Theme parks in Queensland offer exciting rides and activities for family members of any age. Here, visitors can hop on board some of the fastest and tallest roller coasters in the world, as well as experience Australia's culture and history through native wildlife exhibits and locally sourced cuisine. As part of an Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about Queensland theme parks.
Covering more than 70 acres of land, Dreamworld houses some of the world's fastest and tallest rides and one of Queensland's most diverse wildlife exhibits with more than 800 native animals. Built for families and thrill-seekers, 13 "worlds," a RealD cinema and its sister park, Whitewater World, next door give visitors access to a plethora of activities and attractions.
Signature RideThe Giant Drop, one of the "Big 6" thrill rides at Dreamworld, earned the title of the tallest, vertical free-fall ride in the world from the "Guinness Book of World Records" in 1999. Since its opening in 1998, it has carried more than 5 million passengers. The ride climbs 39 stories before abruptly dropping at speeds up to 83 miles per hour. Extra-brave park goers will probably enjoy the Claw, which spins 360 degrees at speeds of about 40 miles per hour.
Other AttractionsDreamworld is made up of 13 "worlds" with daily entertainment, which include Wiggles World for children and Flowrider, for those looking to get wet. Screamworld rocks live DJ beats after dark. There are also areas devoted to up-close wildlife observation.
FoodDreamworld guests can enjoy sit-down restaurants, buffets or grab-and-go dining and nosh on American favorites like chicken strips, steak burgers or fish and chips. Lighter fare, like fresh sandwiches and fruit salads, is available at Yummy Yummy Food Outlet and Bengal Tea House. Those with special diets can find Jain cuisine and halal foods at the Billabong Buffet.
Safety RecordThe most recently reported accidents involve two separate incidents of animal handlers being bitten by one of the park's tigers at the Tiger Island attraction, according to 3 News. The most serious injury incident sustained by park attendees involved a helicopter crash in 2009 when one of the park's now-defunct Helicopter Joy Flights lost power in air and fell to a parking lot. Gold Coast news reports the passengers survived with minor injuries.
Address: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera QLD 4209, Australia
Phone: +61 7 5588 1111
Hours: The park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Christmas. Early entry ticket and pass holders with early entry option can enter at 9 a.m. Whitewater World opens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both parks open at 1:30 p.m. on Anzac Day (April 25). Check to see if hours are extended during summer, autumn, spring and school holidays.
Price: Check Dreamworld's site for discounts and special passes, but World Passes, which grant admittance to both Dreamworld and Whitewater World, start at $69 for adults, seniors and children above 3; children under 3 get in for free.
Aussie World boasts a wide range of attractions for every age. Carnival purists will enjoy the Carousel, Crazy Mirrors, and the Ferris wheel, and thrill-seekers can find excitement in a diverse assortment of roller coasters.
Signature RideThe Wild Mouse roller coaster, originally built in 1935 and relocated from the Perth Royal Showgrounds, dips and turns passengers across the park on wooden tracks. According to Parkz, the 40-foot tall ride is one of five operating wooden "wild mouse" coasters in the world.
Other AttractionsAussie World boasts more than 30 rides and games. Its latest attraction is the Rock 'n' Roll Rebel Dark Ride, which takes passengers through the world of 1950s and '60s music. Fans of fast-paced rides can also enjoy the Giant Redback a 52-foot-tall ride which rotates clockwise and counterclockwise.
FoodThe park has a handful of specialty shops that serve snacks like fudge and nuts. Sit-down dining is also an option at Bluey's Bar and Grill, located above the Ettamogah Pub. The restaurant specializes in local produce and serves a wide range of local and world dishes, from standard fish and chips to grilled barramundi.
Safety RecordOur research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Aussie World.
Address: 73 Frizzo Road, Palmview QLD 4553, Australia
Phone: +61 7 5494 5444
Hours: The park is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Christmas.
Price: Admission covers unlimited rides and attractions all day and costs $25 for one person, or $80 for four people; children under 2 get in for free.
Other Noteworthy Parks In Queensland
Warner Bros. Movie World
Queensland Amusement Park
Top Shots Fun Park
What is your favorite theme park in Queensland?
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