Amusement park enthusiasts are spoiled for choice in the US but this list of the best ones from Amusement Today magazine rates them in a variety of categories including best water and indoor attractions.
Earlier this month Amusement Today magazine announced the winners for its Golden Ticket Awards. The awards are the result of a survey among experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world.
Respondents were asked to rate the best parks in 25 different categories including Amusement Park, Roller Coaster, Water Rides and Best Halloween and Christmas events.
Park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio received the award in the Best Amusement Park category. The park has a large collection of roller coasters, four areas for children, live entertainment and beachfront resorts. Its Millennium Force roller coaster was voted best steel coaster. The coaster plummets down a 310 foot (95 m) drop at speeds reaching 93m/h (143km/h).
In the Best Water Park category, the winner for the 15th year in a row is Schlitterbahn Water Park Resort in New Braunfels, Texas. Recently opened, the world's longest water park ride is filled with raging rapids, careening waterfalls and giant waves.
In the Best Marine Life Park category, Sea World in Orlando, Florida was voted the winner. As part of the attractions, the Wild Arctic allows visitors to explore a frozen wonderland of ice and Arctic animals including beluga whales, walruses and polar bears.
Those getting ready to celebrate Halloween in an amusement park can start heading to Universal in Orlando, Florida as the park won the best Halloween event for the Halloween Horror Night event. This year the topic for the event is The Walking Dead, taking place on select nights from September 21 - October 31. Organizers are preparing new haunted houses, scare zones and live shows.
List of winners
Best Amusement Park: Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Best Waterpark: Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Children's Park: Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.
Best Marine Life Park: SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Seaside Park: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Best Wooden Coaster: El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J.
Best Steel Coaster: Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Best Kids' Area: Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio
Friendliest Park: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Cleanest Park Holiday: World & Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Halloween Event: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Landscaping: Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
Best Christmas Event: Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Food: Dollywood Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Shows: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Outdoor Night Show Production: IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Walt Disney World's Epcot, Orlando, Fla.
Best Water Ride: Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best Waterpark Ride: Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Dark Ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Ride of 2012: Amusement Park Wild Eagle at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best New Ride of 2012: Waterpark Mammoth at Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Carousel: Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Indoor Roller Coaster: Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Indoor Waterpark: Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas
Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction: Noah's Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa