Top 3 Small Amusement Parks

Top 3 Thursdays

Everyone’s been to a Six Flags, Paramount, or Disney theme park. But what about the smaller amusement parks. This Thursday I’m counting down my top 3 small amusement parks. My three amusement parks are off the beaten path, have only three major roller coasters, and have a rich history.

Lake Compounce – Bristol, CT
Lake Compounce is home to Boulder Dash, an amazing wooden coaster that’s built on the side of a mountain. Boulder Dash has attracted enthusiasts like myself from all over the country. Once you’re there though you realize that Lake Compounce is a beautiful park. Other Reasons to Visit: The Lake, Free Soda Fountains!!!, Wildcat

Knoebels Amusement Park – Elysburg, PA
Knoebels is an oasis of fun literally in the middle of nowhere in the Keystone State. It’s home to another acclaimed roller coaster known as Phoenix. It’s a wooden coaster that’s on many enthusiast’s top 10 lists because of its insane airtime. It’s neighbor, Twister is #6 on my Top 10 Wooden Coasters. Knoebels has a great old-school amusement park atmosphere and charm. Other Reasons to Visit: The Haunted Mansion, Flying Turns, Even Hersheypark can get old

Holiday World – Santa Claus, INVoyage - Holiday World - Roller Coaster
Holiday World’s original claim to fame was that it was America’s first theme park opening as Santa Claus Land years before Disneyland. But, today its claim to fame is The Voyage. It’s a relentless wooden coaster odyssey that’s non-stop excitement. Again, it’s in a pretty isolated area. I had to fly to Louisville, KY and then drive about an hour to get to it, but it was more than worth the trip. Also home to the critically acclaimed Raven. Other pluses include a super friendly staff, cleanliness, and appreciation for the coaster enthusiast community. Holiday World’s growing and might not be on a list like this in a few years. For now though it’s my favorite smaller amusement park. Other Reasons to Visit: Free Soda Fountains!!!, Legend (#10 Woodie), Water park

Don’t take my word for it. Knoebels and Holiday World took home some top honors at last year’s Golden Ticket Awards.

Do you have a question or comment about this week’s Top Three Thursday? Got a suggestion for a Top 3 Thursday? Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

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