Tag Archives: Amusement Park

Dinosaurs in Lancaster County?

Every year my family takes several trips to Dutch Wonderland, but this year we were doubly excited to make our first trip – we were going to see dinosaurs!

Dutch Wonderland is a 48-acre amusement park tailored for families with children under the age of 10. The park is themed around a princess named Brooke, the Knight of Safety, Merlin the Magician, and Duke the friendly Dragon. Built in 1963 the park has 34 rides including two roller coasters.

We normally ride the Wonderland Express train when we first arrive, but the thing my family couldn’t wait to do this year was visit the new Exploration Island. My children, ages 4 and 6, wanted to head there first, so we made our way to the back of the park. We couldn’t believe the changes Dutch Wonderland had made to the island which used to be a decorative garden area until last year when construction began.

They ran for the Dino Dig area which has three large sand pits with buried “fossils” for the kids to uncover. Shovels and brushes were there for them to play with as well as some digging machines my son fell in love with. Two of the areas were covered with shade which made nice spots for the littlest kids to play.

Nearby we could hear some prehistoric sounds, so we dropped our shovels and made our way to the Prehistoric Path. Here we met over a dozen dinosaurs that moved and made sounds as we passed them. The dinosaurs had signs which explained their official names and a little about them. There was even a dinosaur you could control yourself and a dino egg to climb in!

We tried out the Sunoco Turnpike at its new home on Exploration Island as well. Even my 4 year old was able to drive the car (with a little help, of course). We enjoyed the lengthened route around the island which went by the dinosaurs and along the water where the Gondola Cruise boats travel.

We spent a good hour on Exploration Island, but then went in search of something cold to drink. Dutch Wonderland offers refillable toddler cups which are a great size for smaller hands. We keep these cups all year long to use on car trips. They are a great value since they also come with reduced price refills – or you can get water refills in them for free.

Some of our favorite rides at Dutch Wonderland include: the Monorail where we love to sit up front with the driver or in the very last car, the River Boat which is now themed like a Jungle Cruiser and is a great place for the little ones to settle down if they are overexcited, and the Dragon’s Lair which takes you on a ride in a log through the lake near Duke’s home. There is a special surprise waiting there in the cave so be looking for it!

If you have never been to Dutch Wonderland before you will be surprised by the many things to do in addition to rides. There is Duke’s Lagoon water park open during the summer, many games with great prizes, panning for gems, pony rides, tiny buildings to explore, rabbits, chicks, a shooting gallery, and a silo slide. Oh, and don’t forget to milk Bossy the cow and get your picture taken with the giant pretzel!

On top of all those activities the park features many entertainment options. There are strolling musicians, Storytime with Princess Brooke, the music-filled Decades of Dutch Wonderland, and the not-to-be-missed Adventures of the Frog Prince in the Aqua Stadium. Not too many places offer high dive shows, so it is very likely your kids will be amazed by the antics of the divers – just be prepared to get wet if you are in the splash zone!

Dutch Wonderland is also a place to get lots of great treats to eat like Dole Whips, Potato Patch fries with cheese and bacon, Nathan’s hotdogs, Dippin’ Dots, and lots more. There is even a full service restaurant called Merlin’s which includes gluten free items on their menu.

We spent a full day at Dutch Wonderland and can’t wait to go back in the fall for Happy Hauntings when the park is all decked out for some not-so-scary fun and trick-or-treating. We’ll go one last time around the holidays for Winter Wonderland when we can meet Santa and do some Christmas shopping.

If your family includes smaller children and you’d like to visit an amusement park, I suggest you give Dutch Wonderland a try since everything is child-size and tons of fun.

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A kingdom for kids… and parents

Kids love amusement parks – everything from the rides and water attractions, to the food and live entertainment.  While most children of all ages thrive on the activity and craziness, many parents do not.  For those parents, I have two words for you:  Dutch Wonderland.

Dutch Wonderland is a 43-acre amusement park located right off Lincoln Highway East in Lancaster, not far from some of the most beautiful farmland in the county.  Boasting over 30 fun-filled rides, a wonderful water-play area, and fabulous live shows, the park is geared toward families with children up to age 12.  This year, the park celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In addition to the wide variety of rides, the entire park can be described as “clean and green.”   It is quite beautiful really, with gorgeous flower beds, plentiful areas for sitting, numerous trees to provide ample shade, and clean walkways.  Because of the layout of the park, and the fact they target younger children, you rarely experience long lines like you might at typical amusement parks.  In addition, there are lots of food and drink offerings, all reasonably priced.

Since my kids are teenagers, I thought I’d enlist the help of my good friend, 6-year-old Bailey, to tell me about her recent experience at Dutch Wonderland.

Bailey, what was your favorite ride at Dutch Wonderland?

“Turtle Twirl, because it went around in circles and I love it so much. It made me giggle a lot!”

How about your favorite food?
“The cookies and cream Dippin’ Dots.”  (Yummy….my kids always loved them, too!)

What was your favorite thing about the park?
“I rode the big roller coaster with my hands up after the third time!”  (Bailey’s mom told me they were able to ride each ride 3-4 times because of either no, or minimal, lines!)

How did you like Duke’s Lagoon waterpark?
“I loved it! I got to go down the slides. They were so awesome. I went down the big, black one that was dark. I didn’t think it was scary, but Mommy screamed. I liked going down the orange slide, too, in the play area and shooting water at people.”

As you can tell, Bailey had a great time at Dutch Wonderland, and I am certain you and your family will as well.  For more information, please visit www.dutchwonderland.com.

Dutch WINTER Wonderland

My wife and I always set aside an evening during the holidays to take the boys over to Dutch Winter Wonderland.  Dutch Wonderland is such a special place for young children during the summer it’s easy to overlook they have special hours during the fall for Happy Hauntings, and then again over the holidays as well.

The main attraction for us is always the Royal Light Show.  DW literally has tens of thousands of lights strung up throughout the hub of the park all synched to a stirring holiday soundtrack.  Make sure to take the sky ride, or take a drive with the antique cars to either get a birdseye view of the show, or drive right through the heart of it.

Of course, many of our favorite rides are open in addition to the holiday specific attractions.  My 2-year-old is a fan of Duke’s Dozers (miniature bulldozers), the Off-Road Rally (nice and tame Monster Trucks!), and of course taking a tour of the light be-decked park on their miniature train, the Wonderland Special!  The older boys (6 and 9 respectively) ride the Twister, hit up the bumper cars, and take a swing on the Space Shuttle (a space-themed Viking ship type ride).

If you have any budding young female royalty in your family, you might want to check out Storytime with the Princess.

With so much to see and do and at a great price, Dutch Winter Wonderland is another budding holiday tradition for the Evans family right here in Lancaster County.

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