The best theme parks

I am totally obsessed by theme parks. I could say I go for the kids but it wouldn’t really be true and I think they probably know that. We have a little tradition that every time we go to a theme park, I take Livi on a ride which is just a bit too scary for her and makes her cry. I don’t mean to, but it always happens. The big thrill for Livi, though, is cuddling the giant animals – she simply can’t get enough of that. Both she and Toby enjoy the not-too-scary rides and my husband Alex just finds it exhausting.

In the last year or so we have been to Portaventura near Barcelona, which was excellent, albeit v busy as it was Hallowe’en. Mummy bloggers Jo Beaufoix, Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy?, Tara Cain and Little Mummy, among others – all wrote about. While some of their reports tend to focus on the terrifying-sounding Hotel Burn, there is also plenty of less scary stuff for littler children and the food is , on the whole, excellent – unusual for a theme park. We have some great photos but they are buried somewhere on my husband’s hard drive (oo-er) so I’m going to put them in a separate post.

In the summer we went to Duinrell near Amsterdam in Holland (pictured – Livi and I on the Bumper Boats) which as on a much smaller scale but so uncrowded despite it being August, plus if you are staying on its campsite you get to go in for free as often as you like, which seemed remerkably good value. I wrote about it on Have a Lovely Time. At the end of the summer we also went to Disneyland, Paris, to check out if a guide book could help us enjoy it more (and it turned out, it could.)

So we’ve done OK really lately, theme-park wise. Others on my list to visit though include Wunderland in Germany which I wrote about for Wizz Air’s Inflight magazine – it is built on the site of an old nuclear power station and even has a ride inside the cooling tower. Doesn’t that sound like something straight out of The Simpsons? I’m also really keen to visit  the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, after reading what Liz at Living with Kids who has already been had to say about it but America is a long way away so that one will probably have to wait.

For little children, in the UK the Gulliver’s theme parks are excellent as they don’t have the big, scary rides so there are no rowdy teenagers being annoying in queues. And there are loads more of course – let me know what your favourites are.

About catherinecooper

Journalist and author specialising in travel with children. I write for several national publications and am author of Travelling with Children: A Parent's Guide. You can see some of my articles at
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3 Responses to The best theme parks

  1. Rachel Webb says:

    What about Andalucia, there’s Tivoli World the largest near Malaga, Isla Magica in Seville, a great destination for culture and fun.

  2. Thanks Rachel – it’s ages since I’ve been to the south of Spain and both of these sound great….

  3. Pingback: Portaventura and Barcelona | Travelling with Children

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