Boston, known as the “Athens of America”, was British North America’s intellectual center in 1722 and is home to reputable colleges, like Harvard, and universities, like Boston University. These iconic learning institutions attract thousands of visitors, including students, writers, scientists, scholars, and philosophers. Boston is also highly visited for its culture-rich vibe embodied in the historical landmarks that fill the cityscape. Copley Square, Back Bay’s public square, is a cluster of architectural landmarks symbolic of the 19th century. Though it is the mecca for high learning, its citizenry does have time to relax and have fun in their green spaces. Boston Harbour provides access to 34 scenic islands for an exciting urban day trip. Explore these top theme parks and amusement parks near Boston, Massachusetts, which are an amazing mix of culture, history, and wholesome family entertainment. Read our list below.
1. Lake Compounce
Visit Lake Compounce - the oldest running American family-friendly amusement park, based in Southington and Bristol, Connecticut since 1846! Its name was taken from John Compound, its original owner and Native American Chieftain. After Samual Botsford conducted electrical experiments in 1846, the property became a picnic park where people swam, rowed boats on the lake, and watched live concerts in the gazebo. In the following years, Southern-style barbecues were introduced and a 10-pin bowling alley and pool tables were built.
The Casino, it’s first permanent structure in 1895, has a second-floor ballroom and a ground-floor restaurant. Adrenaline-pumping rides, like the Carousel, the Green Dragon (later replaced by the Wildcat), speedboats, and a mini steam railroad were added. The park survived financial difficulties and change of ownership over the centuries. Under new management, millions of dollars were spent on its rehabilitation, including the addition of new rides and the integration of old traditions with the natural beauty of its surroundings. Go camping, shopping, dine at the restaurants, watch live shows, explore the rides, or book one of the lakeside cabanas on Crocodile Cove.
Address: 185 Enterprise Dr, Bristol, CT 06010, United States
Website: Lake Compounce
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 4am - 9pm; Fri: 5am - 9pm (closed Mon - Thu)
2. Canobie Lake Park
31 miles (49.9 km) to Boston’s north, in Salem, New Hampshire, is an amusement park called Canobie Lake Park. It first opened in 1902 as a huge botanical garden with a few park rides previously owned by the HP&S (Hudson, Pelham, & Salem Railways) and was introduced as a pleasure resort to complement their railways. The lovely botanical gardens motivated guests to dress in their finest while they leisurely enjoyed time with their family having picnics, enjoying the Circle Swing and Penny Arcade, joining in the sporting events, and canoeing on the lake. The introduction of automobiles in the 1920s caused the railway business to go bankrupt. In 1932, a self-made millionaire bought the park and focused on its rehabilitation, which included the purchase of the Greyhound Roller Coaster (now called the Yankee Cannonball) from Lakewood Park.
The Dancehall Theater was a popular entertainment destination until the 1950s and featured performances from famous celebrities, like Sonny & Cher and Frank Sinatra. In 1958, the park was purchased by a group of friends originally from New Jersey. They revived the park by adding new rides and concessions, paving the midway, and putting in more games, setting the highest benchmark for family entertainment.
Canobie Lake Park
Address: 85 N Policy St, Salem, NH 03079, United States
Website: Canobie Lake Park
Opening hours: 9am - 11pm (daily)
Price: starts at 139 USD
3. Six Flags New England
Six Flags New England, the oldest in the Six Flags chain of amusement parks, is just a short car ride from Albany, Boston, and the Northeast district. It’s the place to go if you want heart-pounding, thrilling rides. Formerly called Riverside Park, it was a picnic area in 1870 called Callup’s Grove. During the early 1900s, visitors arrived by steamship until the Springfield Street Railway extended their tracks to the park.
Under the ownership of Henry Perkins in 1911, the park, along with the existing carousel and mechanical rides, was transformed into the amusement park you see today. He added the Giant Dip in 1912, the park’s first rollercoaster (replaced in 1920 by the bigger and better Lightning), the Greyhound in 1915, and its third coaster, the Whirlwind Racer, in 1928. Today you also have the Wicked Cyclone, the free-falling Zoom Down Screen, bumper cars, waterparks, kiddie rides, and live shows, including meeting the characters from Looney Tunes.
Six Flags New England
Address: Route 159, 1623 Main St, Agawam, MA 01001, United States
Website: Six Flags New England
Opening hours: varies, depending on the season
Price: starts at 6.49 USD
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4. Edaville Family Theme Park
Edaville’s former owner, Ellis D. Atwood, not only gave his initials EDA to the park, but his enterprising ideas that gave birth to this iconic amusement park. During the Great Depression of the 1800s, he purchased the tracks and surrounded his 1,800-acre (728.4-hectare) cranberry plantation with a 5.5 mile (8.9 km) long railroad. The trains were used to service his marshlands and give paying customers a sightseeing tour of the plantation.
The property eventually became a family-friendly fun park with lavish Christmas exhibits, carnival rides, and cheerful lights. In 2002, 250 acres (101.2 hectares) of the property was bought by Jon Delli Priscoli. Under his ownership, the ingenious combination of vintage rides and the addition of new attractions boosted the popularity of Edaville as the best amusement park for families with kids in the area of Carver, Massachusetts. There’s a festival for every season here, like the Christmas Festival of Lights during December and their “Not So Spooky Halloween” in October. There are also jumbo elephant rides, a Spinning Lady Bug Coaster, and a giant Ferris wheel. Besides its stage shows, there are also numerous dining options and shops.
Edaville Family Theme Park
Address: 5 Pine St, Carver, MA 02330, United States
Website: Edaville Family Theme Park
Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 2pm - 9:30pm; Sun: 2pm - 9pm; Mon - Wed - Thu: 4pm - 9pm; Tue: 4pm - 8pm
Price: starts from 30 USD
Bring your kids to a colorful world where they will learn as they play! Legoland Discovery Center in Boston is a huge facility filled with the famous LEGO bricks, where kids can freely play, explore, and be creative. It offers a lot of exhibits and activities that even adults will enjoy.
There are themed events with exciting building activities, interactive photos, and stop motion film opportunities. This unique family entertainment center is located indoors at the Assembly Square in the Somerville neighborhood, near Boston. It features rides, a gift shop, a 4D cinema, a soft play area, and miniature replicas of Boston, Fenway Park, and Gillette Stadium.
Duration: 3 hours
Why amusement parks in Boston are so amusing!
Though Boston is both a historical and intellectual city, it is also a haven for amusement parks. These theme parks not only abound with thrill-seeking rides and outdoor fun, but also reflect the rich heritage of Boston that carries on for each generation. From camping and having a relaxing barbecue picnic beside a lake to riding heart-pounding rollercoasters up in the air, these parks have features that can please everyone at any age. Be sure to include one of the parks on your next visit to Boston, Massachusetts.
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