Learn about Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park in Lancaster, PA.
Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park
Ever bring your kids to a big amusement park, only to have them disappointed when they can’t go on the rides because the kids are too little? It can turn fun plans into a day of temper tantrums and tears!
Dutch Wonderland is the perfect kid-friendly amusement park for little kids, calling itself “A Kingdom for Kids®!”. Thanks to Dutch Wonderland, I was given the opportunity to visit the amusement park with my family so that I could tell you all about it.
Dutch Wonderland is located in Lancaster, PA. Opened in 1963, it was once a park with only four rides, but now has 35 kid-friendly rides, attractions, live shows, a water park, and plenty of food options. There is so much to see and do on its 43 acre property!
What Age is Dutch Wonderland Good For?
Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park is the fun destination for kids of any age, but for those who can ride on the rides, it seems best suited for ages 2-12, in my opinion.
My oldest son, who was 6 at the time, had fun on everything since he was tall enough for it all. My 3.5 year old daughter was able to ride most things, except for the Kingdom Coaster because she wasn’t tall enough. My one year old (who’s tall for his age), was able to go on a few rides as long as he sat with his brother or sister.
Other than the rides, though, there’s so much to see and do! The park is very colorful and lively, with small exhibits, games, the water park, and live shows going on all day. We saw a high dive show in the Aqua Stadium, and all of my kids really enjoyed it! There’s also Exploration Island which is open for all ages (but I’ll talk about that later!).
For kids older than 12, the park might seem too ‘kiddish’. The rides may not excite them as much. If they’re there having fun with younger siblings, though, they might enjoy themselves!
What Time Does Dutch Wonderland Open?
Dutch Wonderland opens at 10 am and closes at 8:30 pm in the summer. There are a variety of times for pre-season and post-season hours, and also different times for holidays or special events.
We arrived at 1 pm, a bit later than our anticipated 11 am-12 pm arrival due to some traffic. For us, it was perfect timing: the lunch hour rush was just about over and we were able to enjoy a quiet lunch in the Mill Stream Eatery, where we were able to have a variety of theme park foods for the typical amusement park prices.
The park closes at 8:30 pm, even in the summer. It may seem early, but think about it: it’s the perfect time to get little kids home (or in a hotel room) and in bed! They won’t give you a hard time about staying later because they have no choice but to leave since the park is closing!
What Rides are at Dutch Wonderland?
As I mentioned above, there are 35 kid-friendly rides at Dutch Wonderland. While we didn’t get to go on all of them, I will tell you about the ones we enjoyed!
- Duke’s Dozers: Little diggers perfect for kids 5 and under. The ride moved at a slower speed than most park rides, which was just fast enough for my oldest two to enjoy while also allowing my little guy to join in the fun!
- Panda Party : Another great ride for the little kids. The pandas go up and down just a bit as the ride goes around.
- Off-Road Rally: Kids ride around in monster truck-like vehicles that move just like larger power wheels. Fun for the bigger kids!
- Wonder Whip: This was a mini-version of the classic (and one of my favorites) The Whip.
- Double Splash Flume: Not one but two big splashes on this log flume ride!
- River Boat: You feel like you’re travelling on the Mississippi on the River Boat, except that you travel around Exploration Island and the surrounding farmland. See the dinos from a different perspective!
- Merry-Go-Round: Up and down, around and around, and all on “horsies”, as my daughter called them.
- Kite-Flight: To me, this was a Superman ride. You lay down on your belly and are strapped in. It takes you around in circles on your belly, just as if you were flying!
- Fun Slide: It’s a basic slide, but it’s pretty tall!
- Pipeline Plunge: Pick which slide you want to go down on this water slide, located near Duke’s Lagoon. Perfect for when you’re in your bathing suit!
- Joust Family Coaster: This is a mini-roller coaster, but it’s plenty of fun!
- Wonderland Special (Train): The train takes you on a leisurely ride around the park.
- Silo Slide: Climb up the silo, and slide down its twists and turns!
- Kingdom Coaster: This was my personal favorite, as it was a little more my speed. It’s a big-kid version of the Family Coaster, but with a bigger hill and more flying turns.
What’s great about all of these rides is that except for the Kingdom Coaster, both of my older kids were able to ride them all! (My daughter wasn’t quite the right height for the Kingdom Coaster, but she made no fuss that she couldn’t go on it. ) We didn’t have to trek all around the park looking for acceptable rides for their ages/heights. Everything at Dutch Wonderland was made for them!
Dutch Wonderland Dinosaurs
When I first started to plan our trip to Dutch Wonderland, I found out about Exploration Island, which basically made my oldest son drool. Why?
Exploration Island, new to the park for 2014 and located in the rear of the park, is a rediscovered island where adventurers can dig for dinosaur bones, walk with moving dinosaurs, ride the iconic Turnpike Ride, and go on the Gondola Cruise around the island.
When we first crossed the bridge into Exploration Island, we were greeted with the sites and sounds of a tropical island and the Dino Dig. In the Dino Dig, little adventurers could dig in the sand to find dinosaur fossils and bones. There were skeletons of a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus, along with T-Rex fossilized footprints! The helpful staff dressed up as tour guides helped the kids clean off the bones and find the fossils.
Next up was the Prehistoric Path. This was really cool! We got to see about a dozen or so animatronic dinosaurs and their families up close. They made real-life sounds and movements (which, coming from the T-Rex was a tad scary…but awesome!).
We learned so much about the dinos. Did you know that Triceratops is the most common fossil found in North America, or that if T-Rex didn’t go extinct, scientists believed that he may have evolved to have even smaller arms or no arms at all? (Giggle… That’d actually be hilarious. Frightening, but hilarious!).
Okay, these signs were pretty funny. Couldn’t help but laugh!
This was definitely my kids’ favorite part of the park. We spent well over an hour digging and walking among the dinosaurs!
There are two rides within Exploration Island: the Turn Pike Ride and the Gondola Cruise. While we personally didn’t get to experience them, it seemed like everyone else was having a blast!
Dutch Wonderland Shows
There are a variety of shows at Dutch Wonderland, featuring the characters Princess Brooke, Duke the Dragon, Knight of Safety, Queen Gwinneth, the evil wizard, Merlin, and more! We watched a high dive show at the Aqua Stadium about the princess and the evil wizard. The characters acted out the show while showing their crazy good diving skills from the platforms above.
You can see the shows pretty much all day long, and even meet and greet the characters!
Dutch Wonderland Water Park
Our final destination of our fun day was Duke’s Lagoon, the water park area of Dutch Wonderland. The Pipeline Plunge slides are in this area, along with a multi-level waterplay platform, complete with geysers, sprayers, tipping cones, a giant tipping bucket, colorful animals, smaller water slides, and a small water castle.
My kids had a blast cooling off in this water park! There were enough small slides and geysers to keep my little guy busy, and a super-fun jungle gym area for my older kids to play in. For the parents, there were plenty of chairs and tables to sit at, many under umbrellas or palm trees. There were even cabanas to rent, if a family wanted a central area to relax.
How Much Are Tickets for Dutch Wonderland?
Did you know that kids 2 and under are FREE at Dutch Wonderland? I didn’t know that until we were scheduling our day. For everyone else ages 3-59, for all of this awesome fun, tickets are about $44.99 if you buy them online.
There are senior citizen discounts along with group rates. If you buy your tickets ahead of time, you can even visit the park the night before three hours before closing to preview everything there is to see and do!
The only things you need to pay extra for are the pony rides (Yes! Pony rides!! Approx $6.), any park food, lockers, cabanas and games. That’s it! Everything else is included! It’s a great value for everything you get to see and do!
When is Dutch Wonderland Open?
Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park opens in late April for weekends only until the last week in May when it’s open all week long. It’s open weekends only in September til’ mid October.
I suggest a visit during a week in the summer. We visited the park on a Thursday and had a great day with almost no lines and plenty of space for everyone to move around and have fun!
Is Dutch Wonderland Worth It?
Yes, yes, yes!! Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park will be a ton of fun for you and your family.
From Dutch Wonderland:
Since opening on May 20, 1963, Dutch Wonderland has consistently been recognized as a premier family amusement park and has been voted one of the Top 5 Best Kid’s Park in the World by Amusement Today magazine. We invite you to plan a visit to find out why generations of families have visited us and proclaimed us to be A KINGDOM FOR KIDS!
I couldn’t agree with that statement more. My kids had a blast. We had an absolutely fun day as a family. We would definitely go back!
My family and friends have since been sharing with us their experiences as young kids many moons ago visiting the park with their families, and they share our feelings about the park. You would not regret visiting Dutch Wonderland and will make many fun memories with your own families!
Dutch Wonderland PROMO CODE
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Many thanks to Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park for providing my family with tickets to enjoy the park! We had a blast!
Have any questions about the park or want to share your favorite family memory with me? Leave a comment below!
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Rachel Alba says
That was one of the prettiest and most fun reviews you did yet. It made me want to go there even though I don’t have any kids to bring there. We pass it every time we go to Lancaster and it always looked interesting but I had no idea it was that great. You did a lot of work on this review and it was worth it. You could tell your whole family loved it.
Thank you! The kids really loved it, and it was nice that they weren’t limited in what they could do there, unlike other amusement parks.
Inspiring Kitchen says
Looks like it was a fun and very busy day with all the activities.
Janine Huldie says
My husband has mentioned this one two years now, as his co-worker took her young grand-kids and keep steeling him it is perfect for young kids. I have been remiss in not checking more reviews and now that I saw yours and am totally sending him here to show him, too. You really did such a great job and so in depth. I can’t thank you enough and think you might have just sold me on Dutch Wonderland – thank you 🙂
You’re very welcome! It definitely is a fun place for young kids. Let me know what you think if you decide to go! 🙂
Rhonda Gales says
I love Lancaster, and usually stay close to Dutch Wonderland when I’m visiting. My grandchildren, ages 4 and 8, would love it. Thanks for the review, I’ll add this to my list of things to do this summer.
Tiffany Donley says
While we had fun and a beautiful day I can’t say that I was impressed by Dutch Wonderland. It was very dirty, tiny bathrooms that were not at all by any means clean,no character thru out the day in the park, over priced drinks, and the rides went around once and stopped for the kids to get off. This is an amusement park for kids but they’re not too kid friendly. Only on 1 ride did the ride operator check to see if my daughter and cousin had a seat belt on. All the other rides that wasn’t being done so my uncle took it upon himself to do it. While I understand the park has to make money and has expenses $39.99 for adults to get into this park is outrageous because there aren’t many rides or things for us to do there. The Souvenir pictures are crazy priced. And after paying $39.99 per person they were charging $7-$10 per child for pony rides inside the park. In my opinion that should be considered a ride and be included in our admission. Above all the kids had a good time which is all that counts but I don’t think we’d go out of our way to go back there anytime soon.
Wow, I’m sorry to hear that the park was dirty! Perhaps you should mention that to them on their Facebook page. We found it to be very clean when we visited last year.
I do agree with you on the price for adults who may not use the rides like the kids do. It is a little steep, and then to add other expenses.