Amusement parks in and near Dallas can be wonderful places for families to have fun, reconnect and make new memories. They're also the perfect spots to satisfy cravings for thrills and excitement for the young or just young at heart. 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 amusement parks in and near Dallas.
Six Flags Over TexasSix Flags Over Texas has big, bad roller coasters, exciting water rides and plenty of food offerings. Six Flags Over Texas also hosts various musical acts, festivals and holiday specials. There are dozens of rides at the 212-acre park. Highlights include the Texas Giant roller coaster, Batman: The Ride, Aquaman Splashdown and Six Flags Speedway go-karts. More than 30 rides are designed specifically for children, including the littlest thrill-seekers, who will find an endless source of fun at the park's Looney Tunes USA attraction.
Everything's Bigger In TexasThe Texas Giant roller coaster rises 14 stories over the landscape, generating open-mouthed stares from spectators on the ground and spine-tingling screams from its riders. This hybrid wood-and-steel coaster was re-engineered and rebuilt in 2011, and it is now 10 feet taller than its original incarnation. Its dizzying 79-degree drop is the steepest in the world for a wooden coaster, and it features a bank of more than 95 degrees -- also the steepest on record.
Thrill-Out To The MaxIf you want to max out on thrills and excitement, board the Acme Rock-N-Rocket, Mr. Freeze, the Titan, Superman: Tower of Power or Dive Bomber Alley. More moderate rides include Conquistador, Crazy Legs, Pandemonium, Shock Wave and Sidewinder. Or go wild for mild with Caddo Lake Barge, Chaparral Antique Cars, Roaring Rapids or Yosemite Sam's Gold River Adventure.
Lots Of Food OptionsFare options are plentiful at Six Flags Over Texas. There's Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Bubba's hot dogs and Granny's funnel cakes. JB's Smokehouse offers succulent barbecue, and old-fashioned corn dogs are available at Newman's. Guests can also pre-purchase meal deals and souvenir bottles at home via the park's website.
Safety RecordIn July 2011, riders got stuck on the Texas Giant when the roller coaster's cars stopped just short of the highest point. No injuries occurred as a result of the malfunction, and all passengers were escorted safely off the ride. Three days earlier, the Texas Giant was shut down after "troubling noise" was heard by the coaster's operator. Riders were stuck in their cars for about 30 minutes.
Address: 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington, TX 76010
Hours: Open daily in warm-weather months. From late August through the cold-weather months, the park is open mostly on weekends and for holidays. Closed most of January and all of February. Opening and closing times vary and are on the park's website.
Price: $56.99 for adults; $36.99 for children 48 inches and shorter; free for children 2 and under. The park sometimes offers online specials where everyone pays the children's price. Other deals and passes can be purchased online.
Sandy Lake Amusement ParkSandy Lake Amusement Park is a family-owned and -operated complex -- a charming, relatively intimate alternative to the mega-parks that draw huge crowds on any given day. As Sandy Lake's website says: "As a rule, when you get exceptional service from a business, the owner is right there on the job. Proprietors Vickie and Frank Rush and Suzy and Tom Self combine a lifetime of service and dedication to the amusement business."
Blast Off Aboard The Space ShuttleThe Space Shuttle rockets its riders high into the air and safely back down again after providing a bird's-eye perspective on all the fun below. It's not for the squeamish or faint of heart, though. Riders must be at least 48 inches tall.
More Than Just RidesAt Sandy Lake Amusement Park, guests can experience more than 20 rides, a large pool, paddle boats, miniature golf, an arcade, expansive picnic facilities and a variety of food choices. Also available: a dunking machine, space for volleyball and softball games, clowns, a balloon artist, face painters, Shetland ponies and a petting zoo.
Carnival Food GaloreVisitors to Sandy Lake Amusement Park can nosh on cotton candy, popcorn, pizza, hot dogs, Frito pies, nachos and Blue Bell ice cream. The park promises that its food is fresh and reasonably priced.
Safety RecordOur research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Sandy Lake Amusement Park.
Address: 1800 Sandy Lake Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
Hours: June through mid-August: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; closed Monday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Mid-August through mid-September and mid-March through May: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. April and May: Monday to Friday, group reservations only.
Price: $2 per person; free for children 3 and younger. Rides, miniature golf and paddle boats require tickets, which cost 50 cents each. Admission to the swimming pool is $5 or 10 tickets.
Other Noteworthy Parks Near DallasZero Gravity Adventure Landing Wonderland Park Joyland Amusement Park Kemah Boardwalk
What's your favorite roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas?
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