New Jersey is home to one of the most popular thrill ride parks in the world and one of the flagship parks in the Six Flags chain, Six Flags Great Adventure. The famous Jersey Shore also hosts a number of (mostly) small seaside amusement parks, and there are other parks throughout the state. It is also home to one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks, Nickelodeon Universe at the American Dream mega-complex in the Meadowlands
Let's review New Jersey theme parks and amusement, which are arranged alphabetically.
Bowcraft is a small, traditional amusement park geared to families with younger children (read: no major thrill rides). Attractions include the junior coaster, Crossbow, as well as a Scrambler, Pirate Ship, Tilt-A-Whirl, swing, and kiddie rides. It also offers an arcade, midway games, and food stands.
Casino Pier is a classic seaside boardwalk park on the Jersey Shore. It features 35 rides, including Hydrus, a steel roller coaster with a vertical lift and and a 97-degree drop. Other attractions include a Sky Ride, a family coaster, the Shore Shot drop tower ride, and the Skyscraper pendulum ride, all crammed onto a narrow pier. Visitors will also find go-karts, a walk-through funhouse, and mini-golf. In 2019, the park added Centrifuge, an indoor Scrambler, Crazy Cabs, a spinning flat ride, and two kiddie rides. There is an adjacent water park, Breakwater Beach.
Clementon Park: Clementon
Note that Clementon Park closed at the end of the 2019 season and has not reopened. It is set to be auctioned in 2021 and may reopen. Or its new owners may opt to redevelop the land for another use.
Clementon was a classic, turn-of-the-century amusement park. Highlights included Hellcat, a wooden roller coaster, and the 100-foot-tall Thunder Drop tower ride. The park also offered spinning rides and kiddie rides, along with water slides and other water park attractions. In 2019, Clementon added four classic rides to its mix: a Scrambler, a Tilt-A-Whirl, a kiddie Dragon Coaster. and the kiddie spinning ride, Pirate Ship.
This unusual park is themed to construction and farm equipment. Some of the attractions allow guests, including children, to operate modified dump trucks, backhoes, tractors, and other vehicles. There are amusement rides that ingeniously incorporate construction equipment such as Greased Beast, which lifts passengers seated in a demolition trailer up into the air and then tilts to dump its human cargo out. There is also a zipline, ropes course, rock climbing wall, and many other attractions. In 2021, Diggerland added The Water Main, a water park with a lazy river, a splash playground, water slides, and other features.
Another one of New Jersey's seaside parks, Fantasy Island is relatively small. Among its rides are a lovely vintage carousel, a large Ferris wheel, bumper cars, tea cups, and a Tilt-A-Whirl. It also offers an ice cream parlor, an arcade, and midway games.
The classic boardwalk pier park, which dates back to 1929, offers a wide variety of rides, including two family-level roller coasters, a huge Ferris wheel, a haunted dark ride, a log flume, and a freefall drop tower.
The small Jersey Shore park offers a drop tower ride, a carousel, a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, spinning rides, and two small roller coasters. Other attractions include three mini-golf courses, a fun house, an arcade, and an aquarium.
Another Jersey Shore park, Keansburg offers a small roller coaster, antique cars, a carousel, a whip, and a log flume, among other rides. It also has an arcade, midway games, and go-karts. There is an adjacent Runaway Rapids water park.
Land of Make Believe is a small park geared mostly to families with younger children. Its attractions include a small coaster, spinning rides, and a Christmas Village meet and greet with Santa Claus. In 2019, the park added Off Road Safari Adventure, an ecotourism ride in a 4X4 open-air vehicle, and Scream Machine 360, a thrill ride that turns passengers upside down. One price includes admission to Pirate's Cove waterpark.
It's amusement nirvana at the Jersey Shore's largest ride complex with three classic boardwalk and pier parks plus two waterparks. There are over 150 rides, including seven coasters. Highlights include the Great Nor’Easter, a steel coaster, and The Great White, a wooden coaster. There is also a carousel, a giant Ferris wheel, lots of spinning rides, and bumper cars. The water parks overlook the ocean and include water slides, a lazy river, and private cabanas. Morey's also operates nearby hotels, including the Pan American and the Starlux Boutique.
Part of the massive American Dream mega-complex, Nickelodeon Universe is a major, 300,000-square-foot theme park that includes five roller coasters and a variety of other attractions themed to the popular children’s TV network. Among the thrill machines are TMNT Shellraiser, a world-class ride that includes a magnetic launch, seven inversions, a141-foot climb up a vertical lift hill into a pop-up tower, and, at 121.5 degrees, the world’s steepest drop on a coaster. A second coaster, The Shredder, is billed as the world’s tallest (85 feet) and longest (2,247 feet) free-spinning coaster.
American Dream also includes a separate DreamWorks-themed indoor waterpark, the largest in the country, a huge outdoor observation wheel, a Legoland Discovery Center, a SeaLife aquarium, and an indoor ski slope.
A great Jersey Shore park, Playland's Castaway Cove features four coasters, a freefall tower ride, spinning rides, and kiddie rides. its newest coaster, GaleForce, opened in 2017. It includes three magnetic launches, a greater-than-90-degrees drop, and a top speed of 64 mph. The park also offers mini-golf, go-karts, and an arcade.
This is an enormous Six Flags complex with a Wild Safari experience (that is included with admission to the amusement park), a separate admission Hurricane Harbor waterpark, and one of the country's biggest and most popular seasonal ride parks. Highlights include the record-breaking Kingda Ka rocket coaster and El Toro, a wild, airtime-filled ride that is among the best wooden coasters in the country.
One of the most famous amusement piers of yore, the Steel Pier was rebuilt in the 1990s with a modest assortment of rides and amusements. Highlights include a 227-foot-tall observation wheel, which can accommodate 240 passengers. Helicopter tours of the shoreline and city are available.
A family-owned and -operated park, Storybook Land is geared to young kids with a storybook and nursery rhymes theme. Rides include a small roller coaster, a small drop tower ride, a carousel, antique cars, and a train ride. The park is open on select days through the early winter and offers fall and Christmas-themed events. In 2019, Storybook Land opened Deep Sea Divers, a vertical spinning ride.
This "western heritage" park for the young-uns is nestled in the rough-and-tumble wilds of New Jersey. There aren’t any amusement park rides, but there are shoot-em-up shows, stagecoach rides, pony rides, panning for gold, a train ride, and other wild west diversions (and mini-golf).