Winter means that most outdoor activities are done for the year, but it doesn’t mean the end of amusement park season. If you want to take a vacation and be able to ride some roller coasters, there are plenty of places to do that even if snow is falling outside your window. From indoor amusement parks to outdoor parks in warm states, here are seven places for you to have summer-time fun in the winter.
Nickleodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota
Although Minnesota’s winters are brutal, don’t count it out when considering where to go on your winter vacation. Within the center of the biggest mall in America is America’s largest indoor theme park, Nickleodeon Universe. Its five roller coasters and seven thrill rides continue whirling the public up, down, and all around throughout the entire year. If you like deep drops, fast turns, and speed, you can ride the Spongebob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge. Or if you like something a bit more mellow, you can ride the Backyardigans swings. The carousel is a mild ride for the whole family, while the adventurous among you will enjoy the Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course. When you’re done, you can get some shopping done or eat at any of the 50-plus restaurants that the Mall of America has to offer.
Circus Circus Adventuredome, Las Vegas
There aren’t a lot of family-friendly places that come to mind when one imagines Las Vegas, but the Circus Circus Adventuredome is one. The giant glass dome encompasses the amusement park, which has roller coasters, family rides, and junior rides. Its fun ranges from 18 holes of mini golf called Pirate’s Bounty, to the El Loco roller coaster will disorient you with its barrel rolls and outward banking. You can also play miniature bowling, see a free clown show, or try indoor bungee jumping and cross that off of your bucket list. From under the dome you’ll have a beautiful view of the sky as the sun rises and sets each day, with five acres of attractions to keep you busy in-between.
I-X Indoor Amusement Park, Cleveland, Ohio
This indoor amusement park covers 20 acres and has classic carnival rides like the Tilt-a-Whirl, merry-go-round, and swings in addition to its roller coasters. Children will have their pick of rides like the Giant Slide in the Kidzville zone, while adults who can handle the big rides will find them in Thrill City. There’s a Soaring Eagle Zipline that is available to park attendees of most ages, and you can get soaked on the White Water Ride where you’ll get splashed as you ride down a water slide. If you get tired of the rides, you can watch the ZuZu Acrobats! Whatever the weather is like outside, you are guaranteed to stay far from bored when you’re inside the I-X Indoor Amusement Park.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
This Six Flags location can stay open all year without interference from the wind chill or snow. It also hosts the most roller coasters in the world - 19 in total. Next year it’s even bringing in the world’s longest hybrid roller coaster, the Twisted Colossus. For now you can ride the Apocalypse, which drops from high speeds down 95 feet, or the slightly more mellow Batman ride which still offers a variety of loops and twists. If you’re feeling daring, try the Green Lantern’s all-vertical track - you’ll be flipped 360 degrees as you go.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
The National Amusement Park Historical Association has named this park Most Beautiful Park for 22 years in a row. Its beauty is never on display at a better time than the Christmas season, when the park is covered in six million lights and decorated with 1,500 Christmas trees. The theme is “classic Europe,” so the park is split into countries like the Parisian streets of France, Oktoberfest in Germany, etc - and each country has its own food experiences in addition to their own rides. All of the amusement park’s flat rides stay open such as the Battering Ram, bumper cars, etc. Plus, new roller coaster Verbolten and the Nacht Tower stay open in the winter days as well, and even into the evenings as long as evening temperatures are above 36 degrees.
Six Flag over Texas, Arlington, Texas
This Six Flags has 10 roller coasters to offer, including the New Texas Giant, rebuilt on the base of the old Texas Giant. You’ll be tilted 115 degrees on its banked turns, but if you like speed head over to Mr Freeze: Reverse Blast where you’ll go from 0 to 70 in 3.8 seconds - but backwards instead of forwards. Kids will enjoy Bugs Bunny Boomtown which is thrilling for anyone too young or short to take part in rides like Superman’s Tower of Power, which sends you into a freefall from 325 feet. Although this park shuts down for one month in February each year, you can visit in any other winter month and find it fully operational.
LEGOLAND, Carlsbad, California
It stays warm in this amusement park all year long, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some winter fun. Piles of snow are brought into the park so you can build your own snowman, and make him a pipe and smile out of legos. A giant Christmas tree built out of legos will keep you in the holiday spirit as you bob along in the Lion Temple Wave Pool, or ride along The Dragon roller coaster in Castle Hill. Each of the 11 park areas - including two water parks - stays open in the winter while the California sun is shining, so you and your family can fly a Sky Cruiser or go on the Safari Trek anytime you want.