If you’re in Chicago this summer, stop everything you’re doing, pack up the family, and head to one of the Windy City’s many amusement parks. Many of them, such as Six Flags Great America or Michigan’s Adventure, have a combination of thrilling roller coaster rides and wild and wet waterslides. Magic Waters is home to Tsunami Bay, where you can ride the 6-foot waves in the largest wave pool in the state. Donley’s Wild West Town and Pirates’ Cove Children’s Theme Park are more suitable choices if you are only taking younger kids between the ages of 1 and 12.
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1.Donley's Wild West Town
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Donley’s Wild West Town is an amusement park and museum resembling the wild, wild west. Families have been going there since 1974 and it is perfect for children between the ages of 3 and 12. You and the little ones can spend the day shooting slingshots at Huck Finn’s or panning for gold at Sweet Phyllis Mine. The suspenseful Wild West Stunt Show has everyone quivering in their cowboy boots. You can also go back in by strolling through the Streets of Yesteryear and seeing old inventions and artifacts going back to the 1800s. General admission is $19 per person ages 3 and up for access to all rides and attractions; season passes and group rates are available.
8512 S Union Rd, Union, IL 60180, Phone: 815-923-9000
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Magic Waters is home to Illinois’ most popular attraction, the largest wave pool in the state, Tsunami Bay. Alternating between wild ocean waves and calm relaxing waters, the waves can reach as high as 6 feet! If that sounds too wild for you, relax on the beach-like shore or head to the calmer Splash Magic River and tube down the 1,200-foot-long river. Little Lagoon is made specifically for the little ones so that younger guests can have just as much fun splashing in the pool, floating on a raft, going down the slides, or getting soaked under a fountain.
7820 Cherryvale N Blvd, Cherry Valley, IL 61016, Phone: 815-966-2442
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Michigan’s largest amusement park and waterpark, Michigan’s Adventure and WildWater Adventure are 250 acres of pure fun. Thrill-seekers will head straight to the heart-pounding roller coasters, such as Shivering Timbers or the Thunderhawk. The Grand Rapids is a great family ride and takes you on a grand voyage that will have you soaking wet by the time you get off. The park’s Funland Farm is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the season and lets visitors get up close with a variety of animals, such as miniature donkeys, alpacas, mini horses, and llamas.
1198 W Riley-Thompson Rd, Muskegon, MI 49445, Phone: 231-766-3377
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4.Pirates' Cove Children's Theme Park
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Open from June to August, Pirates’ Cove Children’s Theme Park will stimulate imagination and encourage creative exploration. The park is filled with attractions, games, and shows that are suitable for children between the ages of 1 and 9. There are special events held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Friday, rain or shine; these include Safari Day, Sci Fi Day, Wizard Fest, Superhero Day, and Santa’s Summer Vacation. Children are encouraged to wear socks and gym shows when visiting Pirates’ Cove and can bring a picnic lunch with them or purchase food from the park’s concession stand. Day Trips from Chicago
901 Leicester Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007, Phone: 847-439-2683
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5.Santa's Village Azoosment Park
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Thrill rides, kiddie rides, family classics – there is all this and more at Santa’s Village Azoosment Park. In addition to all the rides offered, there is a complete lineup of shows and fun games for all ages because everyone wants to be a part of Santa’s Workshop. As if rides and shows weren’t enough, Santa’s Village is home to over 200 animals, birds, and fish, which visitors can get up close and personal with. Some of them include the cows and horses on Old McDonald’s Farm, the turtles in Tortoise Island, and the wallabies in the Aussie Area.
601 Dundee Ave, East Dundee, IL 60118, Phone: 847-426-6751
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6.Six Flags Great America
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Head on over to Six Flags Great America and attempt to conquer Goliath – a 72-mph racing, 165-foot-high climbing, gut-wrenching wooden roller coaster that will flip you through the air. If that’s too extreme for you, why don’t you take a scenic raft cruise down the lazy river? Even the little ones have fun at this amusement park, with a range of rides made just for them! As with all Six Flags amusement parks, ticket prices vary depending on height and whether the ticket is purchased online or at the entrance; reserve your ride and skip the line with the park’s THE FLASH pass.
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL 60031, Phone: 847-249-1776
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Best Amusement Parks near Chicago