Amusement parks in London offer adventure for every member of your family. They have some of the most thrilling rides in all of Europe as well as animal encounters and plenty of kid-friendly features. 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 London's amusement parks.
Chessington World Of Adventures
Chessington World of Adventures has nine themed lands -- including the Forbidden Kingdom, Mystic East and Pirates Cove -- as well as a zoo and sea life center. The attractions range from more exhilarating rides for adventurous guests to kid-friendly attractions in Toytown for smaller visitors. The Chessington Zoo boasts more than 1,000 animals in exhibits like Lorikeet Lagoon, Monkey and Bird Garden, and Penguin Cove and Otters. It is celebrating its 80th birthday in 2011. The Sea Life Centre features interactive rock pools, daily talks and feeding sessions, a walk-through ocean tunnel and Azteca, a new feature in 2011 that showcases a lost undersea empire with sharks, rays and parrot fish.
Signature RidesChessington's 30+ rides include Kobra, a new ride that spins through the air on a 295-foot track at 43 mph. On Dragon's Fury in Chessington's Land of the Dragons, riders travel on 1,772 feet of track in groups of four, seated back-to-back in pairs. Along the way, the ride twists, turns, dips, dives and spins, but no ride is ever the same, as the spinning motion depends on who sits where. Riders travel at 45 mph and reach a height of 59 feet. Bubbleworks is for those seeking a more family-friendly adventure. It's an indoor water ride that enables riders to float through chutes and fountains.
Vampire And Rattle SnakeOther noteworthy rides include Vampire, a roller coaster with an overhead track and one of the lowest height restrictions in Europe at 3.6 feet, and Rattle Snake, a roller coaster that takes riders through an old Mexican silver mine.
Food OptionsCuisine varies depending on the themed land but includes pizza, pasta, English pub fare, barbecue, Mexican dishes, rice dishes, noodles, fish and chips, sandwiches, pies, pastries, potatoes, fried chicken, pancakes and ice cream. There is also a Burger King in Transylvania.
Safety RecordA family was recently upset after seeing lions kill and eat two baby binturongs who had escaped from their enclosure and gotten into the lions' cage. Also, a man was recently convicted of indecent assault stemming from an incident that happened in a Chessington car park in the early 1990s. However, there are no other recent accidents or safety concerns at this park.
Address: Leatherhead Road, Greater London, KT9 2
Hours: The park is open roughly from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from June through October. It is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in November and select days in December.
Price: Ages 12 and older, $62 at the gate; ages under 12, $44. Discounts are available for booking online, as well as for booking family packages and annual passes.
With more than 30 rides, Thorpe Park calls itself "the nation's thrill capital." As such, it is best suited for those seeking wild rides, but it also has rides for young thrill seekers, including Canada Creek Railway, Chief Ranger's Carousel and Neptune's Beach.
Signature RideStorm Surge is Thorpe Park's newest ride. It gives riders a spiraling 64-foot descent and the "never-ending spin of a rapidly turning life raft," according to the park's webpage.
Straight From The MovieThorpe Park also features Saw: The Ride, a horror-movie-themed coaster with a fall of more than 100 feet and three inversions. Other rides include Stealth, which goes from 0 to 80 mph in less than two seconds; Nemesis Inferno, an "inverted Hell ride into the fiery pit of a volcano"; Colossus, which has 10 vertical loops and a quadruple corkscrew; and Tidal Wave, which offers an 85-foot drop into water.
Food OptionsThorpe Park offers a range of food, including Mexican cuisine, burgers, barbecue, fish and chips, noodles, hot dogs, kebabs, coffee, ice cream and doughnuts.
Safety RecordThere are no recent accidents or safety concerns at this park.
Address: Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8PN
Hours: Open roughly from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. June through September. Open on select dates from October through November. Check website for specific weekly times.
Price: Tickets for adults ages 12 and up are $66.60; children under 12 are $49. There are discounts for booking tickets online and buying family passes.
Other Noteworthy ParksAdventure Island
Drayton Manor Park
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
What's your favorite amusement park in London?
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