There aren't a whole heckuva lot of theme parks and amusement parks in Massachusetts -- although Six Flags New England is an enormous, thrill-packed park that would satisfy any adrenaline junkie. That wasn't always the case, however. Like many states in the Northeast, there used to be lots of places to ride coasters and find other fun.
Among Massachusetts' gone-but-not-forgotten thrill zones is Revere Beach. Located just north of Boston, it was the area's answer to Coney Island. It featured lots of rides and coasters, including the mighty wooden Cyclone. There are still a few places to grab some grub, but, like most seaside amusement areas, Revere's rides are long gone. Case in point: There are no longer any rides at Salisbury Beach in Salisbury on the New Hampshire border either. And although the carousel remains lovingly preserved at Nantasket Beach in Hull, the other rides at Paragon Park are gone as well.
(Fun fact: Paragon's 1917 wooden coaster lives on at Six Flags America in Maryland, where it is now known as The Wild One.
In the 1960s, a theme park known as Pleasure Island in Wakefield delighted New Englanders. The charming place had echoes of Disneyland. Other defunct Massachusetts parks include Whalom Park in Lunenburg, Lincoln Park in North Dartmouth, and Mountain Park in Holyoke.
The following Massachusetts theme parks and amusement parks are open:
Edaville USA Featuring Thomas Land
Carver (near Cape Cod)
Thomas the Tank Engine and his buddies from the popular PBS series are the stars here. The park is designed for families with children 12 and under. Special events include the fall Cranberry Harvest Festival and the holiday-themed Festival of Lights. All aboard!
This place is so small, it barely qualifies as an amusement park. And it has seen better days. Having said that, Salem Willows (named for the stately willow trees that line its promenade) is located on a stunning peninsula, surrounded on all sides by the ocean. The circa-1926 carousel is charming, the cruise line is delightful, the buttered popcorn may be the world's finest, and you haven't truly lived until you've had a Salem Willows chop suey sandwich. (Really! Chop suey on a hamburger bun!)
Six Flags New England
Agawam (near Springfield and Hartford, CT)
Major park with a great collection of coasters, including the highly acclaimed Superman the Ride (which gets my nod for the best steel roller coaster). Included with admission is the water park, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. It is New England's largest water park, and is one of the best water parks at a theme park.