Perched at the bow of the pirate ship, the captain's parrot braces for stormy weather. But in the case of the pirate-ship inflatable at Pirates Plank, the feeling of choppy waves isn't generated by water below, but by the youngsters hopping on it. Kids can also jump around on a Pirates of the Caribbean–themed bounce house before navigating around the tranquil ponds decorating the 18-hole miniature-golf course.
Elsewhere, Pirates Plank hosts races on its go-kart track, gamers in its video arcade, and players in its batting cages aiming for homers or to hit balls back into the machine they came from. The snack bar keeps visitors reenergized with tasty treats, and birthday parties entice attendees with unlimited soda and popcorn, arcade tokens for each guest, and mini-golf passes for future visits.
Safari Niagara provides a home for more than 750 exotic and domestic animals. The park?s conservationists lead educational presentations on threatened species and aim to shape children into the world?s future caretakers through up-close interactions with the park?s most social residents. Alpacas, river otters, grey wolves, and falcons are among the many animals that prowl the 110-acre facility. Click here for up-to-date information about the 2015 season; the park is scheduled to reopen in mid-May 2015.
Zipping around a quarter-mile go-kart course. Careening into friends aboard a bumper boat. Playing any of the 40 games inside the arcade. At Adventure Speedway, you don't have to choose just one of these options. That's because the family fun center pairs visitors with all of the above at every single one of its 10 locations. It also offers up group outings and birthday parties, plus a snack area complete with goodies to fuel all-day races with neighborhood squirrels.
Predator. Viper. Red Hawk. Though these could be the monikers of assassins in Kill Bill: Volume 3, they're actually the names of a few of Darien Lake Amusement Park's thrilling roller coasters. Eleven daring rides greet the adventurous and include rides like classic wooden coasters the Ride of Steel, which boasts speeds of up to 75 mph and a 205-foot plunge. But spending a day here isn't just about the scream-inducing rides. The park also features water excursions and kid- and family-friendly rides, such as the nostalgic Grande Carousel and the Moose on the Loose ride, not to be confused with the less popular Mole on a Stroll.
Those interested in aquatic fun can venture into Splashtown, Darien Lake's adjoining water park. There, people of all ages enjoy looping tube slides, a heated lazy river, and the popular Tornado?a 132-foot-long tunnel that shoots you into a giant funnel at 20 mph. And if one day isn't enough time, check out Darien Lake's lodging options, which include camping, glamping (ready-made campsites), RV rentals, and cabins.
Upon departing from Chautauqua Choo-Choo Train Station, trains chug past the abundant attractions sprawled throughout the park during four-minute rides. Had the train existed at Midway State Park when it first opened as a trolley park in 1898, its 15-mile-per-hour jaunt would have surveyed a landscape dotted with playing fields, tennis courts, bathhouses, and a dancehall. These days, America's 16th oldest continually operating amusement park shelters the spinning and twirling cars of a Tilt-A-Whirl and other rides. A three-sided, 24-foot climbing wall challenges participants to spite gravity's tyrannical reign before ringing the buzzer at its peak, and guests in the helicopter ride can adjust their height with a bar attached to the aircraft. Elsewhere, youngsters captain a kiddie boat or steer retro-modeled cars past a miniature roadway's street signs. Between rides, visitors can munch on cotton candy while peering out toward the shores of Chautauqua Lake from one of several picnic areas.
Putting Edge's phosphorescent indoor mini golf course challenges putters with a network of greens hindered by glow-in-dark obstacles. Eighteen holes twist and turn throughout a darkened space populated by painted neon trees and glowing statues. A steady stream of upbeat music sets the pace for players as they navigate their way through the incandescent labyrinth to prove to competitors that their putting skills—like the bottom of Lake Michigan and Celine Dion's hair—are untouchable.