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Readers vote Silver Dollar City best amusement park in America

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Winning amusement park is known for its rides and resident craftspeople alike

Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Silver Dollar City

    Silver Dollar City
    Branson, Mo.

    Stepping into Silver Dollar City is like stepping back to an 1880s mining town. Covering over 100 acres, the park is the largest family-owned amusement park in the nation, attracting some two million visitors annually with its combination of on-park entertainment, festivals, 100 resident craftsmen and more than 40 rides and attractions. The park will debut a new rafting ride inspired by the Ozark waterways, Mystic River Falls, in 2020.
    Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

  • Cedar Point

    Cedar Point
    Sandusky, Ohio

    Located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point bills itself as "the roller coaster capital of the world" with 18 thrilling coasters covering 10 miles of track (out of more than 70 total rides). The 364-acre park has a history dating back to 1870, making it the second oldest continually operated amusement park on the continent, and it's managed to maintain that classic park feel, complete with 3 miles of midway and one of the only operating D.C. Muller carousels in the world. Cedar Point will begin a phased reopening in July.
    Photo courtesy of Cedar Point

  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    Busch Gardens Williamsburg
    Williamsburg

    The European-themed installment of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg transports visitors to England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy circa 17th century, albeit a rather exciting version of the era, with more than 50 rides and attractions spread over 100 acres. Busch Gardens Williamsburg frequently ranks among the world's most beautiful theme parks, and its thrill ride options are top notch. Pantheon, a coaster with forward and backward launches, two inversions and a 95-degree drop is slated to open this year.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

  • Kings Island

    Kings Island
    Mason, Ohio

    Kings Island, sister park of Kings Dominion and one of the nation's most visited theme parks, has plenty of family-friendly offerings among its 100 rides, shows and attractions, but the roller coasters are king. The park boasts 15 of them, including the world's longest wooden roller coaster, The Beast, as well as Diamondback, one of the top steel coasters in the country. Park admission also includes entrance into the 33-acre Soak City water park. Orion, the park’s fastest, tallest and longest steel coaster, will debut in July 2020.
    Photo courtesy of Don Helbig / Kings Island

  • Busch Gardens Tampa

    Busch Gardens Tampa
    Tampa

    African-themed Busch Gardens Tampa opened in 1959, making it somewhat of a trailblazer in the Orlando theme park boom. It's since expanded to include nearly 300 acres of attractions, thrill rides and even a 12,000-animal zoo. While the park offers animal shows and interactions, as well as character encounters with the folks from Sesame Street to appeal to pint-sized park goers, the real draws are the coasters and thrill rides. Iron Gwazi, the tallest, fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in North America, will debut in 2020.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa

  • Dollywood

    Dollywood
    Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

    Tucked amid the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, country music-themed Dollywood has all the makings of a great theme park – thrill rides, coasters, kiddie rides and everything in between. It really shines in its other extras; live craft demonstrations, lavish stage shows and a full calendar of special events mean there's always something going on, and the Southern-inspired food offerings are a cut above the typical theme park fare.
    Photo courtesy of Dollywood

  • Knoebels

    Knoebels
    Elysburg, Penn.

    Knoebels, the nation's largest free-admission amusement park, offers rides, games and attractions geared toward visitors of all ages. Spread across 45 acres, the park includes 64 rides, a 900,000-gallon Crystal Pool, 28 midway games, two arcades and 34 places to grab a bite to eat. The park is temporarily closed.
    Photo courtesy of Knoebels

  • Kennywood

    Kennywood
    West Mifflin, Penn.

    This family friendly, traditional amusement park outside of Pittsburgh has been in the business of fun since 1898. Kennywood features seven roller coasters, 14 rides for kids and nearly 20 more rides and attractions. Highlights you won’t find anywhere else include “lands” themed after Thomas & Friends and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    Photo courtesy of Kennywood

  • Knott's Berry Farm

    Knott's Berry Farm
    Buena Park, Calif.

    Knott's Berry Farm really did start out as a berry farm, and guests can still dine at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant to sample her boysenberry jam. But today, the park is better known for its lineup of thrill rides and roller coasters, including HangTime, the first dive coaster on the West Coast. The park is temporarily closed but has extended their 2020 season passes through 2021.
    Photo courtesy of Visit California/Hub

  • Hersheypark

    Hersheypark
    Hershey, Penn.

    The amusement park of every chocolate lover's dreams, Hersheypark features 121 acres with 70 rides (including more than a dozen roller coasters), strolling shows, five stages, three additional performance areas, a waterpark and an 11-acre wildlife park, all accessible via a single admission. Fahrenheit, one of the park's most popular thrill rides, is a vertical lift coaster with a 90-degree, 121-foot lift followed by a breathtaking 97-degree drop. The park is slated to open on July 3 with the debut of Candymonium, the park’s tallest, fastest and longest hyper coaster.
    Photo courtesy of Hersheypark

  • Silver Dollar City
  • Cedar Point
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  • Kings Island
  • Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Dollywood
  • Knoebels
  • Kennywood
  • Knott's Berry Farm
  • Hersheypark

North America is home to more than 400 amusement parks and attractions attracting some 375 million visitors annually, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. That's an overwhelming number of options when faced with planning that perfect family vacation. 

To narrow things down, we asked our readers to vote for their favorites, and the results are in.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Amusement Park are as follows:

  1. Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.
  2. Cedar Point - Sandusky, Ohio
  3. Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg
  4. Kings Island - Mason, Ohio
  5. Busch Gardens Tampa - Tampa
  6. Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  7. Knoebels - Elysburg, Penn.
  8. Kennywood - West Mifflin, Penn.
  9. Knott's Berry Farm - Buena Park, Calif.
  10. Hersheypark - Hershey, Penn.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning parks!

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo

 

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