By Geek Mama Amanda Gurall
Updated Discount Code (for Summer 2018) — see bottom of the post. I love that from NYC we have so many great places to visit for day and weekend trips within a three hour drive. We took a trip to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA and had an absolutely wonderful time. Dutch Wonderland is a quaint amusement park on beautiful grounds and surrounded by the farmland of Lancaster. They have 30 rides, a water splash section and the all new for 2014 Exploration Island with animatronic dinosaurs.
The park was incredibly clean and well kept, every ride seemed very safe and their height chart was clear and easy to follow, posted at each ride. There are no killer coasters, no thrill rides and nothing to scare smaller children so it meant even my two year old could experience most rides and there were zero tears. No rude teenagers roaming around OR working at the park as we found everyone very pleasant and helpful. The park has so much to offer but everything is close enough together that it made it very walkable.
There are also quaint amish and what are now “retro” touches to the park that I found really charming. Which were a long silo slide my children must have run up a dozen times, little animatronic displays of Amish life, playhouses and of course their iconic pretzel to take photos in front of.
They have several different performances throughout the day including fantastic dive shows with daring jumps and a lot of laughs for the kids. Do listen to the park employees when they want you about the splash zone because you might get really wet (which is great on a hot summer day). The land is ruled by a princess, a knight of safety, Merlin the wizard and Duke the purple dragon all of which are available for a chat and photos throughout the day.
I think our favorite ride was the train ride, one of the original rides from the park’s 1963 opening date. The kids loved the frog jump, the old fashioned cars and all of the boat rides. Our longest line on a nice Saturday was about 20 minutes for the gondola boats (but mostly because it is a slow loading ride). Otherwise we breezed on and off everything sometimes multiple times with no issue and we were often allowed to stay on a ride for a second go. The splash pad and water slide area was a lot of fun as well but if you’re not in the mood it is situated so that it is easy to avoid with the kids.
The grounds were absolutely beautiful and we often stopped to relax and take in the creek or adjacent farm lands. The food we most enjoyed was the Potato Patch and we bought some refillable souvenir cups which give you refills for 99 cents (though most of the time we refilled with free ice water). Outside food can be eaten just outside the gates in a shaded picnic area. One of the nicest areas of the park is the new Exploration Island where you can have a shaded stroll through the dinosaurs and read about them as you go but you can also drive the motor cars or take a gentle ride on the gondolas to enjoy them. There is also a digging area where kids can look for fossils and parents can sit and relax.
We ended up having such a fun time that we stayed for 10 hours! We were not rushed and just enjoyed every minute as a family. There was so much to see but it did not feel overwhelming (which is great for smaller children). There are plenty of benches and spots to rest and snack and a large gift shop. They also have a sit down restaurant called Merlin’s and while we did not eat there, it looked like a fun break with a more extensive menu then the other restaurants. They offer a character breakfast for $13.99 per person.
There are many things to do in Lancaster but I think the charming Dutch Wonderland is absolutely a must-do for families with young children and we are planning to go back again next year for sure.
Tickets are $37.75 for ages 3-59, seniors are $31.75 however if you purchase your tickets online and seven days in advance you will only pay $33.75 per person!
Cool Fact: All tickets allow you to preview the park the evening before your ticketed visit for free! Just come to the ticket office three hours before the park closes and enjoy the extra time which is a great value.
They also have combo deals including one with Hershey Park , so look before booking a Hershey trip.
Also if your child is celebrating a birthday ask for a celebration sticker and they will get lots of happy greetings all day!
Go to www.dutchwonderland.com for tickets and more information.
Psst! Heading to Dutch Wonderland @FUNatDW? I’ve got a discount code for you! Go here and put in this promo code ——–> summerblog18. Buy Tickets: https://www.dutchwonderland.com/blogreader #promocodes #dutchwonderland #familytravel #amusementparks #PAtravel #lancasterPA #visitlancaster
I was compensated with tickets for review purposes but as always all opinions are my own.