8 Best Amusement Parks in California: for Kids, Family and Traveler

8 Best Amusement Parks in California: for Kids, Family and Traveler

Updated 21 Feb, 2020

California is the ultimate delight for amusement park enthusiasts and fans. California has something or other for everyone's taste and is well suited for family with kids or for travellers seeking thrill and adventure.

Experience 4D Rollercoaster, Disney and Universal Studios legacy, adventure & Water rides, and killer whales among other wild life in these best amusement parks of California.

Disneyland Park, Los Angeles - Best Amusement park of California

location_on Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park inLos Angeles is the King of Theme and Adventure Parks. It is the first Disney Park and the only built complete under direct supervision of Walt Disney.

Interact with your star cartoon characters and ride the adventurous blood pumping rides. Disney Castles, Space Mountain Rides, Shops, Cafes, Roller Coasters, Ferris Wheels, the fun is endless. Kids especially will love this park and should be a top thing to do on your family vacation in California.

Disneyland Park is popularly known as the happiest place on Earth, house to fun and thrilling rides, haunted mansion, Princess castles, Star Wars sets, Pirates story and many more interesting attractions. Here, you can have a wonderful dining experience too.

Must See at Disneyland Park

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Featuring Star Wars themed attractions, dining, merchandise and more.

  • Tomorrowland: Explore space-age attractions, Characters, dining and souvenirs

  • it's a small world: Take a musical boat ride around the world

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: experience a pirate story through Walt’s latest animation technology

  • Haunted mansion: Take a trip to the haunted house, encounter ghosts on the way

Character Encounters

  • Disney Princesses: Meet the Disney Princesses at Royal Hall in Fantasy Faire. Timing: :8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

  • Star Wars Launch Bay: look at actual props, costumes and authentic replica. Encounter Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and Rey.

Disneyland Park is located at Anaheim about 30 kms from Los Angeles. It is a must-visit attraction on a trip to Los Angeles.

Find more information on Disneyland Park website here.

Knott's Berry Farm - Best adventure rides park in California

location_on Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm, located in Buena Park, is a world famous themed park popular for various rides, shows and themed attractions.

Knott's Berry Farm has some of the most adventurous rides of America like

  • Silver Bullet: California's largest inverted roller coaster
  • HangTime: the steepest drop coaster in California
  • Ghostrider the West Coast's longest, fastest and tallest wooden roller coaster

Camp Snoopy is popular among kids for its rides, interactive shows and meetups with Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang.

Popular attractions in Knott's Berry Farm are

Ghost Town

It is popular for the demonstration of the art of the blacksmith, woodcarver, glass-blower, sign cutter, spinner, gauge railroading and farm equipments.

Not only interesting demonstrations, Ghost Town also hosts seasonal shows such as Christmas Carol and Halloween Haunt thrill show. There are performances such as aerial tricks with acrobatics, trampolines, and riding ramps with skates, scooters, skateboards, and freestyle bikes to popular music.

Thrill seekers should try Silver Bullet and GhostRider Roller Coaster rides. A classic themed log flume attraction, Timber Mountain Log Ride is worth experiencing too.

For light fun Butterfield Stagecoach and Calico Mine Ride are perfect.

Boardwalk themed area

It includes physical challenges such as a rock wall, soccer, basketball and a rope ladder crawl.

Many fun games such as squirt gun into clowns mouth, knock off milk bottles, pitch a quarter onto a plate and others are available in this part of Knott's Berry Farm.

Thrill seekers should try Coast Rider, HangTim, Xcelerator and Supreme Scream in Boardwalk themed area.

For light fun include Pacific Scrambler, Sky Cabin, Surfside Gliders, Voyage to the Iron Reef, Bumper Cars and others.

Camp Snoopy

It is themed around "Peanuts" comic strip characters. Camp Snoopy majorly attracts families and kids as most of the rides here are built for children.

Rides worth experiencing here are Sierra Sidewinder, Timberline Twister, High Sierra Ferris Wheel, Flying Ace, Balloon Race and Camp Bus.

Find more information on Knott's Berry Farm website here.

Universal Studios Hollywood - Best Movie themed park in California

location_on Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Holywood sign in Los Angeles, California
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At Universal Studios Hollywood, in Los Angeles, California you can visit the movie sets and bring TV into reality as well as experience the fun theme park.

Experience tours of popular movies like Harry Potter, Kung Fu Panda, Transformers, Fast and Furious and many more. Not only studio tours, they also offer shops and restaurants to its visitors.

Must do activities in Universal Studios Hollywood are

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Visit the sets of Harry Potter movie, including the castle, Hogsmeade (The Three Broomsticks, Honeydukes, The Hog's Head), Ollivander's Wand Shop. You must also explore various rides and attractions like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff, a junior rolller coster

  • DreamWorks Theatre: Experience the Multi-Sensory Attraction in a theatre featuring Kung Fu Panda

  • The Walking Dead Attraction: Walk through the world of the movie The Walking Dead and have a thrilling fight for your survivor

  • Fast & Furious - Supercharged: Experience hyper-realistic special effects, including 3D-HD imagery of the hit movies in this tour

  • King Kong 360 3-D: Explore the 3D 360 degree interaction with King Kong

  • Springfield U.S.A.: Visit downtown Springfield with the Simpsons

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Take a 3-D ride with the minions

  • Transformers The Ride-3D: Take a 3D ride that will mould fiction into reality

  • WaterWorld: Thrilling experience of the water with jumping jet-skiers, perilous plunges, firefights, massive explosions, and an in-your-face plane crash

  • EXTRA at Universal Studios Hollywood: Watch in-person interviews of the Hollywood actors

  • Visit behind the scenes of a real working movie studio

Find more information on Universal Studios Hollywood website here.

Legoland California - Best learning park of California

location_on LEGOLAND California

Legoland California is a theme as well as miniature park in Carlsbad, California. The complete park is based on the Lego toy brand.

Legoland has more than 60 rides, shows and attractions. One of the most popular attractions here is Legoland Ninjago: The Ride, which is an interactive experience where kids can control animated fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice.

Kids have a lot of fun with Dragon Coaster, Self Driving Cars, Heartlake City themed around Friends and many more.

Legoland classic all time attractions include

  • Lego Ninjago with theme Master of the 4th Dimension where kids can become part of the 4D action as Master Wu prepares the ninjas to take on the teachings of the mysterious ‘Scroll of the 4th Dimension’ but with disastrous consequences.

  • Sea Life Aquarium Shows and Feeding: Learn about the sea life and have close encounters with sea creatures including sharks, octopi and rays.

  • The Meet and Greets: Kids can meet the stars of the Lego Movie - Officer in Pursuit, Lego Ninjago characters and many more kids favorite costume characters.

  • Lego Friends: Attractions around the ever-changing themes

Legoland new attractions include

  • 20th Birthday Character Dance Party, where kids can sing along to new songs and learn new dance moves.

  • Surfers Cove on Riptide Racers you race against the clock, the new timed water slides are perfect for some family competitions.

  • LEGO City 4D - Officer in Pursuit!, where Police Officers take help of kids to capture the crooks.

  • Duplo Playtown is one of the most scenic area of the Park. Kids can have fun sliding, hiding and riding in this interactive play area as well as take a fun-filled ride in the express train.

Find more information on Legoland California website here.

Six Flags Magic Mountain - Most Roller Coasters in the world

location_on Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain is a Theme Park in Santa Clarita, California. Six Flags Magic Mountain is popular to hold maximum number of roller coasters in the world.

Magic Mountain is also famous as the Thrill Capital of the World as it offers heart pounding roller coasters as well as gentler roller coasters for kids.

Thrill Rides in Six Flags Magic Mountain include

  • X2: The most dangerous of all: this world's first 4th Dimension roller coaster, speed-blasts through dives, flips and twists while spinning you in frenzied 360 degree loop.

  • Full Throttle takes you through tunnels and explode from three launches. It is one of the world's tallest vertical loops at 160 feet.

  • Goliath is a hypercoaster that opens with a drop of 255 feet (78 m) into a subterranean tunnel and multiple steep banking turns.

  • Riddler's Revenge is a stand-up coaster which is the fastest & highest of its kind with loops, corkscrews and drops.

  • Scream! has Floorless trains which provides a flying experience to its riders.

  • Batman Ride takes you on an intense ride of loops and twists.

  • Tatsu is a metal dragon with face-down ride during a set of drops, corkscrews, and zero G rolls.

  • Twisted Colossus is a hybrid coaster with two trains racing against each other.

  • West Coast Racers is a quadruple launch racing coaster.

  • Viper is an intense looping frenzy as you bolt down a snake-like course at 70 mph.

Few moderate rides to experience are Apocalypse Ride, Gold Rusher, Ninja and The New Revolution with VR Goggles. Your kids will surely enjoy the Canyon Blaster, the Magic Flyer and the Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers.

Find more information on Six Flags Magic Mountain website here.

Disney California Adventure - Best Teenage park of California

location_on Disney California Adventure Park
Pixer Pier and Mickey Ride in Disney Califronia Adventure in Los Angeles

Disney California Adventure is a theme park opened adjacent to the original Disneyland Park. The theme of the park revolves around fun and adventure loving California.

Disney California Adventure has been constantly expanding adding more rides, shows and attractions. Disney California Adventure specifically appeals to the teenagers with more extreme and daring rides in its pocket.

Rides and Attractions in Disney California Adventure includes

Cars Land

Experience fine dining, shopping and entertainment around Disney franchise, Cars. It has three popular attractions.

  • Radiator Springs Racers is designated to Kids, Tweens, Teens and Adults. Here you can road race featuring familiar car-actors, stunning scenery and “wheel” thrills. Take a tour of Ornament Valley and explore Cars (movie) themed attractions in Radiator Springs.
  • Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters where you climb aboard colorful car that “dances” its way across Luigi’s lot to tire-tapping Italian tunes.
  • Mater's Junkyard Jamboree here you aboard a tractor-trailer which whirls in “figure eight” moves around the dance floor.

Pixar Pier

Here you watch Pixar Stories and Characters come to life. Pixar Pier is divided into four neighbourhoods

  • Incredibles Park features Incredicoaster, a roller coaster and a cookie stand called Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums.
  • Toy Story Boardwalk hosts Jessie's Critter Carousel, inspired by Toy Story 2 and Wild west theme
  • The Pixar Promenade features Pixar Pal-A-Round, an eccentric wheel featuring gondolas with the faces of notable Disney Pixar characters.
  • Inside Out Headquarters has a spinner attraction named Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind and few dining space and shops.

Pacific Wharf

It is a waterfront destination featuring distinctive dining, wine bars, lounges and more. Popular attractions here include

  • The Bakery Tour hosted by Boudin Bakery In this tour you get to see how the world-famous San Francisco sourdough bread is made.
  • Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar: You can watch a short video and inspect a scale land model created by the Walt Disney Imagineering Model Shop, and dispatch coaster trains just like a real ride operator.

Live Entertainment

Witness Anna and Elsa’s tale come to life in the enchanted journey of The Frozen Live Show at Hyperion. Kids can dance with Mickey and Disney Junior characters.

Find more information on Disney California Adventure website** here.

SeaWorld San Diego - Best Animal and Marine park in California

location_on SeaWorld San Diego
Orca killer whale in SeaWorld San Diego, Califronia

SeaWorld San Diego is a fusion of an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park. You can have one of a kind family experience at SeaWorld San Diego with range of animal encounters, thrilling rides, and amazing shows to offer.

Animal Experiences

Orcas ( toothed black and white killer whales), bottlenose dolphins encounters, close-up look at walruses and beluga whales, spending time with Penguins, Sea Lions and Seals, underwater shark viewing tunnel, close-up look at loggerhead, hawksbill and green sea turtles.

Rides & Thrills

Thrill Roller Coasters, Teacup Rides, Submarine Rides, Gliding Gondola Skyrides. Electric Eel in SeaWorld San Diego is the tallest, fastest roller coaster in San Diego.

Shows and Presentations

  • Orca (Killer Whale) Encounter: Learn about the hunting techniques, complex communication codes and other behaviours of Orcas.

  • Dolphin Days: Watch the athleticism and playfulness of dolphins and pilot whale family.

  • Polynesian Fire Dancing: Witness the breathtaking performances of Fire Dancing.

  • Sea Lions Live: Watch the Sea Lion comedy duo, Clyde & Seamore star alongside their Asian Small-Clawed Otter buddy.

  • Sea Rescue: Listen to the stories of marine animal rescue and rehabilitation.

Find more information on SeaWorld San Diego website here.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom - Mix of everything park in California

location_on Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is an animal theme park in Vallejo, California. The unique package of zoo, aquarium and an amusement park attracts a lot of families and kids every year.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom offers Thrill rides, Family and Kids Rides, animal Encounters and Animal Attractions including dolphins encounter, Odin’s Temple of Tigers, and wildlife experience shows.

Top Things to do in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

  • Thrill Rides include some of the fastest, tallest, wildest, most pulse pounding rides. These rides include Boomerang Coast to Coaster, Cobra, Dare Devil Chaos Coaster, Tasmanian Devil, Hammerhead Shark, SkyScreamer, Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth and more.

  • Family Rides include bumper car, teacup-style spin-a-rama, ride through a raging waterfall, Rock Wall Climbing Challenge, carousel-topped tower and Rafting experience in White Water Safari.

  • Kids Rides include indoor playhouse, twirling helicopters, swinging ship, revolving hot air balloons, smaller-scale chair lift, teacup-style spinner, junior coaster, Safari Jeep Tours and many more.

  • Animal Attractions include Alligator Isle, where you can see live Alligator in action, Cougar Rocks, where the big cats such as Tigers reside, Penguin Passage, which is a colony of African Penguins. In addition to Lion's Lair, Reptile Zone, Shark Experience in walk-through tunnel and many others.

  • Animal Encounters include Dolphins, Giraffe, Seals, Sharks, Sea Lions, Butterflies and more. You can wear a wetsuit and have a close encounter with Dolphins in water, Sleep with Sharks, and take care of Sea Lions.

Find more information on Six Flags Discovery Kingdom website here.