Texas Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

Six Flags Over Texas rides

Six Flags

It's a big state. With big everything. So it should come as no surprise that Texas has plenty of theme parks and amusement parks with lots of big coasters. Among the biggest of the parks is Six Flags Over Texas, the original Six Flags park. Its claims to fame include The New Texas Giant, a legendary coaster that got a makeover in 2011 and catapulted back into a beloved ride.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which offers lots of music and shows, is quite different from most of the other parks in the Six Flags chain. Its neighbor, SeaWorld San Antonio, is another standout among Texas parks and is especially noted for its Aquatica water park.

Texas theme parks and amusement parks are listed alphabetically.

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Big Rivers Fairgrounds in New Carney

Big Rivers Fairgrounds amusement park in Texas

Big Rivers Waterpark

Known as a water park, Big Rivers introduced “dry” rides with the addition of Big Rivers Fairgrounds in late 2021. Among the attractions are SPINdletop, a thrilling pendulum ride that swings passengers a full 360 degrees, and the spinning roller coaster, Rolling Thunder. There are also rides that spin around and attractions geared to young children at the Fairgrounds. Big Rivers offers archery, axe throwing, gem mining, a maze, a petting zoo, and fishing as well.

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Cotaland in Austin

Palindrome coaster at Cotaland in Austin Texas

Circuit of The Americas

Located at the Circuit of The Americas motorsports and entertainment complex, Cotaland began as a small kiddie amusement park with rides such as a train, carousel, and a racing-car themed Whip. It also offers two toned-down roller coasters, Big Apple and Skyflyer. In 2021, the park expanded its midway by adding Texas Wildcat, a moderately thrilling steel coaster. For the 2022 season, Cotaland will take it to the next level with Palindrome, a custom ride that will offer more extreme thrills. The shuttle coaster will climb 95 feet, hit 51 mph, and include two inversions. It will climb a dead-end spike and then retrace its route heading backwards.

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Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Galveston Island

The Tilt-a-Whirl on Galveston Island's Pleasure Pier.
IsleShire / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The small seaside amusement park includes a coaster, thrill rides, family rides, and kiddie rides. Among its highlights is a 5D Theater Ride. The pier also offers restaurants and shops.

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Joyland in Lubbock

joyland in lubbock texas

Larry Pieniazek/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.5

Joyland is a medium-sized, traditional amusement park with a small Galaxi steel coaster, a Mad Mouse coaster, a log flume, a gondola ride, spinning rides, thrill rides, kiddie rides, and a couple of "dry" wet rides (no bathing suits required).

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Moody Gardens in Galveston Island

Moody Gardens in Galveston Island

Moody Gardens Inc.

The educational destination, which features an aquarium, rainforest exhibit, and a discovery museum also includes attractions such as a 3D theater, a 4D Special FX theater, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure, a paddlewheel boat, a ropes course, and a zipline. Moody Gardens offers a hotel, spa, golf course, and restaurants as well.

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Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah

Kemah Boardwalk

Richard Cummins/Getty Images

An entertainment, amusement, shopping, and restaurant complex, the rides at Kemah Boardwalk include the Boardwalk Bullet wooden coaster, a double-decker carousel, and a Ferris wheel. There is also a stingray reef and rainforest exhibit and the Boardwalk Beast speedboat thrill ride.

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Morgan's Wonderland in San Antonio

Morgan's Wonderland entrance

Druidhills/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

This unique park in San Antonio is designed specifically for children and adults with special needs, their family members, caregivers, and friends. The attractions, which include a carousel, a pirate-themed playground, a Ferris wheel, and a splash park, all have been built with accommodations. Guests with special needs receive free admission. Reservations are required.

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Kiddie Park in San Antonio

Kiddie Park San Antonio

Kiddie Park

The charming park, which is part of the San Antonio Zoo, dates back to 1925. Its owners bill it as the oldest children’s amusement park in the country. Attractions include an antique carousel, spinning helicopters, a Ferris wheel, and other classic rides. There are also live pony rides, carnival games, an arcade, and face painting.

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SeaWorld San Antonio

Killer whale show at San Antonio SeaWorld

Buddy Mays/Getty Images

Part of the SeaWorld chain (there are locations in San Diego and Orlando as well), the marine life park offers shows and exhibits along with rides and the Aquatica water park. Themed rides include Wave Breaker, the Rescue Coaster. For 2022, the park will be debuting Tidal Surge, the world‘s tallest and fastest "Screaming Swing” ride. A total of 40 passengers will swing back and forth on two pendulum arms up to 135 feet in the air at a top speed of 68 mph. The park says that the ride will deliver some serious negative-G airtime.

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Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio

The Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Arthur Levine

The major theme park in San Antonio is known as much for its stage shows as its rides and features rock, soul, oldies, and other genres. Among its standout attractions is Iron Rattler, a wonderful hybrid wooden-steel coaster. Included with admission are the water park rides at White Water Bay.  In 2022, Fiesta Texas will welcome Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger. Billed as the world’s steepest dive coaster, it will momentarily strand passengers 150 feet in the air and then drop them down at a crazy 95-degree angle.

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Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis Six Flags ride

Six Flags

One of Six Flags' flagship parks (and the original park in the chain), it is loaded with coasters and many other rides. Six Flags Over Texas boasts the industry's first log flume ride, the first mine train coaster, and the first hybrid wooden-steel coaster. It also features Six Flags' first Justice League: Battle for Metropolis interactive 4-D ride. New for 2022, the park will open Aquaman: Power Wave, a launched coaster that will also include a drenching splashdown. Six Flags will also re-theme its boat-based dark ride and introduce scalawags in Pirates of Speelunker Cave .

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Tilt Studio in Beaumont and Katy

Tilt Studio entertainment center Texas

Nickels and Dimes Incorporated 

The indoor family entertainment centers offer arcades, snack bars, laser tag, bowling, mini-golf, and Outrun 2 racing simulator attractions. The Beaumont location also features bumper cars and a Himalaya spinning ride. The Katy Tilt Studio has a Tilt-A-Whirl spinning ride.

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Traders Village in Grand Prairie, Houston, and San Antonio

Traders Village amusement park in Grand Prairie Texas

Traders Village

The Traders Village locations are primarily flea markets that each attract thousands of dealers to their sprawling sites. But they also offer small amusement parks with rides such as Village Vortex, which sends passengers looping upside down; The Fleafall, a drop tower ride; and kiddie rides, including a carousel, a helicopter spinning ride, and a climbing structure. For 2021, the Grand Prairie park is opening Prairie Screamer, an 80-foot-tall, 50 MPH roller coaster. Traders Village also offers events such as festivals, concerts, and pro wrestling, as well as RV parks at the Houston and Grand Prairie locations.

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Wonderland Park in Amarillo

Wonderland Park Texas

Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The classic amusement park in Amarillo features three major roller coasters, including the looping Texas Tornado. It also offers a great collection of water rides such as the Big Splash log flume, the Shoot the Chute splashdown ride, and the Rattlesnake River raft ride. Wonderland also has a sky ride and mini-golf.

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Western Playland in El Paso

Western Playland Pharaoh’s Fury ride Texas

Western Playland

The medium-sized amusement park in El Paso offers the Hurricane roller coaster, a spinning coaster, the Tsunami splashdown ride, a drop tower ride, kiddie rides, and additional thrill rides.

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ZDT's Amusement Park in Seguin

ZDT's Amusement Park coaster

ZDT's Amusement Park

The small amusement park in Seguin offers the unique wooden coaster, Switchback. It also has other rides such as go-karts, water park attractions, a climbing wall, and an arcade.