9 Best Amusement Parks In The Midwest USA

Last Updated on August 6, 2022

It’s summer! And that means that the theme parks in the Midwest once again open their gates for thrill seekers to get their adrenaline fixes!  I think the Midwest gets a little overlooked when it comes to USA theme parks, with the masses flocking to the likes of Orlando or California (Disney, I’m looking at you…) but do you know what, the Midwest has some beasts for rollercoasters with the added benefit of reasonably priced tickets and line wait times being shorter!  Win win! I teamed up with some fellow travel bloggers to share with you some of the best amusement parks in the Midwest!

Amusement Parks in the Midwest

ILLINOIS: Six Flags Great America

IOWA: Adventureland

MINNESOTA: Nickelodeon Universe

MISSOURI: Silver Dollar City | Worlds of Fun | Six Flags St Louis

OHIO: Cedar Point | Kings Island

WISCONSIN: Mount Olympus

Theme Parks in the Midwest

The Best Amusement Parks in the Midwest


Six Flags Great America

🗺1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL 60031

💰Adult Day Pass Tickets from: $59.99

Six Flags Great America is a huge Midwest theme park located just outside of Chicago (just 30 minutes from Chicago O’Hare airport!).  The park is an absolute beast with 12 major rollercoasters and heaps of other thrill rides and ‘family’ rides!

A few of my favourite rollercoasters are:

  • Vertical Velocity (0-70mph in 4 seconds, an inverted rollercoaster with two 185ft vertical tracks)
  • X Flight (if there’s one roller coaster that you want to ride in the front seat for, this is it! X Flight is a winged coaster so you sit either side of the track)
  • Goliath (I’ve never experienced a roller coaster like Goliath, it’s a wooden rollercoaster…that goes upside down and all you have is a lap bar! When it opened it held 3 ‘wooden rollercoaster’ World Records for being the fastest at 72mph and having the tallest and steepest drop at 180ft high and 85 degrees. It’s a bit of a brain shaker though!)
  • Raging Bull (the longest ride in the park with a track length of nearly a mile!)

A good money saving tip is to buy an unlimited free refill cup for $20.  If there are a couple of you sharing the same cup, you soon make your money back with just 3 refills  (Regular bottles or cups of drink are between $5 – $7)!  It’s a great way to stay hydrated and the rollercoasters all have cup holders in the stations too!

American Eagle, another wooden roller coaster, but a racing one, was the tallest, fastest and longest of its kind when first opened back in 1976.  I didn’t have time to ride it though as there was so much to do in the park!



🗺3200 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009

💰Adult Day Pass Ticket from: $45

Adventureland Theme Park Iowa
Photo Credit: Lindsay at Siouxland Families

Adventureland Theme Park in Altoona, Iowa (near Des Moines) is Iowa’s biggest and most fun amusement park and water park, and is Iowa’s only “theme park.” There are a variety of rides and attractions for all ages, from toddler friendly rides like the classic carousel and adorable LadyBugs to big-kid favorites like the Red Baron and the spooky Underground, to a classic wooden coaster (my personal fave), two raft rides, high-flying modern coasters, and plunging water slides in Adventure Bay that will delight even picky teens and adults. Adventureland is also unveiling a brand new roller coaster, the Phoenix, later in summer 2019!

For more info on Adventureland and other family friendly fun in Iowa and beyond, check out the Siouxland Families Blog

By Lindsay at Siouxland Families


Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America

🗺5000 Center Ct, Bloomington, MN 55425

💰One Day Unlimited Ride Wristband: $36.99 (individual tickets available)

Most people, at least in the US, have heard of the Mall of America (MOA). In the center of this massive shopping center you’ll find Nickelodeon Universe, one of the largest indoor theme parks in North America, with honest-to-goodness roller coasters and rides, and a glass ceiling that lets in tons of natural light. 

Nickelodeon Universe Mall of America Minnesota
Photo Credit: Kristie at World Is Wide

In our opinion, the most exhilarating ride at Nick Universe is SpongeBob SquarePants’ Rock Bottom Plunge. The ride starts right off with the treacherous hill in this photo (from left to right). From here there are numerous cork screws and twists. Needless to say, this ride is not for the faint of heart. 

Being located within a major shopping area means that there are dozens of food options, from food courts to fine dining. Take your pick! And if you need a break from the rides (yeah, right), there is also plenty of shopping. 

By Kristie at World is Wide

Related ReadingThings To Do At Mall of America That Don’t Involve Shopping (& My Favourite Mall of America Rides)!


Silver Dollar City

🗺399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson, MO 65616

💰Adult Day Pass Ticket from: $68

If you’re looking for thrills, look no further than Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.  This park boasts the world’s steepest, tallest, and fastest spinning coaster–Time Traveller. With three inversions and a top speed of 50 miles per hour, you’re in for the ride of your life.  

But Time Traveller isn’t the only coaster that holds records in the park. Outlaw Run is the only wooden coaster in the world that takes its riders on a double barrel roll. Two more coasters in the park are probably tied as my favorites, though.  Wildfire and Powder Keg pack their own thrills and have become park classics. Wildfire has five inversions and remains a smooth-riding coaster while Powder Keg is a fun launch coaster. Both give you fabulous views of the Ozark hills at their highest points.

Silver Dollar City Branson MO
Photo Credit: Stacey at Love, Laughter and Luggage

Besides the coasters, you can find plenty of family rides and kids’ classics including the carousel, a steam train, and even a cave tour.  Fire-in-the-Hole and the Flooded Mine are also great dark rides that aren’t too intense for the less adventurous.

If rides aren’t your favorite past time, this park truly has something for everyone–craft demonstrations, live shows, unique shopping, and down-home dining.  Throughout the year, the park offers festivals and special events to get you in the spirit of every season. Ultimately, Silver Dollar City aims to show visitors a glimpse of Ozark life in the 1880s, and you don’t have to ride Time Traveller to feel that you have stepped back in time.  Walking through the gate, smelling the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, and marveling at the beautiful hills and trees around you does the trick.

By Stacey from Love, Laughter, and Luggage

Worlds of Fun

🗺4545 Worlds of Fun Ave, Kansas City, MO 64161

💰Adult Day Pass Ticket from: $39.99

Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri, is a theme park inspired by the classic novel “Around the World in 80 Days.” Each section of the park carries the theme through decorations, ride names and dining options. A fairly recent addition, Planet Snoopy, doesn’t fit the theme, but it’s forgivable since it’s a very fun area for kids with about two-dozen rides. The roller coasters at Worlds of Fun are the big draw, so don’t skip rides like the Mamba, Patriot and Prowler.

Worlds of Fun by
Photo Credit: Kim at Oh My! Omaha

Admission to Worlds of Fun gets you into the neighboring water park, Oceans of Fun. A good tip is to visit a few rides in the morning at Worlds of Fun, then head to Oceans of Fun to cool off, and then end the day back at Worlds of Fun after some of the crowds have left.

By Kim at Oh My! Omaha

Six Flags St Louis

🗺4900 Six Flags Rd, Eureka, MO 63025

💰Adult Day Pass Ticket from: $48.99

Six Flags St. Louis is located just outside of the city to the southwest off of I44. The theme park is both a thrill park and water park that you can visit all in the same day. The theme park portion is opening a new attraction this year (2019) called the SUPERGIRL. It is a thrill seekers paradise with spin, tilt, and suspension, all while at high speeds. This is surely not a ride you will want to miss on your visit.

After you have quenched your thriller side on the numerous rollercoasters, head over to the waterpark for even more thrills or to relax. Hurricane Harbor is an amazing way to wrap up your family’s adventure to Six Flags. While you are at the waterpark make sure you ride the Typhoon Twister, it is one of our favorite rides at the park.

Traveling on a budget? Save money by stopping at a local gas station and picking up a discounted coke can or if you are military affiliated, don’t forget to get your military discount. Also, save time and money by bringing a cooler with your pre-made lunch. Just get your hand stamped for re-entry and relax with your meal before heading back to all the fun.

Most important thing to remember when visiting Six Flags St Louis is to enjoy yourself and your family. These are the memories that last a lifetime. Looking for more family friendly fun in St Louis? Visit Mommy And Me Travels as we continue to discover family fun adventures in the area.

By Tiffany at Mommy and Me Travels


Cedar Point

🗺1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH 44870

💰Adult Day Pass ticket from: $49.99

Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Cedar Point Amusement Park is more than a fantastic Midwest destination; the amusement park’s ranked as one of the best on the planet!

Not for the faint of heart, this thrilling, record-breaking amusement park is home to 70 rides, including 18 roller coasters.   The latest record-breaking roller coaster, Steel Vengeance made its debut in 2018.  It’s the tallest, fastest, longest, and steepest hybrid roller coaster on Earth!

Cedar Point Ohio Flo
Photo Credit: Flo at Flo’s Favorites

Cedar Point offers much more than thrill-rides though, there’s also, shopping, a boardwalk, beaches, a 164-acre water park, numerous great dining options, live shows, and lots of entertainment for young kids.

Want to make your visit an extended giveaway?  Cedar Point resorts offer many deals with lodging and park packages, including dining plans.

My family and I usually visit during the off-peak season to avoid long lines and get the most bang for our buck with one of their resort packages.  Some of our can’t-miss rides include the Maverick, Millenium Force, and Magnum XL200!

Don’t sleep on this Midwest destination; plan your unforgettable experience today!

By Flo at Flo’s Favorites

Kings Island

🗺6300 Kings Island Dr, Mason, OH 45040

💰Adult Day Pass Ticket from: $47.99

Kings Island Amusement Park by Nedra
Photo Credit: Nedra at Adventure Mom Blog

Kings Island Amusement Park is located 30 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. The park has something for everyone including several roller coasters and attractions for thrill seekers. My favorite roller coaster in the park is Diamondback with the Beast as a second. Diamondback is a steel coaster that rides really smooth and is ranked in the top 10 steel coasters in the world reaching speeds up to 80 mph.

The Beast was the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1979 and a night ride is one of my favorite ways to experience it. The ride has steep hills and travels back through the woods in the dark through several tunnels.

Admission to the park also includes Soak City waterpark. For a great overview of the park take a ride up the Eiffel tower which is a 1/3 replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Stay until closing for a nightly firework show set to music.

Non Rider? Check out Nedra’s post: 10 Fun Things For Non Riders To Do At Kings Island

By Nedra at Adventure Mom Blog


Mount Olympus

🗺1881 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy B, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, USA

💰Adult Day Pass Ticket: $40

Wisconsin Dells, about an hour from Madison, is the waterpark capital of the world and a rite of passage for anyone growing up in the state.  I went quite a few times growing up, it’s been years since my last visit, but I always loved Mount Olympus.  They are home to an indoor and outdoor theme park as well as an indoor and outdoor waterpark so there is no bad time to visit. 

My favorite attractions were always Triton’s Fury and Triton’s Rage, two neighboring raft style waterslides.  I would spend hours at a time climbing back to the top after going down.  Mount Olympus is home to the world’s longest underground tunnel on the Hades rollercoaster if that’s more your speed.

There is plenty of lodging at the park with tons of different style rooms for all budgets, so you won’t have to travel far for your fun.  If you don’t want to stay at the park, my personal favorite hotel in the Dells is the Kalahari Resort.

By Megan at Red Around The World

Related Reading: Tips And Things To Do In Wisconsin Dells For Adults!

Thank you to all my contributors for sharing their awesome tips and tricks!

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11 thoughts on “9 Best Amusement Parks In The Midwest USA

  1. Thanks for including me! There are several on this list I’ve never heard of before and I’m definitely adding them to my bucket list. They all sound so fun!!

    1. Yeah I had heard of some but I discovered a whole bunch more! I didn’t realise there were so many with high thrill rides!

  2. I’m not an amusement park go-er (motion sick), but this is a great compilation for those that are! I know Silver Dollar City in Branson is huge although we’ve never been there during any of our visits!

    1. That’s a good reason to not go to a theme park! One of the submissions, the link is to a guide on things to do for non riders at the park they wrote about if I remember rightly! I’ll have to dig it out of the text so it’s more obvious for the non riders!

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