arcade; food.

What's new? Revolution, a gondola-style ride that swings riders 120 degrees in each direction to a nearly inverted position at 65 feet in the air.

Costs: Guests 4-foot-tall and taller: $21, through May 28 and Sept. 18, 19, 25 and 26; $29.75, May 29 to June 11, Aug. 23 to 26, and Sept. 1, 2, 6, 11 and 12; $35.75, June 12 to Aug. 22, Aug. 27 to 29, and Sept. 3 to 5; $25, weekends in October. Guests ages 3 and older and under 4-foot-tall, $16. Parking, $7 to $9. Additional charges for skyscraper, Climbing Rock and Thunder Creek Speedway.

For more information, call

1-610-395-3724 or go on the Web to www.dorneypark.com.




Dutch Wonderland

Lancaster, Pa.

Hours of operation: Regular season runs through Sept. 6, with weekend hours through Oct. 2. Times vary. Go to www.dutchwonderland.com on the Web for a complete schedule.

Attractions: Family and children's rides, including water rides; live shows; gift shop; food. Rides and attractions are most suitable for younger children.

Costs: $26.95, ages 7 to 59; $21.95, ages 3 to 6; and $19.95, ages 60 and older. Free parking.

For more information, call

1-866-386-2839 or go on the Web to www.dutchwonderland.com.




Hersheypark

Hershey, Pa.

Hours of operation: Regular season runs through Sept. 19. Times vary. Go to www.hersheypa.com/attractions/hersheypark on the Web for a complete schedule.

Attractions: Park divided into themed lands with more than 60 rides, including 10 roller coasters, water rides and kiddie rides; wildlife park; live entertainment; gift shops; food.

What's new? Storm Runner roller coaster, a rocket coaster on a 2,600-foot steel tubular track featuring a 180-foot vertical drop at about 75 mph, barrel rolls and a cobra loop.

Costs: $37.95, ages 9 to 54; $21.95, ages 3 to 8 and 55 to 69; and $15.95, ages 70 and older. Admission includes same-day visit to ZOOAMERICA, all entertainment inside the park, and all rides, except where height restrictions apply. Extra costs for paddle boats, Eurobungy, Frontier Virtual Theatre and rock-climbing wall.

For more information, call or go to www.hersheypa.com/

attractions/hersheypark on the Web.




Kennywood

West Mifflin, Pa. (near Pittsburgh)

Hours of operation: Regular season runs through Sept. 6, with some weekend hours through October. Times vary. Go to www.kennywood.com on the Web for a complete schedule.

Attractions: 31 major rides, including three wooden roller coasters, three water rides and 14 kiddie rides; games; arcades; gift shops; live entertainment; and food.

What's new? Garfield's Nightmare. The historic Old Mill water ride was recently transformed into a flume ride featuring 3-D scenes of Garfield under siege from characters the orange cat usually annoys.

Costs: $28.95, ride all day; $13.95, after 6 p.m.; $8, general admission for ages 19 to 64; and $7, ages 65 and older.

For more information, call

1-412-461-0500 or go on the Web to www.kennywood.com.




Lakemont Park

Altoona, Pa.

Hours of operation: Weekends May 22 through May 29; Regular season runs June 5 to Aug. 21, with weekend hours through Sept. 12. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, except Memorial Day and Labor Day. Times vary. Go to www.lake

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