Amusement parks in Connecticut attract visitors every year to some of New England's most beautiful scenery. Surrounded by resorts, lakes and golf courses, Connecticut amusement parks combine thrills with laid-back fun for adults and children of all ages. 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 Connecticut.
Lake Compounce was America's first family theme park, boasting the title of oldest continuously operating amusement park. What started as a picnic grove in 1846 is now a 427-acre park filled with traditional amusement park rides ranging from an antique carousel to pulse-pounding roller coasters.
Coasters GaloreThe stars of Lake Compounce are its many coasters. A favorite among visitors is Boulder Dash, the first wooden roller coaster to be built on the side of a mountain. Thrill seekers will love Zoomerang, which has a stomach-turning 125-foot drop.
Thrilling Rides And Circus ActsThe Rev-O-Lution rocks, rolls and spins as the rider sits facing outward on what looks like a giant Frisbee. Other attractions include the Thunder Rapids raft ride and the Skyride, a gondola that cruises from the top of a mountain. Traditional circus acts and magicians roam through the park, and every fall, Lake Compounce hosts the Haunted Graveyard, New England's largest Halloween event.
Dining OptionsA cafe, cafeteria and other specialty food shops offer sandwiches, hot entrees, pizzas and more -- and for dessert, head over to the ice cream parlor. Meal deals are available online.
Safety RecordIncidents at Lake Compounce are "rare," said a spokesman for Connecticut's Fire Marshal Office, which conducted 275 inspections in 2010 on mobile and fixed rides. Our research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Lake Compounce.
Address: 186 Enterprise Dr., Bristol, CT 06010
Hours: Open daily with varying hours, June 22 through August 28 and September 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11; open weekends only in October
Price: General admission, $35.99; juniors, $25.99; seniors, $17.99; children age 3 and under; free. Admission includes a pass to Splash Harbor Water Park plus unlimited free sodas. Reduced prices after 5 p.m.; group rates and season passes available
Quassy Amusement Park
Quassy Amusement Park, which celebrated 103 years of operation in 2011, is a small, traditional park that features more than two dozen rides and attractions. It is also one of the few remaining "trolley parks" -- picnic areas once built at the end of the line by electric trolley companies to generate additional revenue. It has a picnic area for barbecuing and two catering pavilions to host company outings, family reunions and other large group events.
The Wooden WarriorThe Wooden Warrior roller coaster is the marquee ride. Named by local kids in a contest, the coaster is fairly mild, reaching a top speed of only 35 mph. Also popular are the Yo-Yo Super Swing and the Grand Carousel, a classic four-abreast children's ride built around 1924.
Music, Theater And Arcade GamesQuassy features entertainment at the Carousel Theater stage in July and August. Other special events include the New England Jazz & Blues Festival, Annual Karate Day and African Acrobats International. Quassy also has one of the largest family entertainment centers in New England with more than 100 games, including favorites like skee-ball, pinball and Pac-Man.
Buy Or Bring FoodIn addition to a picnic area where you can cook your own food, Quassy has concession stands, an ice cream parlor and a restaurant.
Safety RecordIncidents at Quassy Amusement Park are "rare," said a spokesman for Connecticut's Fire Marshal Office, which conducted 275 inspections in 2010 on mobile and fixed rides. Our research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Quassy.
Address: 2132 Middlebury Road, Middlebury, CT 06762
Phone: 203-758-2913 or 800-367-7275
Hours: Hours and days of operation vary June through Labor Day; weekends only in September and the first weekend in October
Price: Free admission. Tickets for individual rides: single, $3.50; book of 12 tickets, $32. All-day unlimited rides plus Saturation Station water play: adults, $23.50; juniors, seniors and military, $19. Discount passes for children and visitors after 5 p.m. Group rates and season passes available. Bargain days on Monday and Wednesday
Other Noteworthy Parks near ConnecticutOcean Beach Park, New London
Six Flags New England
SportsCenter of Connecticut
Smiles Entertainment Center
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