USA Today recently announced its 10 best theme parks. With the caveat that this is a readers’ choice award, we bring you the exciting news that Great Adventure took second and Hersheypark placed fifth. They beat a number of better-known theme parks: Disneyland, the parks at Disney World, Legoland, Busch Gardens and Wally World.
Six Flags Great Adventure is home of the world’s tallest steel roller coaster, Kinda Ka, as well as the recently debuted Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, the world’s tallest and fastest drop ride. The park boasts around a dozen coasters in all, plus a slew of tamer rides and attractions, Looney Toons character meet-and-greets, live stage shows and a 350-acre safari park with 1,200 animal residents.
The theme park of every chocolate lover’s dreams, Hersheypark features 110 acres with 70 rides (including 12 roller coasters), five strolling shows, six 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 commenters at PennLive, where I sourced this from, are dubious: “All you have to do is look at #2 and you realize what a joke this list is. There is no way [Six Flags Great Adventure] belongs anywhere on this list.” Another: “I’m not sure Hershey Park is even in the top 20, since Hershey Park is very weakly themed.” Yes, that second person is quibbling with the definition of “theme” vs. “amusement” park.
Great Adventure is known for is thrilling roller coasters and its safari park, while Hersheypark is known for chocolate and the kissing tower and having a zoo, I guess. I don’t know how they’re better than any of the parks at Disney World, but who’s to quibble with official ratings! Plus, I have very fond memories of taking my little cousin to Hersheypark when I was a young teenager.