There are two major theme parks in Virginia, and between them, the state boasts some of the world's best and biggest roller coasters. It can also get plenty hot and humid in Virginia. To help stay cool (and have fun), you could check out the state's water parks.
Before we get to the listings, let's look back at some of Virginia's defunct amusement parks. Do you remember Buckroe Beach? The Hampton amusement park had a long run from 1897 to 1985 and featured the wooden coaster, Dips.
How about Lakeside Park in Salem? It opened in 1920 and shut its gates in 1986. Through the years, it offered two wooden coasters: Shooting Star and Wildcat. Ocean View Amusement Park in Norfolk had six wooden coasters during the years it was open. Today, you can visit Ocean View Beach on the site of the former amusement park.
OK, enough nostalgia. Let's move on to the theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks that are open in Virginia. They are arranged alphabetically.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The lovely major theme park, which is divided into European countries including Italy and Germany, is often cited as being one of the most beautiful in the industry. It offers a fabulous array of coasters, including Apollo's Chariot (which gets my nod as one of the country's best) and Griffon, a floorless diving coaster. Among its other notable rides is Curse of DarKastle, a surprisingly sophisticated dark ride that uses roving motion base vehicles.
Busch Gardens is also known for its great live shows and decent food.
Central Park Fun-Land
Activities at the indoor and outdoor family fun center include go-karts, batting cages, an arcade, spinning rides, and a small (indoor) roller coaster.
White Post (Near Washington, D.C.)
Consort with animatronic dinosaurs at this small, primeval-themed park.
It should come as no surprise that go-karts are featured at this family entertainment center. The "plus" includes bumper boats, a kiddie coaster, other kiddie rides, an arcade, and more.
This is a small, municipal, outdoor park with a wave pool, water slides, and children's pool/activity area.
Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg
Major indoor water park resort that is part of the Great Wolf chain. The water park is only open to registered hotel guests (sorry).
A major amusement park with an impressive collection of roller coasters, including Intimidator 305, a massive (would you believe 305 feet tall?) thrill machine that delivers punishing G-forces and wild thrills. But there are many more. So many, in fact, it is one of the theme parks with the most number of roller coasters in the world. Also features Planet Snoopy, a large Peanuts-themed land with kiddie rides. The adjacent Soak City water park is included with admission to the theme park.
Indoor water park resort that also offers outdoor water slides.
Lots of go-kart tracks plus kiddie and thrill rides, mini-golf, and other attractions.
Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Outdoor water park with water slides, wave pool and water playground. Restaurants, on-site catering and private cabanas available. Open mid May to early September.
Outdoor water park included with admission to King's Dominion theme park. Attractions include Pipeline Peak's 4 slides, Big Wave Bay wave pool, Surf City Splash House interactive play area, Lazy Rider river, speed slides, tube slides, and kids' areas.
Medium-size outdoor water park with water slides, a lazy river, and activities for younger visitors.
Water Country USA
Operated by the Busch Gardens folks, but the outdoor water park requires a separate admission and is located a few miles away from the theme park.
It is a major park with lots of slides, including speed slides and a family raft ride, a wave pool, a lazy river, attractions for young children, and more.
Small, municipal, outdoor water park with a lazy river, Pete's Peak slides, and kids' activities
- Six Flags America- Mitchellville, MD
- Funland- Rehoboth Beach, DE
- Carowinds- Charlotte, NC
- Maryland Water Parks
- North Carolina Water Parks