Dutch Wonderland is a family amusement park that advertises to be one of the top 5 children’s parks in the world. It is located only about an hour from where I live, yet despite that fact, yesterday was the first time I have ever been there. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I must admit that my family and I were pleasantly surprised.
The cost. Like all amusement parks, the tickets were pricey. It cost upwards of 100 dollars for my husband and I and our two young children to get into the park. I looked online beforehand and couldn’t find any discount coupons. Still, the $110.00 that it cost us for tickets pales in comparison to the fees for other parks, so I was okay with that. Of course there were other items that added to the cost– additional fees for things like pony rides and the monorail. There is also the option of a seasonal pass, if you plan to visit the park multiple times during the year.
The ambience. Dutch Wonderland had a pleasant, country feel to it. Not as slick and glossy as Sesame Place, but still very pretty. There were touches of Amish country life throughout, like little pens that housed baby chicks and rabbits and a display of animated Amish dolls. There were also castles and little houses throughout the park. Beautiful flower beds throughout made it very pretty.
The rides. My kids are young so they aren’t used to “big kid” rides yet. Luckily, Dutch Wonderland had tons of rides that were perfect for my preschoolers. Of course we went on the Merry Go Round right off the bat. Next we drove some motorized cars on “Turnpike”. My 5 year old daughter and my husband rode the Double Log Flume four times (my 3 year old went along once and he didn’t like getting splashed at the end). There was a jumbo slide that my daughter loved (she went on it at least a half dozen times), and for my little guy there was a mini bull dozer ride. We all went on a paddle boat ride, which was a very slow— but relaxing — boat ride. There was also a train ride that took us completely around the park (and it was my son’s favorite). We topped off a day in the sun by stopping by the Lagoon, which was a mini water park– there were a bunch of sprinklers and fountains and then a water filled climbing gym. My daughter slid down the water-filled slide about 50 times. All in all there were over 30 rides, and most of them were suitable for my young children.
Other attractions. There are a couple of little amphitheaters throughout the park. We witnessed a princess story time and a live action showing of the “Danger Rangers” (based on a PBS series that my daughter loves). Both were enjoyable and a nice break from walking around the park.
Food. As with most parks, food and beverages are not permitted inside the park. There is a picnic pavilion located outside the park if you choose to bring a picnic lunch. We opted to leave the park and go to local restaurant for lunch (all you do is get your hand stamped for re-admittance to the park). But there are several eateries inside the park, with typical park foods like hotdogs, burgers and pizza. We did buy a pretzel and a large bottled water, and later my daughter asked for cotton candy.
Souvenirs. There’s a large souvenir shop, which you actually walk through as you enter and exit the pa. My kids were so exhausted by the time we left, they didn’t even ask to look around the gift shop. Still, if you’re looking for t-shirts, toys or trinkets there is a ton of stuff to choose from. We did end up buying some photos that were taken of us on some of the rides (many of the rides have computer screens displaying photos that are taken on the rides– and they are for sale starting at 10 dollars each).
All in all, Dutch Wonderland is a great family outing if you’re in the Lancaster, PA area. If you’re planning a trip to Lancaster, Dutch Wonderland is located on Route 30 and it is right across from the Lancaster shopping outlets (between the Rockvale and Tanger outlets). After a day of family fun, you can stop by the outlets for some shopping– which is what we planned to do– except our kids were so tired that we just headed home. Maybe next time!