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One of the biggest thrills of any summer is the anticipation of the big roller coaster drop: you’re sitting in your nerves and giggles, your car makes its way to the top, and your eyes open wide as you see the view over the edge -- along with your mouth as you scream in excitement the whole way down. New Jersey is an area ripe with amusement parks that are fun for the whole family, and we put together a list of our favorites! Let us know if you find yourself at one of our picks with a shout out on social with the hashtag #SEARCHtheBurbs !
Bowcraft Amusement Park
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This small but mighty amusement park is located in Scotch Plains, and is a tried and true spot for summer fun geared towards a smaller crowd. There are the favorite rides, like the junior coaster, the Pirate Ship, and the Tilt-a-Whirl, along with arcade games and food stands. Though it is not a spot for big thrill rides, it is a great environment for families and kids who may find themselves anxious or pressured at amusement parks with bigger rides and crowds. You could even host a group event with four hours of private, unlimited rides; prices vary depending on the size of the group, but it ends up being pretty affordable at a range of $18.95-$21.95 per person. Its traditional vibe fits so well into the idea of summer fun, and has been a local staple for years.
Diggerland Amusement Park
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This unique amusement park has centered all of its attractions around construction equipment, and that in and of itself is a reason why it made our list! Diggerland is located in West Berlin, and has both a theme park and water park. You have your standard thrill rides and water slides, along with opportunities to operate some construction machinery with supervision, and notable activities such as ziplining, rock climbing, and a new air cannon shooting range. Pricing is inclusive for both sides of the park, whether it’s a season pass or just a day ticket; the only thing to watch out for is the hours of both sides of the park differ, so plan your day accordingly. And if your corporate team wants to get in on some construction fun, there is a special event called Diggerland XL where you can operate heavy machinery and smash cars -- what better team building activity is out there?
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A little outside of the New Jersey area in Coney Island, the legendary amusement park is only about an hour drive from suburbs like Westfield It is definitely worth the trip for the proximity to the beach, the nostalgic feel, and the many things to do. It was home to the very first roller coaster, the Gravity Switchback Railway, built in 1884 -- and has built on its history with numerous rides, arcade games, and food options. Luna Park’s current famous attractions include the Coney Island Cyclone, the B&B Carousel, and the New Thunderbolt. Tickets are now sold by admission; there are two types of admission wristbands, one for riding rides and one for just spectating. The tickets are timed to make sure guests have ample space and comfortability, and they advise buying admission tickets online to get you in the park faster. Make sure you also stop by and get a hot dog and/or corn dog from Nathan’s, or visit the Coney Island freak show if you are looking for something different to do!
Six Flags Great Adventure
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There is no other amusement park that compares to Six Flags Great Adventure; it’s basically the synonym for “amusement park” in the New Jersey area. It’s located in Jackson, but there is a reason why people from all over the country flock to it. It has a variety of rides for all ages, both of the theme park and water park variety at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. The newest is The Jersey Devil, the world’s tallest, longest, and fastest single-rail coaster. El Toro, arguably the greatest wooden roller coaster out there, is currently closed, but Bizzaro, Superman, and Kingda Ka (the world’s highest roller coaster) are still open to ride. Some of their smaller but still thrilling attractions include Skull Mountain, the Sawmill Log Flume, and the Runaway Mine Train are the perfect thrill for kids who are just getting big enough for “big kThey even have a drive-thru safari for all of the animal lovers out there! With an expansive park and a season pass deal that essentially pays for itself in one trip, Six Flags is a great option for the whole family!