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A Guide to New Hampshire’s Theme Parks

Jun 05, 2012 09:27AM ● Published by Erin Frisch

NH Theme Parks

Summer vacations are right around the corner, and everyone will be looking for fun things to do with friends and family. Summer activities don’t have to require a lot of travel, or even a lot of money. There are plenty of theme parks to please kids of all ages right in your backyard!

Canobie Lake Park

Right off I-93 in Salem, NH, Canobie Lake Park is a convenient destination. With general admission prices of $33 for adults and $24 for those under 48 inches tall or over 60 years old (kids under age 3 are free), it won’t break the bank. When it comes to rides, there’s something for everyone. Adults can get their thrills on the Corkscrew Coaster, the Starblaster (it shoots you 80 feet straight up in the air, then drops you back down), and UNTAMED, Canobie’s newest coaster featuring a beyond-vertical 97-degree drop. Families can enjoy the Antique Carousel, Spinning Teacups, and the Giant Sky Wheel (a big Ferris wheel). Kids will love the Alpine Swings, Kiddie Canoes, and Fire Engines. And if it’s a scorcher, jump on the Log Flume and Tall Timber Splash water slide to cool off. Be sure to visit the new Castaway Island Water Play complex with over 180 ways to get wet on a hot summer day! Canobie has games for all ages and many food options, from quick bites to sit-down meals. Check the calendar on their website for nights when they offer fireworks shows!

Six Gun City and Fort Splash Water Park

Surrounded by the peaks of the Presidential Range in Jefferson, NH, Six Gun City proves that all is not quiet on the Old Western front. This Wild West theme park is fun for the whole family. Ages 4 and over pay $22.95 for a day pass, while seniors receive a discount and kids under 4 are admitted free. Six Gun City is open all summer and transforms into a Halloween-themed “Ghost Town” for select September and October dates. Activities include a miniature golf course and Gopher Creek Canyon Mine where guests can sift through earth in search of gems. Visit with miniature horses and Norwegian Fjord horses, or jump in the go-karts at the New Tumbleweed Speedway for a ride. Play laser tag in the Desperados’ Laser Tag arena, or head over to the roller coasters, water slides, and bumper boats. Visit a talking horse at the Miniature Horse Show and become part of the Deputies’ Posse when you help the Sheriff catch an outlaw and decide whether he’s guilty or innocent. For food, you can bring your own picnic and head to the “Happy Hombre Hideout” picnic facility, or treat yourself to standard American food at Gabby’s Grub House.

Storyland

If your kids are younger, New England’s favorite children’s theme park is the place to go. Storyland is located in Glenn, NH, 16 miles outside of North Conway (a great place to spend the weekend). Admission prices are $29 for those over 3 years of age and free for kids under 3, and there are both active military and senior discounts too. Family-friendly rides like the Flying Dutch Shoes, Swan Boats, and Bamboo Chute (similar to a log flume) are fun for all ages, or take a tour of the whole park on the Huff, Puff, and Whistle Railroad. Attractions for the young’uns include the Loopy Lab Interactive Play Area, as well as visits with their favorite storybook characters (Mother Goose, the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe) and animals (the Three Little Pigs). Attend shows like the Duke’s Dance Party where you can dance the Hokey Pokey and the Limbo, or the Royal Hannaford Circus, which offers three shows a day. Food selections include children’s favorites such as hamburgers, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, and grilled cheese sandwiches, and snacks such as candy apples, popcorn, and ice cream. Visit www.storylandnh.com for more information.

Water Country

Located in Portsmouth off I-95, New England’s largest water park is a great place to spend a hot summer day with family and friends. Water Country opens for the season on June 9 and remains open through Labor Day Weekend. Guests 48 inches and taller are $38 and those under 48 inches are $25; kids under 2 get in free. Lockers are available for rental so you can safely stow your valuables. Water Country has plenty to do for all ages. Kids can hit the Kiddie Slides like Ollie Octopus and play, slide, and hide in the Pirate’s Pool & Lagoon that includes a 40-foot-long pirate ship. Older folks can check out the Double Geronimo body slide, the Racing Rapids & The Plunge tube slide, and Thunder Falls & Wild Canyon ride that mimics white-water rafting. This summer look for the new slide, Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror. This two-person ride will send you through a twisting 40-foot plunge into a totally enclosed dark tunnel on a  300-foot-long slide. When it’s time to relax, rent a tube and enjoy New England’s largest wave pool, or take a relaxing, lazy-river ride down Adventure River. Dining options include all-American fare from pizza to cheeseburgers and chili to chowder. Sweet treats like ice cream, cotton candy, and fried dough are also available.

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