Best Local Amusement and Theme Parks

This summer, the Bay Area promises great entertainment for the entire family whether the theme is a jungle safari, Dora the Explorer, miniature Golf, bumping cars, or water rides. Kids will love any one of these amusement parks.

California’s Great America
4701 Great America Pkwy
Santa Clara , CA 95050
(408) 988-1776

Located on 4701 Great America Pkwy in Santa Clara, this park offers Planet Snoopy, KidzVille for small children, Boomerang Bay Beach Club water rides, Live Shows, and lots of gravity defying thrill rides like the “Invertigo”, Vortex, FlightDeck, Delirium, FireFall, the Demon, and more. We’ve enjoyed this park a lot, especially the Xtreme Skyflyer, the hang gliding plus skydiving ride that hoists you 153 feet above ground, dives at speed 60 mph while free-falling 17 stories down! Kids will enjoy Dora and Diego performances, face painting, and lots of great restaurants. General admission for single day is only $32.50.

Happy Hollow Park
1300 Senter Road
San Jose , CA 95112

After the renovations, this park has added Lemur Woods Exhibit, more carousels, Puppet Theater, and rides for kids of all ages. My kids love Danny the Dragon, Keep-Around-Carousel, the petting zoo, and the meerkats. Membership to this park also discounts admission to over 400 zoos, aquariums, and science-and-tech museums (also the Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo). General admission is $12.

Gilroy Gardens Theme Park
3050 Hecker Pass Hwy (Hwy 152)
Gilroy , CA 95020
(408) 840-7100

This is a beautiful park with a horticultural theme. Designed by Michael Bonfante to foster appreciation for the natural world, this park features 21 rides, 27 attractions, 6 gardens, and world famous Circus Trees. Front gate price is $34.99.

855 E. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

This park features two 18-hole golf courses and arcades. For golf lovers and video gamers, this park will offer a fun and challenging setting trying to make a hole through a dragon’s mouth or through a cave! One game of golf with 20 arcade credits is $13.99.

Malibu Grand Prix

Turbo go-karts, miniature golf, a batting cage, bumper cars, and game room – Malibu grand prix is one place that combines thrill with family fun! This is the Redwood City location. For Fremont residents, there’s LeMans Karting Center on 45957 Hotchkiss Street . Individual Laps are $5, bumper boats are $6.99 , and miniature golf is $7.99.

Raging Waters Water Theme Park

Most of the water parks won’t open until May (ie The Prewett Family water park (in Antioch ) is closed until May 28th.). The Raging Waters in San Jose opens May 25th. The 2011 Season passes are just $42.99. Try the Barracuda Blaster, Blue Thunder, Dragon’s Den, Pirate’s Cove and Endless River (but you must be at least 48″ tall).

Alameda County Fair

The fair runs from June 22 – July 10. It’s located in Pleasanton on 4501 Pleasanton Avenue . This fair has great roller coasters, pony rides, and shows. Check their schedule for the upcoming season.

There are many great parks with theme based setting that are fun for the entire family. Check out any of the above if you get a chance!