Top 40 Family Friendly Theme Parks in USA, UK and Europe


April 21, 2015

Theme Park Experience gift ideas for kids and teens

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Are you planning a visit to a theme park this year? With hundreds of Theme Parks to choose from worldwide we asked our readers to tell us their favourite Family Friendly Theme Parks to visit in the USA, UK and Europe. In no particular order, find our top 40 Family Friendly Theme Park picks below grouped by region.

Don’t miss the chance to have your say! We’re looking for parents to get involved and give their feedback on all aspects of family life. Find out more here.

Family Friendly Theme Parks in the USA

According to our readers, Florida is top of the list when it comes to family-friendly Theme Parks in the USA, with Disneyland Resort and Universal Orlando Resort the top family favourites.

#1. Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida

Lots of you love the Sesame Street Safari of Fun perfect for younger kids. Busch Gardens is home to 12,000 animals and has roller coasters, water rides and shows suitable for everyone in the family.

Top Tip: Do the water rides early and change into dry clothes so you can enjoy the rest of the park.

#2. Universal Orlando Resorts, Florida

“A trip to both Universal Studio and Islands of Adventure are a must when you visit Florida” according to A. Clarke. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter spans both parks and offers any fans of the books and films amazing rides and the chance to experience moments from the films.

Experience rides from other famous films too, “we spent 2 days just in Islands of Adventure and I’m not sure we saw it all!” These parks really do have rides and experiences for all ages.

Top Tip: Head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first as it is to the rear of the park and gets very busy later on in the day.

#3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida

You loved Disney’s Animal Kingdom where you could get up close and personal with exotic animals, go on high speed rides and follow jungle trails. “Amazing to see animals just walking by our hotel. Better than my safari holiday”. S Moore

Top Tip: Make sure to see the Lion King Show.

#4. Disney Magic Kingdom Park, Florida

The iconic Magic Kingdom Castle greets you as you arrive by ferry or monorail. Enjoy parades, rides and your favourite Disney characters. “It is such an amazing wonderland for adults and kids. Great memories are made there”. L Torrao

Top Tip: Stay for the evening parade, it really is wonderful.

#5. Wet n Wild, Florida

Wet n Wild Orlando boasts more multi-person rides than any other park in Orlando. Easily reached by public transport you loved the lazy river and Blastaway Beach with its 6 storey castle and 15 slides.

Top Tip: Visit on an overcast day as queues are much smaller!

#6. Walt Disney Epcot, Florida

Disney’s Epcot is a must visit for anyone interested in Space, technology and the world around us. With 2 main worlds to enjoy, Future World showcasing technological innovations and World Showcase, which gives an insight into the culture and cuisine of 11 countries

Top Tip: Stay for the fireworks display

#7. Disney Typhoon Lagoon, Florida

You enjoyed the giant wave pool at the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool and the cool children’s play area at Castaway Creek And for the thrill seekers the water rides got the thumbs up too.

Top Tip: It is worth renting umbrella space if not everyone in your party is wild about rides!

#8. Walt Disney Blizzard Beach, Florida

With a one acre wave pool, family friendly raft rides and exciting water slides Blizzard Beach, ski resort turned water park, got your family friendly vote.

Top Tip: Start your day in the Lazy River as it will help you get your bearings.

#9. Aquatica Seaworld Water Park, Florida

From the Dolphin Plunge as you enter, to Roa’s Rapids where you can relax in your own ring, Aquatica is one waterpark you will definitely want to come back to. “The girls loved the Walkabout Waters and spent a happy hour playing while we relaxed on the sunbeds overlooking this great play area.” T Comer

Top Tip: You can’t bring any food or drinks into the park but there are lockers outside where you can store a picnic.

#10. Seaworld, Florida

You loved the Wild Arctic Ride but be warned it is chilly so wrap up warm before you enter! If it is roller coasters you are after, the ones at Seaworld are more suitable for thrill seekers. “We had a combo park ticket and when we finished at Seaworld we took to courtesy bus to Aquatica Waterpark which is only a 10 minute ride away” D Lyons.

Top Tip: We combined this park with a visit to Seaworld Aquatica on the same day

#11. Funtown Splashtown, Maine, New England

“Small, not crowded and lots of rides the kids can go on by themselves”. H Elsenman. Funtown Splashtown combines rides with a waterpark all for one great price.

Top Tip: Take a ride on the wooden rollercoaster

#12. Disney’s California Adventure Park

You rated Disney’s California Adventure Park as very family friendly as many of the rides were suitable for younger children but the older ones loved them too.  “Our kids loved Mickey’s Fun Wheel.” M Lorenzo. With Disneyland next door you could happily spend a few days between the two.

Top Tip: Definitely go to the World of Color Water Show.

#13. Hershey Park, Hershey, Pennsylvania

You liked the rides at Hershey Park and also that each height is represented by a Hershey Sweet and when you arrive at the Park you are measured up so it is easy to see what rides everyone can go on and plan your visit.

Top Tip: Pack your swimwear for a visit to the waterpark.

#14. Crayola Experience Easton Pennsylvania

The Crayola Experience is a giant creative play centre for kids big and small. From mixing colour to create your very own colour marker in Marker Mania, to producing a wax keepsake from melted crayons in Melt & Mold, the family will enjoy a fun filled day of activities. The Crayola Experience is also opening in Orlando during 2015. (You did say it was expensive for food.)

Top Tip: If you plan on visiting a few times in the year buy an annual pass.

#15. Six Flags

Six Flags have 18 Theme Parks across the US, Mexico and Canada. You told us they are packed full of family rides, brilliant water parks and some have animal shows and encounters. Roller Coaster fanatics are well catered for too!

Top Tip: Our readers recommend you buy a Flash Pass to help skip the queues on busier days.

Family Friendly Theme Parks in Europe

#16. Disneyland Paris, France

‘We loved Big Thunder Mountain as soon as we stepped off the ride my 6 year old sister smiled this huge grin and asked, Can we do that again?” T Bartholomew. Disneyland Paris really is a magical place to visit with the family. But be warned, you will want to spend more than one day here.

Top Tip: Be sure to take in a live show. Check when you arrive to see what time the show for your language is on.

You may also like Disneyland Paris On A Budget.

#17. Puy Du Fou, France

For any families interested in history, the Puy Du Fou is great park to visit. Combining historical live action packed shows with fun water features and beautiful themed gardens and nature trails.

Top Tip: Pick up a show timetable when you arrive to ensure you see the shows you want.

#18. Futuroscope, France

Many of you rate Futuroscope as one of the best attraction parks you have ever visited in terms of attractions, value for money and onsite facilities. You especially liked the evening shows.

Top Tip: You tell us you need 2 days to see everything on offer at at Futuroscope

#19. Port Aventura, Spain

Portaventura gets the thumbs up from many families. You love that there are rides suitable for everyone in the family. You have advised us to stay for the fireworks show at midnight. It happens every evening during high season.

Top Tip: Buy your tickets before you arrive at the park, either at home or from your hotel.

#20. Terra Mitica, Spain

Terra Mitica is great for slightly older kids with a good range of places to eat and only “10 minutes in a cab from Benidorm” according to P Doyle

Top Tip: At the end of your visit you can buy entry for another day at a reduced rate.

#21. Zoomarine, Portugal

With Portugal being a popular holiday destination for many families you had lots of good things to say about Zoomarine. Some of you had taken part in the Dolphin Emotions experience where you had the opportunity to swim with Dolphins. You loved the Dolpin and Seal shows and recommend packing your togs to spend time in the large pool.

Top Tip: On busy days make sure to get seats early for the Dolphin Show.

#22. Europa Park, Germany

You will need more than one day to get around all the attractions and rides on offer at Europapark. “Better than Disney” according to mum L Corrigan. The park has hundreds of attractions and 13 European country themed sections. With everything from Fjord Rafting to a rollercoaster that reaches speeds of up to 100km per hour.

Top Tip: Do the water rides early in the day and try and do the most popular rides around lunchtime. This will cut down on the time you will spend in queues.

#23. Heide Park Resort, Germany

Scream and Screamie got your votes at Heide Park Resort. The park is divided into lands and has many rides suitable for younger members of the family but for older children and teens with nerves of steel there are roller coasters and rides aplenty.

Top Tip: Try to visit on a Friday or Monday as these are less busy days. If you are there in peak season it may be worth investing in the Express Butler Fast Pass.

#24. De Efteling, The Netherlands

De Efteling is one of the oldest Theme Parks in the world. You love the fairytale adventures in this park and that it is open 365 days of the year. You tell us that it is possible to get around the park in one day and that there are rides for adrenalin junkies aswell as younger family members.

Top Tip: If you don’t have little ones with you enter through Gate B as Gate A will take you through Fairytale Land.

#25. Duinrell Holiday and Attraction Park, The Netherlands

Whether you visit for 1 day or 1 week you will not be bored at Duinrell. But be prepared to get wet as this park has an abundance of water attractions suitable for all ages. Helen from Sligo went on a camping trip with her family for 1 week and said the onsite facilities were perfect and there was plenty to explore close by too.

Top Tip: Entrance to the Attraction Park and Water Park is free when you stay at the Holiday Park.

#26. Legoland, Denmark

Adam from Limerick loves Legoland Denmark as it has the largest Lego Shop in the World! You found this park easy to navigate as it is split into different worlds and has rides and attractions suitable for very young children right up to teens.

Top Tip: Children who are 1m or over are able to go on most rides so check your child’s height before you travel.

#27. Tivioli Gardens, Denmark

Tivioli Gardens combines a mixture of new and old amusements with beautiful gardens, entertainers, theatre and music. It offers fun and speed for all ages with slides, carousels and roller coasters. It boasts regular shows and entertainment from stars such as Elton John to Ballet and Modern Dance.

Top Tip: Visit after dark for a truly magical experience.

#28. Gardaland, Italy

Gardaland has an amazing sea life aquarium which is open all year and the amusement park with Adrenaline, Fantasy and Adventure rides suitable for everyone in the family. It even has a magic house where the room moves! For anyone wishing to have a more adrenalin filled ride check out the new Oblivion Dive Coaster!

Top Tip: There is a free shuttle bus from Peschiera train station to the park.

#29. Rainbow Magicland, Italy

Great rollercoasters for younger kids and thrill seekers will love the spinning Cagliostro Coaster. Rainbow Magicland is situated about 1 hour outside Rome and can be reached by taking a train from Roma Termini to Valmontone, where there is a free shuttle bus to the park.

Top Tip: There is free entry for children under 10 years but you will need to bring proof of their age.

#30. Mirabilandia, Italy

Mirabilandia combines Roller Coasters and a large water park suitable for everyone in the family. Be sure to pack your swimwear.

Top Tip: Some tickets give you free entry for a 2nd day so be sure to enquire about this when booking.

Family Friendly Theme Parks in the UK

#31. Blackpool Pleasure Beach

With Family Rides, Thrill Rides and Nickelodeon Land, Blackpool Pleasure Beach makes for a great day out for everyone in the family.

Top Tip: Buy your entry tickets and car parking in advance to save money.

#32. Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire

Alton Towers Resort combines a theme park with a waterpark, spa, golf and more. In 2015 they will open 2 new attractions, CBeebies Land and an Enchanted Village development.

Top Tip: CBeebies Land will be accessible via the monorail and carriages are big enough to accommodate pushchairs.

You may also like Top Tips for Surviving a Theme Park Visit with Kids.

#33. Drayton Manor, Staffordshire

Drayton Manor Theme Park is home to Thomas Land, a land dedicated to Thomas the Tank Engine with rides and attractions ideal for all young children and those who are young at heart. In addition they have family rides including the Ben 10 Ultimate Mission Coaster and for those seeking more thrilling rides there is no shortage. You especially like ‘Shockwave’ a stand up roller-coaster, not for the feint hearted!

Top Tip: Be sure to check out the Parent Queue system for the bigger rides. It allows each parent to ride with only one having to queue.

#34. Peppa Pig World, Hampshire

Peppa Pig World is part of Paultons Family Theme Park in the New Forest. With outdoor and indoor attractions and a muddy puddles water splash park, younger children love Peppa Pig World. You tell us this park is suitable for toddlers up to teenagers aged 13 to 14 years. Be sure to pack your swimwear for days when the water attractions are open and you could bring along buckets and spades for younger children to play in the sand.

Top Tip: Check out the chalk board in the Peppa Pig School House for appearance times for Peppa and George throughout the day.

#35. Legoland, Windsor

Legoland is suitable for families with children aged 2 to 12 years, Legoland Windosr offers rides and attractions along with amazing Lego displays. There is a Duplo Splash Safari and so you should pack swimming costumes for warmer days. Buy your tickets online before you arrive as it will save you time.

Legoland have Parks and Discovery Centers in USA, Denmark, Germany, California, Florida, Malaysia and Dubai.

Top Tip: Get there early. The park officially opens at 10am but you can enter from 9.30am and this will help you avoid parking delays and queues for entry into the park.

#36. Thorpe Park, Surrey

Thorpe Park has it all, water rides, roller coasters and the Shark Hotel where you can stay over and get to enjoy a special first to ride time. In 2015 they open their new I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Jungle Maze sure to be a hit with the family.

Top Tip: Get a locker and bring a change of clothes and swimming costumes for everyone. There is a beach to relax on and you will get very wet on Tidal Wave.

You may also enjoy – 10 Budget Busting Ideas to Entertain Children on a Rainy Day

#37. Chessington World Of Adventure, Surrey

Within easy reach of London by rail or bus, Chessington World of Adventure is the ultimate theme park day out for families. It offers a zoo where you can meet more than 1,000 animals from the exotic to domestic, a sealife centre where you can walk beneath the waves and 10 themed lands with over 40 rides and adventures including feeding times and live shows to relax at. You recommend arriving early to make the most of your trip. Make sure to take a trip on the Bubbleworks ride whatever age you are you will enjoy it! For families wishing to make it more of a holiday, the new Azteca Hotel is now open.

Top Tip: There is a lot to see so pick up a map as soon as you arrive and plan your day, especially if you want to go to any of the live shows.

#38. Gulliver’s Land Theme Parks, Bath, Warrington and Milton Keynes

Gulliver’s Land Theme Parks get the thumbs up from parents with younger children. You feel the theme parks offer great value for money with play areas, family rides, shows and attractions that are both indoor and outdoor. Each park has a Nerf Zone and Milton Keynes and Warrington parks have Splash Zones that are open year round.

Top Tip: Most suitable for children up to the age of 11 years.

#39. Crealy Family Theme Parks, Devon and Cornwall

You told us that the Crealy Theme Parks cater well for younger members of the family but also have thrilling rides for the more adventurous.

Top Tip: Remember to pack socks for your children as they will need them to play in the indoor play areas.

#40. Twinlakes Family Theme Park, West Midlands

Twinlakes got the thumbs up as it is open year round and offers covered play areas which are not dependent on the great British weather! Mostly suitable for younger children but there are some areas suitable for younger teenagers.

Top Tip: Bring a picnic as there are lots of picnic areas within the park.

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