Amusement parks in Canada entertain millions every year, providing adventures for every season - whether on a hot summer day or snowy winter night. With an amazing collection of rides, live shows, cultural festivals and "North America's greatest variety of roller coasters," amusement parks "O Canada"-style provide some of the best year-round family entertainment. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about Canada's amusement parks.
Canada's Wonderland is the premier amusement park of America's neighbor to the north. With the 20-acre Splash Works Water Park, it is two parks in one and boasts more than 200 attractions and 68 rides, including a variety of gravity-defying roller coasters. Visitors can also enjoy live concerts, music festivals and a dazzling Starlight Spectacular of animated effects and 3D images every night in celebration of the park's 30th birthday.
The Thrill MachineLooking for extreme height and intense thrills? Canada's Wonderland hopes to fulfill visitors' wishes with the addition of its newest thrill machine, WindSeeker. This 30-story swing ride towers 301 feet above the park, spreads its metal arms and swings riders — dangling feet and all — at a 45-degree angle at speeds up to 30 mph.
Rides For All AgesThe amusement park has rides for all ages. For families with children under 6, there is the all-new Planet Snoopy with Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. For teens, there are more than 60 rides and coasters like Time Warp, Canada's only flying coaster. For milder thrills, climb aboard a carousel or take a train ride. There are also a variety of events and entertainment options at the International Showplace and Kingswood Music Theatre, a state-of-the-art, 15,000-seat amphitheater for cultural festivals and performances by music's major acts.
Upscale And Casual DiningThere are plenty of food options to entice the palate — from an upscale, all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant to a 1950s-style diner, or even an international cafe serving Japanese stir-fry. Visitors can also choose burgers and fries to go, funnel cakes and fresh-made subs.
In The NewsThere are reports of accidents and incidents at Canada's Wonderland, but a university study in 2010 on Canada's Wonderland and other amusement parks concluded that many injuries are not the result of malfunctions, but rather rider error — like sitting in a ride improperly or standing on a moving ride.
Address: 9580 Jane St., Vaughan, Ontario, Canada L6A 1S6
Hours: Open daily Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., through Labor Day. Splash Works Water Park is open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Price: The park offers a variety of gate and online ticket packages. Regular admission: $39.99 (online only) for a single-day, three-day advance price. Regular single day: $44.99 online or $56.99 at the gate. Junior/senior single day: $32.99 (online and gate). Add an all-you-can-eat-buffet special for $8.99 online. Admission includes Splash Works Water Park. Season passes, birthday celebrations, group discounts and VIP tours are available
Galaxyland Amusement Park
Galaxyland boasts the world's largest indoor amusement park, featuring more than 25 thrilling rides and attractions. It's located inside West Edmonton Mall, a prototype for mixed-use entertainment facilities and record holder for the world's largest indoor lake and largest permanent indoor bungee tower. In addition to hosting more than 800 stores and services, West Edmonton also features an ice palace, mini golf, marine life and much more.
The MindbenderThe world's largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster, Mindbender is Galaxyland's specialty. Equivalent in length to 48 blue whales lying end to end, Mindbender features many twisting drops, 3 vertical loops and a double-helix finale.
Music And MayhemGalaxyland's newest ride, Cosmic Revolution, combines motion and music with a DJ/operator who interacts with riders throughout their high-speed adventure on an undulating circular track. Children can explore Toddler Time with tot-friendly rides, while teens will love the Rock 'N' Ride Dance Party that combines hip music videos with unlimited rides from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Dining OptionsAt Galaxyland, guests can dine, mingle and dance at more than 100 restaurants, pubs and nightclubs in West Edmonton Mall. Or they can taste a bit of culture on themed streets where restaurants serve up a variety of cuisines, from New Orleans flavor on Bourbon Street to a Chinese marketplace.
In The NewsHeadline-making reports of accidents/incidents have greatly diminished since a fatal accident on the Mindbender roller coaster occurred more than 20 years ago. A university study conducted in 2010 on Galaxyland and other amusement parks concluded that many injuries are not the result of malfunctions, but rider error.
Address: 1755, 8882 170th St., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5T 4J2
Hours: Galaxyland is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Special Wacky Wednesday and Toddler Time (children 5 and under) activities are offered, but hours and days are subject to change without notice
Price: General admission includes an all-day ride pass for $36.95; seniors/juniors pay $29.95; guests with disabilities pay $20.95; free for children 2 and under. For the last three hours before closing (6 to 9 p.m.), admission is reduced to $26.95. Galaxyland also offers an all-day four-member family pass for $99, plus various Galaxyland Kids Playpark rates for children up to age 12
Other Noteworthy Parks Near CanadaLa Ronde
Centreville Amusement Park
What's your favorite amusement park in Canada?