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The 7 Best Amusement Parks in the Northeast

2. Knoebels

What you’re taking from this list is that Pennsylvania is where it’s at for theme park tourists. Knoebels resides in Elysburg and has a hard-earned reputation as the place for old school ride aficionados to go. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you visit this park due to its stubbornly archaic attractions.

Park officials carefully track rides at other parks, sometimes buying them and transporting them to Knoebels. It would feel like a ride graveyard but for the loving care demonstrated by the park’s maintenance team. They restore and refine all of the attractions, thereby creating a multi-generational experience where older guests can relive their youth while kids can visit a time before their parents were even born.

Knoebels is a perennial award winner for its attractions, but the food is the real star to many. Knoebels prices everything as if the clock had stopped in 1982. You won’t believe the cost of many menu items and will feel ripped off at any theme park that you visit after this one. The park even employs the old-timey ticket system wherein you pay only for the rides that you want rather than a general admission price. 

1. Six Flags Great Adventure

Image: Six FlagsChoosing the best theme park in the Northeast is a brutal exercise. As you can see, many entrants are worthy of the top spot. I don’t see a significant drop from the first to fifth parks and could have easily ranked any of the top four as the best overall. The debate comes down to attractions that celebrate the past versus those that embrace the future.

Six Flags Great Adventure falls into the latter category. Located in Jackson, New Jersey, it’s in the discussion for best overall Six Flags in the world. The key to its popularity is its thrill rides. This place is a bucket list destination for adrenaline junkies.

 Great Adventure is home to Kingda Ka, one of the most insane roller coasters in the world. It’s both the tallest roller coaster at 456 feet and the second-fastest on the planet. Theme park tourists who want to drop 418 feet or go 128 miles per hour simply must ride Kingda Ka.

Image: Six FlagsThe other record-setter at Great Adventure is El Toro, a wooden roller coaster. It has one of the steepest drops at 76 degrees, and its top speed of 70 miles per hour is also among the best in the world. With a track length of 4,400 square feet, El Toro delivers an unparalleled ride experience in 100 seconds. It has been chosen as the best wooden roller coaster in the world on multiple occasions.

Remarkably, you’ll find other roller coasters here that are almost equal to Kingda Ka and El Toro. Batman: The Ride is a popular cloned attraction at several Six Flags parks, but there’s a reason that they keep duplicating it. Batman scores extremely high on park surveys. Superman: Ultimate Flight does an impressive job of simulating the sensation of flight on a roller coaster, no easy feat.

The two other stars of Great Adventure are The Joker and Nitro. The latter is a hyper coaster that goes 80 miles per hour for most of its 5,394 square feet of track. It, too, is perennially ranked as one of the top steel coasters in the world. The Joker is a ride that will draw your attention from across the park due to its bizarre track design.

With so many top tier theme park attractions, Great Adventure stands out as the best of all theme parks in the Northeast, but so many of them are extremely good. Passionate fans may want to book a trip wherein you spend a week hitting several of these parks. It’d be one of the best vacations of your life.

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