Unsung Theme Parks

Looking for overlooked parks

From Ciaran Grewar
Posted July 26, 2010 at 7:12 PM
They're are lots of small regional and family theme parks but in your opinion whats the best theme park that at times is overlooked?

From Anthony Murphy
Posted July 26, 2010 at 9:09 PM
I think the problem is that many of them are closed now due to the economy. Sure, there are probably some good ones out there still!

Dollywood has always been a dark horse favorite for me, but I am not sure if it really fits what you are looking for!

From Amanda Jenkins
Posted July 26, 2010 at 9:51 PM
I agree, Anthony. One that I loved to visit for years (that killed me when it closed) was Opryland in Nashville. To think that it now has a huge mall in its place hurts me (since I hate shopping). It had some decent coasters, water rides, and such. Here in my hometown (Memphis,Tn) we lost yet another theme park that was Elvis' own favorite...Libertyland. Now this park rarely updated anything, though it did have two decent coasters. Here again though it stayed rundown, and depended more on people's nostaliga and the Midsouth fair's attendees for revenue.

I believe that it is very hard for theme parks to survive when there is not a big name backing them, i.e. Disney and Universal; or a supportive surrounding community.

From James Rao
Posted July 26, 2010 at 10:03 PM
Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri is the best THEME park east of SoCal and West of Orlando.

From Tim Chatlos
Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:06 AM
Idlewild in Ligonier, Pennsylvania is a wonderful park that never seems to get much attention. It's located in such a beautiful setting (loads of trees and shade) and easily one of the most family-friendly parks we've ever visited.

From Nick Markham
Posted July 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM
Idelwild may be overlooked, but Dollywood and Silver Dollar City are certainly not small, family owned, overlooked parks.

Lagoon, my home park in Utah, is quite the overlooked park including 8 coasters (which includes the top 50 coaster Wicked!) and plenty of other great attractions!

From Derek Potter
Posted July 28, 2010 at 8:51 PM
Knoebels and Kennywood in PA....always overlooked.

Silver Dollar City doesn't get a whole lot of play either. Such a great park.

From Tony Duda
Posted July 29, 2010 at 4:31 PM
I really would like to hear of unsung parks in this discussion and by that I mean if the park is listed on TPI's Theme Park Rating and Reviews page, it does not qualify. Come on people, what are these parks? There is a huge geographic gap between Texas and California that is unaccounted for.

From KJ Simpson
Posted July 29, 2010 at 6:54 PM
I'll throw two parks into the mix- Fantasy Island (Grand Island, NY), and Playland (Rye, NY). If I can get my act together (and overcome my writer's stagefright), I hope to post a trip report about each of them within the coming weeks...

From Derek Potter
Posted July 29, 2010 at 7:38 PM
There just aren't a lot of parks in the west. Lakeside Park in Denver Colorado is a pretty neat old operation.

From Nick Markham
Posted July 29, 2010 at 9:28 PM
^You are excluding the West Coast from that statement correct? Still, even if those were included along with the parks in the midwest, it would not come very close to the number of parks in the east!

From James Rao
Posted July 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM
Hey, several of us TPI regulars lobbied hard to get Silver Dollar City, Holiday World, and even Worlds of Fun on this website! Just because a park has a TPI page does not necessarily mean it has a huge, national following!

But once they do get a TPI page... the sky's the limit!!! =)

From Derek Potter
Posted July 30, 2010 at 3:38 AM
California is excluded from my previous statement.

From Russell Meyer
Posted July 31, 2010 at 6:40 PM
Kneobel's. However, if they ever get Flying Turns working, it may not be overlooked much longer.

From steve lee
Posted July 31, 2010 at 8:25 PM
Ditto to what James said. Hell, two years ago Hard Rock Park had its own page...

From Formula 40
Posted July 31, 2010 at 9:22 PM
Funland - Rehoboth, DE

Blue Diamond Park - Bear, DE

Lol...theme parks in Delaware get no love!

From Anthony O'Neal
Posted August 1, 2010 at 11:28 PM
I'll always have a soft spot for Michigan's Adventure (Muskegon, MI). They've got one or two decent coasters, including Shivering Timbers.

From Elizabeth Gray
Posted August 4, 2010 at 11:22 AM
Just went to 4 regional parks in Centra PA. I have posted trip reports but they are not onsite yet.

WOW is KNOEBLES great! It gets very little attenion on this site.

Also IDLEWILD is big enough to have it's own review page and it dosen't here on TPI. WHY?

The best however is KENNYWOOD. I have posted ride reviews on its ride pages. However I am like the only one who has.

UPDATE: My Trip reports are up!

From Tyler Bell
Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM

From Nick Markham
Posted August 3, 2010 at 2:13 PM
^Carowinds just got Intimidator, in addition to Afterburn and 8 others, not to mention owned by Cedar Fair. Not too overlooked to me...

From Nick Markham
Posted August 3, 2010 at 2:13 PM
^Carowinds just got Intimidator, in addition to Afterburn and 8 others, not to mention owned by Cedar Fair. Not too overlooked to me...

From Will Chilcote
Posted August 3, 2010 at 4:19 PM
Kennywood outside of Pittsburgh, PA is amazing. Its like going to an amusement park museum.

I also heard about a park outside of Salt Lake City, UT called Lagoon.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 4, 2010 at 12:54 PM
^That is where I live,a nd it is much to the quality of a nice Six Flags or Cedar Fair park (it was almost bought by Six Flags, thank goodness it wasn't!)

It was actually very recognized by Kennywood when it stole its ideas for Sky Rocket from Lagoon's Wicked! (it is very similar, only Wicked is bigger and better)

From Mike Bianucci
Posted August 11, 2010 at 12:38 PM
One of my favorite's is indiana beach in the Northern indiana cornfields. It is on lake Schaffer and a large portion of the park is on a pier along the lake. it has a great "old amusement park" atmosphere along with a fair amount of coasters for a mid sized park. It is worth checking out.

From AJ Hummel
Posted August 11, 2010 at 4:41 PM
California has a neat little park called Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. It isn't really a thrill park, but has some of the best landscaping I have seen anywhere. I've only been once and planned on a four hour visit, but ended up staying over five and wishing I could stay longer.

From Tyler Bell
Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:29 AM
Nick, you can not compare Carowinds to ANY Disney Park,Universal Park or SeaWorld & Entertainment Park.

From Carrie Hood
Posted August 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM
I've gotta vote my childhood favorites: Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, PA and Idlewild Park in Ligonier, PA.

Idlewild is a great family park still having a "Soak Zone" with a pool for cooling off and a Storybook Forest.

Kennywood is Cedar Point East as we call it here. It's a ride park with some classics that have stood the test of time.

The other park I totally LOVE outside of the Mega Parks is Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. If you haven't been there or heard of it, you simply MUST go. They constantly find new attractions pushed out of other parks, bring them in and give them new life. Plus their carousel still has the golden ring!

From Joe Brown
Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:13 PM
Mt Olympus in Wisconsin Dells, WI

From Pyra Dong
Posted August 13, 2010 at 8:04 PM
TONY! Between Texas and California-- You forgot about Las Vegas. Yeah yeah i know that's not a real, formal theme park but bear with me.

Each hotel has a theme!!!!! Scattered throughout Vegas there are roller coasters and other rides (New York New York roller coaster, thrill rides atop Stratosphere, AdventureDome in Circus Circus, etc) Between the themes, rides, and of course the shows... That's an awesome unsung theme park.

P.S. I have a little spot in my heart for the roller coaster in the Circus Circus hotel because he was my first.

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