We decided to try out a small park called Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. Sure, it was a fair bit of a drive for us, but we thought it would be fun.
I personally knew nothing about the place, which was a nice way to approach it. The park is geared towards young kids (pre-teen) which means that they can go on nearly every ride (depending on height, of course) on their own. Parents can even ride on most of the rides with the kids.
In addition to the rides, Dutch Wonderland offers a small water park which is fun and refreshing. When we went, it was pretty crowded at the water park, with the occassional kid who was completely out of control (where his mother?!), but it was managable. The large tube slide was the only disappointment there: the line was hidden and surprisingly long. So, even what you thought was a short line was at least a 30 minute wait.
The rest of the park, surprisingly, absorbed a lot of people. There were little to no lines, which meant that it was very easy for kids to get right back in line to go on a ride again. This only added to the fun!
The park is pretty shaded with trees and other foliage, so even on hot days, it isn’t like baking in the sun at Disney World.
The park closes at 8:30pm, which is more than enough to wear out pre-teen kids. Exiting the park passes everyone through the gift trap shop where kids beg and plead for their parents to purchase them something. That basically means that if you expect to get out of the park easily at closing time, forget it: the gift shop gets mobbed making it difficult to maneuver through. That also means that if you want to buy a gift or trinket, buy it earlier in the day.
Dutch Wonderland was a lot of fun!