These Are The 5 Best Amusement Parks And Water Parks In Virginia For 2018


We used science and data to determine which amusement parks and water parks in Virginia are the best to spend a day or weekend with the family.

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Just imagine:

You get off your favorite ride, jazzed up by the excitement, and on your way to get a uniquely American snack at your favorite amusement park.

Alright, now, open your eyes and come back to me for a moment as we go into where best to have that same experience in Virginia. These are the water parks and amusement parks in {state} that have everything you could hope for in a day out with the family.

Using data from The Park DB, we were able to take a look at over 250 amusement and water parks across America, which includes Virginia of course. After pouring over reams of data, Kings Dominion emerged as the best park in the Old Dominion by a hefty margin.

Here’s a look at the best amusement parks and water parks in Virginia for 2018:

  1. Kings Dominion
  2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  3. Great Wolf Lodge
  4. Water Country USA
  5. Motor World

There are a whole lot of smiles and good memories wrapped up in those parks. Not to mention corn dogs, popcorn, roller coasters, and water slides.

Before you go out and buy your ticket to {first}, let’s take a look at how we ranked the parks on this list and what each of the top dogs has to offer.

If you’re looking for other family friendly things to do, check out the best farmers markets in Virginia or the best cities for families in Virginia.

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How We Ranked The Best Amusement Parks And Water Parks In Virginia

If you haven’t check out The Park DB, we recommend it. It has all kinds of data on amusement parks big and small throughout the world.

Fortunately for us, they opened up their data set and let us take a look. So how do you rank the best amusement park in Virginia? We looked at the following criteria:

  1. Size (How big is the park and how many rides are there)
  2. Price (Perhaps counter-intuitively initially, we did the higher the price the better. More on that)
  3. Age of the park (The newer the better)

We know your probably thinking ‘why is more expensive better?!’

Well, we believe in supply and demand and a higher price means that people must really want to go to the amusement park. It normally also means there’s either a strong brand associated with the park and/or plenty of things to do.

We also recognize that many water parks and amusement parks get renovations and additions throughout the years, but we still think newer is generally better.

If you disagree with our criteria, no offense taken. We are just trying to get the ball rolling on great places to spend a day or weekend in the Old Dominion.

So, with that out of the way, we ranked each park from best to worst for each of these criteria with one being the best. (If a park was missing criteria, it got the lowest score for that criteria).

We then averaged the rankings of each criteria to create an amusement park score and normalized it to 100.

For Virginia, Kings Dominion took the top spot with a score of 53.6.

Here’s a bit more on what the top parks have to offer.

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1. Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion

Score: 53.6

Kings Dominion is an amusement park in Doswell, Virginia 20 miles (30 km) north of Richmond and 75 miles (120 km) south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 95.

The 400-acre (1.6 km2) park opened on May 3, 1975, and is currently owned by Cedar Fair and offers over 60 rides, shows and attractions including 13 roller coasters and a 20-acre (81,000 m2) water park. The name given to the park is derived from the name of its sister park, Kings Island, and the nickname for the state of Virginia, ‘Old Dominion’.

2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Score: 53.6

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (formerly known as Busch Gardens Europe and Busch Gardens: The Old Country) is a 383-acre (155 ha) theme park located in James City County, Virginia, United States. Located about 60.40 miles (97.20 km) northwest of Virginia Beach, the park was developed by Anheuser-Busch (A-B) and is owned by SeaWorld Entertainment. It opened on May 16, 1975, adjacent to Anheuser-Busch’s brewery and near its other developments including the Kingsmill Resort complex.

The park is themed around various European countries, and as such was originally called Busch Gardens: The Old Country. In 1993, the park was renamed Busch Gardens Williamsburg before briefly being named Busch Gardens Europe in 2006 until it returned to the Williamsburg name in 2008. Similarly, its sister park in Florida was originally called Busch Gardens: The Dark Continent until it was officially renamed Busch Gardens Tampa Bay until a brief switch to Busch Gardens Africa from 2006 to 2008. In 2015, the estimated attendance of 2.78 million makes it the twentieth most-visited park in the US.

In addition to its landscaping and European theme, Busch Gardens is widely known for its roller coasters, including Griffon, Alpengeist, and Apollo’s Chariot, which won No. 4 best steel coaster in 2012 from the Golden Ticket Awards.

3. Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge

Score: 39.3

Great Wolf Resorts is a chain of indoor water parks. The company owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand. In addition to a water park, each resort features specialty restaurants, arcades, spas, fitness rooms, and children\xc2\x92s activity areas including Yoga and bowling. Great Wolf Resorts is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

4. Water Country USA


Score: 32.1

Water Country USA is a water theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. It is the Mid-Atlantic’s largest water park, and it offers live entertainment, shops and restaurants, water rides, and other attractions, all of which have a 1950s or 1960s surf theme. It is owned by SeaWorld Entertainment. The park is just a few miles away from Busch Gardens Williamsburg, with which it shares clientele. Multi-park passes are available, and a parking pass at Water Country USA is valid for same-day entry to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

5. Motor World


Score: 28.9

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Closing Out The Souvenir Shops In Virginia

There you have it — a look at some of the best amusement parks and water parks that Virginia has to offer. The Park DB constantly updates their data, so we’ll update the data as they update theirs.

Now go out there and have as much fun as humanly possible — your favorite ride is always waiting for you.

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