Amusement Parks and Theme Parks in Illinois

Discover the State's Roller Coasters and Other Thrills

Goliath-SFGrAm.jpg
••• Six Flags Great America is the premier amusement park in Illinois. © Arthur Levine.

As the home of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, the world's fair that introduced the Ferris wheel and has been credited as one of the precursors of the modern-day amusement park and theme park, Illinois has played an important role in the amusement industry. Today, there are a few places in the state where you can find roller coasters and other amusements, which are listed below. But, as is the case for a number of other states, there used to be many more amusement parks that have since shuttered.

Riverview Park in Chicago, for example, opened in 1904 and closed in 1967. It was a beloved place that featured a slew of coasters such as the Bobs, Pippin, and the Big Dipper, all classic woodies. Among many other closed Illinois amusement parks were Central Park in Rockford which offered the Giant Coaster, Kiddieland in Melrose Park which operated from 1929 to 2009, and White City in Chicago, which opened in 1905 and was largely destroyed by fires in the 1930s.

The following Illinois parks, which are arranged alphabetically, are open.

AZoosment Park at Santa's Village
East Dundee

Santa's Village was an Illinois favorite for many years. It closed in 2005, but was retooled as Santa's Village AZoosment Park. It includes some of the original park's rides, such as Santa's Slide, along with animal exhibits and other attractions. It also offers classic rides, like The Whip and the Midge O Racers, culled from Kiddieland.

Donley's Wild West Town
Union

Shows, pony rides, train rides, a museum, and other attractions themed to the Old West.

Enchanted Castle
Lombard

The indoor family entertainment center includes a few rides, laser tag, go-karts, bowling, and an arcade.

Go Bannanas
Norridge

The indoor family entertainment center includes a few rides such as a small roller coaster as well as a jungle gym and a toddler zone.

Grady's Family Fun Park
Bloomington

The family entertainment center includes a small coaster, go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, and mini golf.

Haunted Trails
Burbank

The family entertainment center includes a few rides, laser tag, an arcade, go-karts, and mini-golf.

Haunted Trails
Joliet

Like its sister park in Burbank, this is a family entertainment center. It includes a few rides such as a small coaster, an arcade, batting cages, go-karts, and mini-golf.

Safari Land
Vila Park

Indoor family entertainment center with attractions such as bowling, a small roller coaster, a flight simulator, and an arcade.

Six Flags Great America
Gurnee

The state's major amusement park is part of the Six Flags chain. It offers a ton of great coasters including the highly rated Goliath (read my review), the wild "wing" coaster, X-Flight, and Vertical Velocity, a ferocious "impulse" coaster. Other attractions include the interactive dark ride, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. The park also offers a separate admission water park.