As the home of Coney Island, the state of New York lays claim to one of the world's first and most famous amusement hubs. Brooklyn's venerable seaside fun center is still chugging along after all these years. And there are plenty of other amusement parks and theme parks (and yes, there is a difference between the two) spread throughout the state.
Find info to plan your next visit to a midway. Amusement and theme parks are arranged alphabetically.
The medium-sized amusement park is geared mostly to younger children. It includes a steel coaster and a few other thrill rides. As an interesting aside, although it was the setting for the 2009 movie, Adventureland that starred Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, Kennywood, an amusement park near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was actually used for most of the location shots.
Located along the banks of the Buffalo River, the music, entertainment, and sports complex includes activities such as an escape room, a zipline course, a high ropes course, and a rock climbing wall. In 2021, it will be adding a large Ferris wheel called the Buffal-O along with six amusement rides geared to younger children. Four of the rides will be reclaimed from the nearby Fantasy Island amusement park, which closed in 2020.
The classic amusement area has had its ups and downs through the years. Over the past few years, it has been on the upswing with new rides and investment in the boardwalk landmark. Coney island has never been a single park, but a collection of attractions. The primary operator is Luna Park (see below), which operates the famous Cyclone roller coaster, the Scream Zone thrill rides, and the newer Thunderbolt steel coaster. Other highlights include Deno's Wonder Wheel Park (see below), the original site of the legendary hot dog stand, Nathan's Famous, and the B&B Carousel.
The famous Wonder Wheel, which was built in 1920, is the centerpiece of the seaside park. It also includes the classic dark ride, Spook-A-Rama, and a great collection of vintage kiddie rides.
Primarily a water park, the dry rides at Enchanted Forest include a carousel, Ferris wheel, and kiddie rides. Adjacent to the park is an arcade, go-karts, a zip line, and rock-climbing attraction. The resort includes an inn and a campground.
Owned and operated by Six Flags, The Great Escape is a major theme park with thrilling rides (including the wonderful, classic Comet wooden coaster) as well as fairytale lands and attractions that reflect its origins as a park for young children. It also features a large water park that is included with admission. Adjacent to the outdoor park is Six Flags Great Escape Lodge, an indoor water park resort that is open year-round.
The vintage park, which opened in 1947, is really more of a family entertainment center (FEC) than a full-fledged amusement park. Among its primary attractions are mini-golf, go-karts, batting cages, and an arcade, all FEC staples. Harris Hill also offers kiddie rides such as a mini Whip, carousel, and a spinning Airplane. Nearby affiliated attractions include the National Soaring Museum, the Tanglewood Nature Center, and a pool.
Improbably, the small amusement park is located next to and operated by a furniture store. Most of the rides are for young children. The handful of family rides include a Scrambler and a Tilt-A-Whirl.
Formerly known as Magic Forest, the Lake George Expedition Park is geared toward the younger set and is much more laid back than the nearby Great Escape.
This modest park features kiddie rides, a petting zoo, and shows as well as the new-in-2019 Dino Roar Valley, which features several lifelike sculptures of the most well-known dinosaurs who roamed this land millions of years ago.
It was supposed to open in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legoland New York is planning to debut in 2021 instead. Like other Legoland parks in Florida, California, and around the world, it will feature toned-down rides and attractions geared to younger children and themed to the famous toy brand. Among the highlights will be Miniland, with famous U.S. landmarks built entirely out of Lego bricks; Lego Ninjago World with a 3-D, interactive dark ride in which guests use martial arts hand gestures to score points; and the Lego Factory Adventure Ride, a first-of-its-kind attraction that magically transforms passengers into Lego mini figures. The Legoland resort will also feature a themed Legoland Hotel.
Most of the amusements at Coney Island are now operated by Luna Park, which also includes the Scream Zone. Among its treasures are the Cyclone, perhaps the most famous (and one of the oldest) wooden roller coasters in the world, and the Thunderbolt, a modern-day take on steel coasters complete with a 90-degree lift hill and multiple inversions.
Midway is a charming small trolley park with a vintage carousel, kiddie coaster, Tilt-A-Whirl, and other classic rides. It is located inside Midway State Park.
The shopping, dining, and entertainment complex offers a surprising number of attractions. You could almost spend an entire day at the indoor center enjoying the rides and many other things to do, such as:
- Rides, including a Ferris wheel, a carousel, bumper cars, and go-karts
- Ropes course
- Dave & Buster’s arcade games and other attractions
- Billy Beez play arena
- 5 Wits group game adventure
- Palisades Climb Adventure
- VR Exodrome virtual reality experience
- Escape the Mystery Room
- Ice skating
Rye Playland is a classic, historical park (it is registered as a National Historic Landmark) with original art-deco architecture and ambiance. Rides include the Dragon wooden coaster, a beautiful carousel, a freefall ride, and a splashdown ride. It is located on a seaside boardwalk. Playland is a municipal park that is operated by the Westchester County Department of Parks.
Santa's Workshop is a small, Christmas-themed park with a few rides and shows. It is open in the summer and some weekends before Christmas.
Although its famous Quantum Loop steel coaster closed in 2017, the medium-sized park on Lake Ontario in Rochester known as Seabreeze Amusement Park is still a great destination for some family fun in the warmer months of the year.
Ride the classic Jack Rabbit wooden coaster or cool off for the day at the Raging Rivers Waterpark, which is included in the price of admission to Seabreeze. However, also keep in mind that children aged 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult chaperone on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season.
This is a small, amusement park on the shores of Oneida Lake. It includes LaffLand, a classic Pretzel dark ride. (Pretzel was a company that manufactured many haunted-house-like dark rides, few of which remain in operation today.) It also includes spinning rides such as a Tilt-A-Whirl and a Rotor.
The major amusement park features the Ride of Steel hypercoaster, the launched Orange County Choppers MotoCoaster, and a good-sized water park that is included with admission. The destination resort includes a hotel, a huge campground, and a major performing arts center that welcomes major acts each summer.
The Victorian Gardens Amusement Park is a seasonal attraction that comes to New York City's Central Park every spring through fall.
Set up on Wollman Rink near the southeast corner of the park, this small, free-admission park features rides geared mostly toward younger children. It also offers face painting, storytelling, clowns, and interactive games throughout the season.
Part of a chain of indoor amusement attractions, the WonderWorks in Syracuse offers a variety of things to do, including laser tag, a 4D XD Motion Theater, ropes courses, and zones devoted to physical challenges, an imagination lab, space discovery, and more.
Other Nearby Parks
If you are looking for more fun, check out these resources: