Summer is the time of the year that you like to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. It is also the time of year that amusement parks are open every day of the week. Depending on your time and interest, an amusement park can be a day, a weekend, or even a whole week of amusement. If you live in the Pittsburgh area, there is one amusement park practically in your backyard and a few more just a few hours drive away. The following are the best amusement parks in or around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Kennywood – The main advantage of Kennywood is that it is located just outside the main suburbs of Pittsburgh. You can reach it by bus from just about any district in the city and it is a half hour car drive, at most, for the outlying districts. The amusement park features about a half dozen roller coasters, at least one of which that is over 50 years old and the park itself is a historic landmark. You will find all of the traditional rides and games here, including a log flume, and despite the seemingly small size of the park, you should easily get a full day’s worth of amusement. Entrance for a day will cost $34 and a season pass is only $90, which is an excellent deal if you intend to visit at least three times during the season.
Hershey Park – Hershey Park is a bit like a light version of Disney World. It has all of the rides you would normally expect in an amusement park and water park, but it also features Hershey branded characters, like walking Hershey Kisses, and a various forms of live entertainment throughout the park. Wander around and you can find some country music or in another area you may get to participate in a quiz show. Also, as you might expect, there is plenty of Hershey’s chocolate available and you can even go on a tour of the factory. Hershey, PA is about three hours away from Pittsburgh, but the park is associated with a resort, so you can easily make this a two day affair if you’d like. Time it right and you can even watch a concert at a discount on the night after you go to the park. A visit isn’t cheap. A single entry is nearly $60. But if you are willing to spend the money, this park is great for a weekend vacation.
DelGrosso’s Amusement Park – This small park is better described as a carnival than an actual amusement park. It only has a handful of rides, both regular and water slides. But, unlike other nearby parks, it also has a miniature golf course and a go-kart track. Admission to the park is free, but you need to pay for each ride individually. Alternately, you can get a pass for $18 that gives you access to all the rides. This is a great set up for parents who aren’t interested in the rides but want to accompany their children in the park. Altoona, PA is about a two hour drive from Pittsburgh, but even with the driving time, the money you save on tickets and free parking makes this the cheapest option near Pittsburgh for a family of four, and the mini-golf and go-karts are great ways to really enjoy the park with friends or family.
Cedar Point – Cedar Point is the biggest and most modern of the amusement parks in the area. It has hundreds of rides and both the amusement park and the water park are separately larger than Kennywood or DelGrosso’s. All of this comes at a price. To fully enjoy all of the rides in both the water park and the main park will cost almost $90. You actually get two days of entry into the park for that cost, but there is no discount if you only want a single day of both sets of rides. If you can afford the cost, Cedar Point is renowned for having some of the best roller coasters in the country and the water park is almost equally good, featuring dozens of slides, ranging from slow and easy to fast as lightning. The park itself is about a three hour drive from Pittsburgh, which means you will either want to get an early start on your day or plan to spend at least one night at the nearby resort hotel. The park has enough attractions that you could even conceivably spend most of a week there and have an enjoyable vacation.