Amusement parks in and around Kentucky provide exhilarating experiences, and their central location allows easy access from several states. 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 Kentucky's amusement parks.
Beech Bend Park
Voted 2010 Park of the Year by Amusement Today, Beech Bend offers a wide range of rides and attractions for every member of the family. In addition, the family-owned and -operated amusement park boasts a water park and campgrounds for those who wish to spend the night nearby.
Kentucky RumblerThe Kentucky Rumbler is the twistiest roller coaster within a seven-state area. It was voted one of the best new rides in the nation when it opened in 2006. This wooden roller coaster reaches a maximum height of 96 feet and reaches speeds of more than 50 miles an hour.
Sea DragonIn addition to the Kentucky Rumbler, the park offers the Wild Mouse, a family-friendly coaster that children taller than 42 inches can ride. The park is also proud to be the new home to the Sea Dragon. This swinging boat ride was purchased from the Neverland Ranch. Beech Bend's water park has several rides, including the Rapid Raging Water Slides and the Whitewater Express. For young visitors, the park has a petting zoo and a train.
Free BeveragesBeech Bend Park offers free soft drinks to every visitor. Upon entering, each guest receives a cup that is filled free at any snack or drink kiosk and any restaurant. In addition, the park has three restaurants that offer burgers, hot dogs, pizza and fries.
In The NewsAccording to the local FOX affiliate, a woman died in June of 2011 after riding the Kentucky Rumbler. No cause has been ascertained. In 2010, two men died on consecutive days after falling out of golf carts at the park.
Address: 798 Beech Bend Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270- 781-7634
Hours: Sundays and weekdays in June and July, the park is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturday, the park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The park is open on weekends in August and September from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Price: Online tickets cost $26.99 for adults and children 54 inches and taller. They cost $22.99 for children under 54 inches tall and seniors age 60 and older.
Holiday World lies just north of the Kentucky border in Santa Claus, Indiana. The park's roots go back to Louis Koch in the 1940s. The Evansville businessman saw how disappointed children were when they visited Santa Claus, Indiana, and didn't find Santa. Over the years, the park has grown from a simple, year-round Santa's village to a full-blown amusement park with a water park. The park is laid out to celebrate holidays all year round, including Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day and, of course, Christmas.
The VoyageThe Voyage has been voted the No. 1 wooden roller coaster for four years by patrons to receive the "Golden Ticket" from Amusement Today. This wooden coaster is 1.2 miles long with drops of up to 154 feet and five underground tunnels. The drops are so steep that riders feel weightless for a total of more than 24 seconds.
Poem-themed RidesBased on Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, the Raven has been featured on PBS and the Discovery Channel's "Wild Rides." This wooden roller coaster features an 85-foot drop, a 120-foot tunnel and ends with a double S-curve. Take the family on a white-water rafting ride without leaving the park in the Raging Rapids. Little visitors will enjoy playing on Holidog's Tree House, a three-story playground. No visit to Holiday World is complete without visiting Christmas Village. If you're lucky, you may just see Santa.
Fast Food FavoritesWith more than 19 restaurants, Holiday World offers food for every appetite, including burgers, pizza, soda and funnel cakes. It caters to families with food allergies and offers apple slices and sauce at all restaurants that serve french fries.
In The NewsThe Evansville Courier reported that a 29-year-old woman collapsed at the wave pool in 2007 and died. The autopsy showed the cause of death as heart related.
Address: 452 E. Christmas Blvd., Santa Claus, IN 47579
Phone: 877-463-2645 or 812-937-4401
Hours: Open 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday June, July and the first two weeks of August. The park is open 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of October.
Price: Tickets for adults and children 54 inches and taller are $42.95. Tickets for seniors 60 years and older and children shorter than 54 inches are $32.95.
Other Note-worthy Parks in KentuckyKentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Down Under
Renaissance Fun Park
Kentucky Action Park
What's your favorite amusement park in Kentucky?
Check out more AMUSEMENT PARKS.