Canada's Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Near Toronto (20 minutes north) is North America's most-visited seasonal park. It has 65 rides and Splash Works water park with Canada's biggest wave pool. Now open is Behemoth, a $26-million new steel coaster that rises 230 feet and has eight steep drops, making it the biggest coaster in Canada.
Water park: Splash Works has 16 waterslides, including the Black Hole and the Plunge.
When: Open daily through Labor Day, then weekends through Nov. 1. The park opens at 10 a.m.; closing times vary.
Cost: $45.59 (U.S. and Canadian dollars are of identical value) for ages 3-up who are at least 4 feet tall. $29.35 for ages 3-up under 4 feet tall and for ages 60-up; ages 2 and under free. Admission includes the water park, which is now open Saturdays-Sundays, and open daily after June 20. Parking is $10.
Details: 905-832-7000; www.
Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Ill.
This park between Milwaukee and Chicago, off Interstate 94, has 76 rides and attractions, including 14 coasters. The big new attraction this year is Dark Knight, a pitch-dark indoor coaster with a Batman theme. Its Raging Bull coaster is ranked 12th-best steel coaster in the world. It also has a popular Wiggles World children's section. Best of all, it is giving discounts this year on online ticket prices.
Water park: The 2-year-old Hurricane Harbor has 26 water slides, a giant skull, 17 towers and 500 water gadgets. Admission is free with theme park ticket.
When: Open daily through Labor Day, then some weekends September-October. Park opens at 10 a.m.; closing times vary.
Cost: $54.99 ($39.99 online) for those 3-up who are at least 4 feet tall. $29.99 for ages 3-up who are less than 4 feet tall. Ages 2 and under are free. Season passes $89.99. Parking is $25.
Details: 847-249-4636; www.sixflags.com/greatamerica.
Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
Kings Island – about 25 miles north of Cincinnati – is a family favorite, with 14 roller coasters, four of them for younger children. Its popular children's area, Nickelodeon Universe, was named best in the world for the seventh year in a row by the industry journal Amusement Today. Its Beast coaster is ranked eighth-best wooden coaster in the world. Attendance was off slightly last year, so it has lowered prices for children and is offering good online ticket deals for adults.
Water park: Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay is an outdoor park with 30 water slides. Admission is free with regular ticket.
When: Open daily through Aug. 24, then weekends through October. Park opens at 10 a.m.; closing times vary.
Cost: $45.99 ($29.99 online) for guests ages 3-up who are at least 4 feet tall. Children less than 4 feet tall and people 62 and older get in for $24.99. Children 2 and younger are free. Season pass is $84.99. Parking is $10.
Details: 800-288-0808; www.visitkingsisland.com.