Every summer, a group of my friends and I go to an amusement park for the day. In the past, the destination has always been Six Flags Great Adventure, conveniently located about an hour and a half away from New York City—although the traffic getting there can sometimes be very intense. However, this summer we decided to change things up a little and try a new park—Dorney Park.
Dorney Park, in Allentown, PA, is about a two hour drive from New York City. Leaving from the city at around 9:30 on a Friday morning in early June, we didn’t hit any traffic and got there just as the day was getting hot. Luckily, unlike Six Flags, a ticket to Dorney Park includes both the amusement park and the water park, Wildwater Kingdom. We picked up $10 off coupons for full-day tickets, which you can get at Dunkin Donuts or Subway.
You can easily pass from Wildwater Kingdom to Dorney Park and vice versa; though you’ll have to put on clothes and shoes over your bathing suit to leave the water park area (you can rent a locker for the entire day for your clothes and bags). The water park is not huge, but was definitely fun. There is a long lazy river—perfect for relaxing and working on your tan as you lie in an inner tube—and numerous waterslides, including Aquablast, a giant slide with multi-person rafts. For kids, there are numerous water playgrounds. There are two wave pools, although only one was open the day that we went. Throughout the day, we alternated between the water rides and the Dorney Park rides, and so were able to keep relatively cool on a hot and humid day. When the water park closed at 6, it was cool enough to really enjoy the theme park rides, which didn’t close until 10.
The amusement park features many types of rides, although my group of friends was mainly interested in the thrill rides. Though it may not boast the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster as Six Flags Great Adventure does, Dorney Park still had some rides that I had to get up the nerve to go on. These included the Dominator, a ride encompassing two 200-foot tall towers, one of which blasts riders 15 stories in the air, the other of which slowly lifts riders up the tower, then thrusts them downward at speeds faster than freefall. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try a ride on both of the towers—it was definitely worth it. Another pulse-pounding ride was Possessed, a roller coaster shaped like a U that propelled us vertically up half of the U, and then went into reverse freefall up the other side. Although I had to be strongly encouraged by my friends to go on Possessed, my screams during the ride were from a combination of fun and fear (rather than just fear)!
Dorney Park has four other roller coasters, three steel and one wooden. I would recommend a ride on the wooden Thunderhawk for kids who aren’t quite ready for roller coasters that go upside down yet. The park also has many kid friendly rides including a log flume, carousel, and Ferris wheel. Food at the park was pricey, but no more so than any other theme park. Generally, the park seemed clean and well-kept, and the lines (though this may have been because we visited on a weekday) were much shorter than at Six Flags. I would definitely return to Dorney Park, and would recommend it to theme park enthusiasts of all ages.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.