Best amusement parks?

I hope others who live in Northern Ohio will be around the next few days to offer suggestions on other things to do in Northern Ohio.

Check flights into Toledo and Akron-Canton also, just to see if you can get a better deal. They’re all close enough to Cedar Point.

Sounds like you kept your radius too tight - try rejiggering with your itinerary to include Macinac Island. Yeah, it’s 6 hours away - but you’re looking for an excuse to get to the roller coaster Mecca, right?

Cleveland has one of the world’s best orchestras and one of the world’s best art museums, along with the natural history museum. There’s also a nifty children’s science museum, all basically in the same block.

Around Sandusky, there’s a bunch of water parks, including a Great Wolf Lodge. There’s a wide variety of tourist type attractions in there area, like the African Safari park where you drive through the animals.

There’s boating and beaches. You can take a ferries out to Kelly’s Island or the Bass Islands. South Bass was the site of a naval post during the War of 1812. There’s a big tower monument to Admiral Perry there in Put-in-bay - a nice little Great Lakes town. It commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie.

Out on Middle Bass Island, there’s a vinyard and winery. They have a resort out there now, too, called St. Hazard’s, but I’ve never been.

Those islands are about an hour by ferry from Sandusky. For a longer ride, you can head to Pelee island, which is in the middle of the Lake and is the southernmost point of Canada.

Cedar Point itself is maybe the best thing Ohio has ever done. The park has historic displays from a hundred years ago. They have a bunch of famous and historic carousels and some of the oldest operating rides around in addition to the latest thrills. If you’re a fan of amusement parks, you owe yourself at least one trip.

Got a passport? Canada’s Wonderland, in the suburbs of Toronto, rivals almost any other park for rollercoasters; I believe it ranks third in the world for total coasters, and many are excellent.

It’s also in a substantially less boring place than Sandusky.

That would be true, except for the fact that it’s full of Canadians.

Sentences that start that way will never be the same again.

The internet called! Mdcastleman’s sister better pack an OSU shirt :smiley:

Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The park is beautiful, there’s a variety of rides, the coasters are fun, the food is good. And in the area is Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, a ferry across the James river, Civil War stuff in Richmond, and you have Virginia Beach if you want the ocean

All true but not relevant to the OP I’m afraid (ie roller coasters being the priority). And frankly VA Beach is one of the worst beaches in the country and that whole area is an armpit.

The Dutch Efteling.

You do know that one of the best zoos in the nation is just about an hour and half drive from there? Literary site? Bet you can find one. (Speaking of books: http://www.bookloft.com/). Regional resturants? You don’t need to take one of their tours, but I would suggest their itinerary: http://columbusfoodadventures.com/2011/tour/german-village-tour

Holy shit, Valleyfair?! Hee! I used to work in Shakopee, in the industrial park just down from there - take a left and you’d run into what used to be my office building.

Ah, memories.

Haven’t been in ages. It’s not a bad park, but it’ll never make any “Best of” lists, that’s certain.

They premiered a new fastpass system this year - basically they have 2 lines, and they alternate loading for every coaster between the two lines. But to get in the 2nd line, you need to buy a $30-50 (group discount) wrist band on top of your ticket. But they sell a maximum number of wristbands - something like 7-10% of the park capacity - so the wait on those lines is like 1/5th what it would normally be. Which sucks for the regular proles who now have to suffer even longer lines.

What’s strange to me is that apparently they don’t usually sell out of these things. If you’re a local making a day trip to the point, I could see not buying them - but if you’re flying out specifically to stay there, going to a hotel, making a vacation out of it - why wouldn’t you spend an extra $40 to make the whole experience a lot better? It’s a trivial amount on the whole trip.

I’m going in September - and by that time unfortunately the park is only open on weekends. So the weekend crowd aspect scares me. But maybe since September is past peak travel season, it won’t be that busy.

Canada’s Wonderland (another Cedar Fair park) has the same system and it hasn’t seemed hugely popular to me; certainly the express lines have been way less than 1/5 as long as the regular lines (like 1/10 or shorter). But I suspect there aren’t many people making a vacation solely for the purpose of going to Wonderland.

Though I am often stuck behind and/or giving directions to all the tourists that come to Los Angeles during the summer, I would have to recommend the LA area for your vacation needs:

  1. Magic Mountain, just north of Los Angeles. One of the best of the Six Flags parks with most of the up-to-date rides and a lot of roller coasters that other parks don’t have.

  2. Disneyland and California Adventure. While they don’t have the biggest rides, they have some of the most well-thought-out ride experiences like Space Mountain. CA Adventure has some fun thrill rides and one of the best show experiences - World of Color - I’ve ever seen.

  3. Knott’s Berry Farm. More great rollercoasters.

  4. Universal Studios. Definitely 4th best, but fun if you like movies. They are the only park in the USA that has the Transformers motion ride currently.

  5. If you include San Diego (about 2 hours south) you get the very nice San Diego Zoo, SD Wild Animal Park, Legoland, and Sea World.

  6. Not to mention lots of culture, food, history, uh…roads full of cars?

Tim

I’ve not been back to Hong Kong since they opened a Disneyland there, but I used to like to go to Ocean Park. It’s where I talked the wife onto her first and only triple-loop roller coaster. I could never understand the allure of a Disneyland if they had this to begin with.

Cedar Point, for real. Accept no substitutions. Other stuff in the area that is worth checking it if you have a few days would include Kelleys Island.

Within reasonable distance from Cedar point:

Prisons: how about where Shawshank Redemption was filmed? http://consumer.discoverohio.com/searchdetails.aspx?detail=63664

Nautical: you have access to the entire Lake Erie shore and islands: http://www.shoresandislands.com/

Historical: (sort of, if you’re into music) the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame www.rockhall.com
or Presidential sites http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/profileohio/ohiopresidents.aspx

That reminds me, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Museum is in Fremont.

First of all, it was the first Presidential Museum. Second, Rutherford B. Hayes, holy obscurity, batman. Third, it’s just off the highway.

Last, Hayes’ inaugural ball was a costume ball, and the family went as the the Washingtons. The museum has the costumes. How kickass is that!?

To the poster who is interested in prisons:

About an hour south of Sandusky, on the north side of Mansfield, is the prison where The Shawshank Redemption was filmed. You can get a tour. They even do a deliciously creepy haunted house at Halloween.

[/Shameless promotion of the only claim to fame my hometown can boast]

Oh yeah. P.S. As a former employee of Cedar Point, I might be biased. I don’t have a lot of experience with many other amusement parks. After a long hiatus (I hadn’t been there in at least a decade, maybe two), I went up there last summer. When I returned, I declared CP to be the best amusement park, hands down. Ever. And not just because I used to work there and there’s other cool stuff to do in the area. But because it’s a friggin’ awesome park. At all the Disney parks in the Orlando area, every step in every park, you are barraged constantly by advertising designed to separate you from your money. While CP isn’t cheap, at least they keep the tawdry neon marketing to a minimum while you are already *in *the park.