Connecticut has a couple of wonderful amusement parks that also feature water parks. While they offer contemporary thrills, the two parks are noteworthy for their longevity and history. You used to be able to ride down water slides year-round at CoCo Key Water Resort in Waterbury, the state's lone indoor water park. Unfortunately, the hotel and water park closed in 2016.
As is often the case for amusement parks, especially in the northeast part of the country, there used to be quite a few more places to find fun in Connecticut that have since closed. For example, Savin Rock in West Haven operated from around 1870 to 1966. Its coasters included the Roller Boller, Giant Flyer, and Virginia Reel. West Haven was quite an, um, haven for parks. White City opened in the early 1900s and closed in 1967. Through the years, it offered two coasters, Sky Blazer and the White City Flyer. Also in West Haven, visitors could ride the Devil wooden coaster at Liberty Pier, which closed in 1932.
Roton Point opened in the 1880s in Norwalk and offered thrills on coasters such as the Skylark and Big Dipper until 1942. Steeplechase Island operated from 1892 to 1958 in Bridgeport. Lakewood Park used to entertain visitors in Waterbury. Riders could brave the Greyhound coaster at Walnut Beach in Milford until the New England Hurricane of 1938 destroyed it.
Before we get to Connecticut parks and attractions that are open, here are some resources to find nearby fun places and make travel plans:
- Six Flags New England and Hurricane Harbor - Enormous theme park and water park just over the border in Agawam, MA
- Other Massachusetts Theme Parks
- Massachusetts Water Parks
- New York Theme Parks
- New York Water Parks
Connecticut parks are listed alphabetically:
This isn’t a traditional amusement park with roller coasters and other rides. Its owners describe it as an “aerial forest park.” Activities include zip lines, trails, and challenge bridges.
- Outdoor adventure park
It doesn't trumpet its status too loudly, but Lake Compounce has the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuously operating amusement park. (It first opened in 1846.)
It is a classic amusement park with some great modern touches. Among its highlights is Boulder Dash, one of the world’s most acclaimed wooden coasters. Other standouts include Phobia Phear, a triple-launched coaster, the Thunder Rapids raft ride, and the Wildcat wooden coaster, which opened in 1927.
Admission includes Crocodile Cove, Connecticut’s largest water park. One of its water slides empties into the namesake Lake Compounce.
- Amusement park and outdoor water park
Nature’s Art Village is not a conventional amusement park and does not offer the typical assortment of coasters and spinning rides found at parks. Attractions include The Dinosaur Place, an exhibit of dozens of animated dinosaurs, a playground, and a moon bounce. A splashpad allows visitors to cool down with a variety of sprayers and other ways to get wet. Indoor activities include a silver mine, panning for gold, and The Genius Museum. The complex also includes shops and an antiques marketplace.
- Outdoor adventure park, splashpad, and indoor attractions
The small seaside park offers a few kiddie rides and family rides such as a carousel, a Scrambler, and a junior roller coaster. Ocean Beach doesn’t really offer a water park. It's just a single water slide, a few sprayers for younger visitors, and a pool. Of course, the ocean offers some water activities as well.
- New London
- Amusement park and outdoor water slide
Junior and adult racing vehicles are available at the two On Track Karting locations. Participants race against one another during timed track sessions.
- Brookfield and Wallingford
- Kart racing
It's not quite as old as Lake Compounce, but Quassy dates back to 1908 and is one of the country’s few remaining trolley parks. It also offers an outdoor water park as well as swimming in its lake. And it features a wonderful wooden roller coaster, Wooden Warrior. Other attractions at the charming park include a freefall tower, a water coaster, the Little Dipper roller coaster, and additional thrill rides and kiddie rides.
- Amusement park and outdoor water park