Fun for all ages; travel bloggers pick their worldwide favourite theme parks for family entertainment
Love them or loathe them, theme parks can create incredible vacation memories for families, and we’re guessing fall pretty high on most kids’ travel wish lists.
Although we have done our fair share of the “big ones” across the continents, we’ve also been amazed at the variety (and value!) you can get exploring some of the world’s smaller amusement parks too.
Yes, of course, there’s gotta be some Disney Magic in there, but you be surprised by just how many different theme parks you can find in the US, European theme parks as well as Far East Asia, the Middle East, and Australia, too.
Pack your comfiest shoes, stack your strollers for the little ones and a healthy supply of snacks to get your through this incredible collection of 25 sensational kid-friendly theme parks from around the world.
This post is part of our Best Destinations series
Best Family Theme Parks in the USA
Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Suggested by Elaine from Family Travel Escapades
Walt Disney World resort near Orlando, Florida is the world’s best theme park because it boasts both quality and quantity that are unsurpassed.
Walt Disney World offers not one, but four amazing theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, 34 resorts/hotels, and the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment area.
The four parks are distinct with different themes, attractions, and focuses are: Magic Kingdom (Classic Disney!), Epcot (science and culture), Hollywood Studios (classic TV and movies) and Animal Kingdom (nature, real and mythical).
Children will love meeting classic Disney characters (Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Snow White, even Doc McStuffins, and more), parades, stage shows (Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo), child-friendly rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, and amazing fireworks.
Adults will appreciate the same things but will also enjoy thrill rides (Tower of Tower, Expedition Everest, Space Mountain) and culture (shopping and dining from thirteen countries in Epcot alone). Everything in Walt Disney World, from restaurants to rides, has a “story” that makes it feel more alive and real.
Walt Disney said, “The Magic is in the details.” No detail is too small at Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World is the “most magical place on Earth.”
Read more about why you should visit Disney World During Spring Break or perhaps add a side stop to one of Florida’s beaches close to to WDW.
Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida
Suggested by Keri from Our Globetrotters
Part of the Universal Orlando group of theme parks (Including Universal Studios Orland and Universal’s Volcano Bay water park), it’s easy to see how Islands of Adventure can sometimes get overlooked in Orlando – especially when it stands against Walt Disney World!
My initial perception was that our young children would probably not enjoy it; there were far too many “big thrill” rides and not enough to keep our Disney-character-obsessed youngsters happy. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
We have visited Orlando three times now with kids at different ages (and heights) and on every occasion, we have certainly left feeling Islands of Adventure at Universal was the “winner” for our family.
Not only does it feel that little bit less crowded, that little bit less “how does everyone keep this insane smile on their face all day” there’s a real air of excitement but also a more relaxed vibe than many other local parks.
For our littlies, the big highlights include meeting Spider-Man, visiting the wacky Toon Lagoon, and taking all the rides in Seuss Landing.
As they’ve grown interests, have diverged and taking on the bigger coasters, and, of course, the rides and magic of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter have become the key focus of a trip to Universal Florida.
To help you cope with the Florida heat for much of the year, plenty of rides involve getting wet and opportunities to cool off. We strategically stay at the attached Universal Resorts to make the most of free transfers and the early starts to beat the day’s biggest crowds.
If you’ve only got one day to see all of Universal Orlando though, we’d strongly suggest getting a Universal Express Unlimited Pass with Park-to-Park tickets.
After you’re done for the day, Universal CityWalk which connects the two Universal Orlando theme parks has excellent family dining options.
Universal Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Adriane from Put On Your Party Pants
Universal Hollywood is one of our favorite theme parks because it has a ton of great, unique attractions with an amazing view of the Hollywood Hills. It offers rides and shows that appeal to all age groups.
The park is located on top of a mountain within the Universal movie studios property. It has an upper level and lower level. Several escalator rides are required to go between the two. Between the location and the theming throughout, every inch of the park has something interesting to see.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter section is immersive and a must do.
Some of the attractions at the park can also be experienced at the larger Orlando location, but not all. Despicable Me, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Revenge of the Mummy, the Simpsons Ride, and the Animal Actors show are there. There is a Secret Life of Pets ride and studio tour unique to Hollywood that are not to be missed.
The park is character-heavy. On any given day, you may find the Simpsons, Minions, Curious George, Scooby Doo, Transformers, and a giant raptor, among others. Donkey from Shrek will even mock you through a curtain.
The park lets you out near CityWalk, a section with restaurants and shops.
Unlike its Orlando counterpart, Universal Hollywood doesn’t have on property hotels. The Hilton Universal City is our favorite option. It is walking distance to the park and you can see the park from some of the rooms.
Disneyland, Anaheim, California
Suggested by Keri from Bon Voyage with Kids
One of the best theme parks for families is Disneyland, California. What we love about Disney’s original family theme park is more than just the Disney experience. It’s also walkable, with two main theme parks, hotels, and a Disney shopping area, and full of family entertainment and fun kids will love.
The Disneyland Park (one of the two theme parks at Disneyland) is great for kids of all ages, but especially if you are visiting Disneyland with toddlers, as it includes many of the favorite rides and characters families have come to know and love.
It is the original of all of the Disney parks. Hence, it is a chance for kids to step back in time and ride some of the classic attractions like the original It’s A Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the original Space Mountain. Adults will love being a kid again.
The other park, Disneyland California Adventure is also great for families, with many California-themed rides and attractions. Any family who loves the Lightning McQueen movies will love the Cars Land area of the park, which holds one of the very best rides in any Disney park (in my opinion) Radiator Springs Racers.
There is also a boardwalk area full of carnival games and attractions that feel like one of the many boardwalk theme parks you might find in California.
But one of the reasons Disneyland California is one of the best theme parks for families, aside from the magical family entertainment, is that it’s walkable. While there is a monorail, you don’t have to use transportation to visit all that Disneyland offers. Everything, from the hotels to the theme parks to the shopping area, are within walking distance of one another, making it a wonderful theme park for any family vacation.
Want to turn your California Disney trip into a beach vacation too? The great news is, there are plenty of beaches close to Disneyland, CA.
Kings Island, Cincinnati, Ohio
Suggested by Stephanie from Consistently Curious
Step into the Midwest’s largest amusement park to visit Kings Island and Soak City in Cincinnati, Ohio. Known for its record-breaking roller coasters, the iconic Eiffel Tower replica, and the little thrills in Planet Snoopy, Kings Island offers something for all ages.
Planet Snoopy is the kid’s area, which is quite lovely—offering a wide variety of rides for kids 36 inches and taller. Planet Snoopy is where you will live with kids 3-6 years old. As they get taller and braver, they can venture into the park for more thrilling rides.
The Beast and Orion are two bucket-list roller coasters for enthusiasts, while others enjoy the classic rides like the Old Time Cars and The Scrambler. Did you know the Beast holds the record for the world’s longest wooden roller coaster?!
A quick train ride from the main park will transport guests to Soak City Waterpark. Each admission into the park includes the waterpark. There are over 50 water activities for families to explore.
There are plenty of ways to beat the heat from a massive wave pool, plunging waterslides to Castaway Cove.
There are plenty of overnight accommodations nearby, from the luxurious Great Wolf Lodge directly next to the park to the family-friendly Drury Inn located only a few minutes away. Campers will enjoy a stay at Camp Cedar Resort which offers RV hook-ups and cabin rentals.
Silverwood, Couer d’Alene, Idaho
Suggested by Jen from Thrifty Northwest Mom
Silverwood Theme Park in the Couer d’Alene, Idaho, area is a combination amusement park + waterpark featuring over 70 rides, slides, magic shows & attractions that any age will enjoy.
They offer a Critter Camp for the youngest in the family with rides & treehouse play areas for toddlers & preschoolers. Older kids, teens & adults will love Rollercoaster Alley & rides like Thunder Canyon whitewater rapids. The Las Vegas-style magic show & 1915 steam engine train with Wild West show will be a hit for the whole family, including the grandparents.
Boulder Beach, Silverwood’s water park, is on the opposite side of the park and the perfect place to beat the heat. Unwind on the lazy river with a refreshing drink from the swim-up bar. Or ride the waves in one of 2 wave pools or go for the thrills with the 400 ft long slide over 60 ft tall!
If you want to stay closest to all the action, Silverwood offers a campground right next to the parking lot, making it a perfect home base to come back for meals or rest. Or stay at the nearby Triple Play resort, a combination hotel + indoor water park + family fun center just 20 minutes away.
To enjoy the gorgeous beauty of north Idaho, stay on either Lake Pend Oreille or Lake Couer d’Alene. The Couer d’Alene Resort is right in the heart of town with beautiful views along the lake, a lakeside infinity pool & floating island green as part of the golf course.
Knoebels, Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Suggested by Karen from Been There Done That With Kids
Knoebels amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, is a great destination for families with kids of all ages. I love that they offer free admission and free parking, and I can pay as I go for rides with tickets. There are also ride all day wristbands offered on weekdays.
Knoebels features an award-winning wooden roller coaster called Phoenix. There’s also a unique wooden bobsled coaster and a steel coaster with a 90-degree drop. for younger children, there’s a shaded kiddie area with miniature bumper cars, a rocket slide, train rides, and more.
I love the Haunted Mansion ride, which has a certain part which makes me jump every time! Don’t miss the Grand Carousel, where I love to try to grab the brass ring.
The park also offers a wide variety of food options, including Old Mill ice cream, the international food court, pizza, and a fudge shop. The Alamo, a full-service sit-down restaurant is also located within the park.
The Crystal Pool at Knoebels is a great place to cool off in the summer. The zero-depth entry pool has slides in the water. There’s also separate water slides and a kid’s play area.
After spending the day at Knoebels, it’s a short walk to their campground. There are spots for tents and trailers, as well as cozy log cabins to rent.
Best European Theme Parks for Families
Disneyland, Paris, France
Suggested by Amy from Passports & Pigtails
The word ‘Disney’ evokes wonder and magic, a life-size fairytale of winding pathways that lead to spinning teacups, heart racing rollercoasters, swashbuckling pirates, and crown adorned princesses come to life. It’s a place that caters to all those passing through the gates, fulfilling the dreams of generations.
With Disney theme parks dotting the globe, each park offers up its own unique experience. Disneyland Paris is the perfect opportunity for traveling families to pair up days of magic with days wandering the streets in the city of light and love. At just 32 kilometres via a quick train ride, families can easily switch up days of Mickey Mouse for days of culture, crepes and iconic towers. It is “Disney en Francais’.
Disneyland Paris is split into two theme parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Serviced by seven Disney hotels and plenty of surrounding accommodation options and a separate Disney Village, this is a park that has options for every budget.
Covering approximately 5000 acres, it is on a perfect scale for families looking to spend a few days immersed in moments of laughter and excitement. For children, it’s a dream come true as they embark upon adventurous rides and are left starry-eyed by characters.
For parents, it’s nostalgia, family connection, and learning that rides are not as easy on the body as they used to be. For us, it was seeing our girls’ eyes light up as they watched over the top parades and snuggling in as a family to watch the most incredible fireworks and light show one can possibly witness.
Disney Parks are a bucket list destination for many families, and with it’s proximity to one of the world’s most amazing cities, it’s incredible daily celebrations and it’s perfect size, Disneyland Paris is a fantastic family destination.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Suggested by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
Tivoli Gardens is one of oldest theme parks in the world as well as one of the most beautiful. The amusement park in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark opened in 1843.
Aside from thrill-seeking roller coasters and rides, Tivoli has picturesque pavilions and colorful gardens that have been meticulously landscaped. In fact, even if you don’t typically enjoy theme parks, you’ll love strolling through Tivoli and taking in the beauty of this Copenhagen attraction.
For adventure lovers there are more than 30 rides at Tivoli Gardens, many of which the whole family can enjoy – from toddlers to teens.
Every night after the sun sets, Tivoli hosts an enthralling light show with lasers, music, lights, and fire to entertain the crowd. The park also routinely hosts live concerts at both outdoor and indoor stages.
Plan to spend a full day at Tivoli Gardens when visiting Copenhagen. The park is located adjacent to the central train station in the city making it easily accessible from anywhere in the city.
However, if you want to stay within a short walk from the park, the Scandic Palace Hotel and Radisson Collection Royal Hotel are 4- and 5-star options located across the street from Tivoli.
Plopsaland, Adinkerke, Belgium
Suggested by Babs from Next Stop Belgium
Plopsaland, De Panne is a theme park on the Belgian coast that our family absolutely loves and that we visit at least once a year. The theme of the park is based on the figures of Studio 100, the brand that creates a large part of the Belgian cartoons and tv series for kids.
Plopsaland isn’t a huge park, but you’ll definitely be able to spend the entire day. As we are a homeschooling family, we usually visit on weekdays, and we just about manage to do everything we want to do – but that’s on days without any lines! So be sure to check beforehand which rides you definitely want to take!
Overall, the park is best fitted for kids aged 4-8, but that doesn’t mean younger, and older kids (and adults!) will feel left out. Toddlers only have some rides they can join, but there are two toddler playgrounds and the shows and meet & greets with Bumba, the clown that can mesmerize any young kid.
Older children, teenagers and adults will definitely enjoy the many rollercoasters, including the new Tomorrowland, The Ride – the first of its kind in Europe – which is pretty thrilling if you ask me!
The park’s location makes it a wonderful day trip for families coming from Belgium, France, and even the UK, as the Calais ferry is pretty close. If you’d like to stay over, you can do so in the park at the new Plopsa Hotel, or you can choose to spend the night in De Panne, one of Belgium’s popular beach towns.
Peppa Pig World, Hampshire, England
Suggested by Claire from Tin Box Traveller
If you’ve come across this cheeky TV piggy you’ll either love her or hate her. My three-year-old daughter is smitten. ‘The Pig’ seems to have that effect on toddlers, which means it’s no surprise that families travel the length and breadth of the UK to visit Peppa Pig World.
I have to admit I didn’t really get ‘the Pig’ until we visited this bite-sized theme park (it’s no Disney World), but having experienced it for myself I can highly recommend it.
For starters, it’s great for families with babies and toddlers because they can go on every ride. No one has to hang around with the buggy while the rest of the family queues up. Kids will recognise each ride or attraction from the shows they’ve watched and can meet Peppa and her friends in organised meet and greet sessions throughout the day.
Peppa Pig World is just one part of the Paultons Park theme park in Hampshire, UK. If you can drag your little people away from Peppa, there are plenty of rides suitable for older children and grown-ups, as well-landscaped gardens and a tropical bird aviary.
Peppa Pig World is easily a full day out for young kids, so I’d recommend getting a season ticket if you want to take full advantage of what the park has to offer over several days.
Alton Towers, Staffordshire, England
Suggested by Rachel from Children of Wanderlust
In my opinion, Alton Towers is the best theme park in the U.K., for people of all ages. It is great fun for a family day out.
For younger children, the main attraction is the CBeebies Land (with rides themed on CBeebies, the TV channel from the BBC for younger children). Costumed characters from the shows mingle and provide entertainment throughout the day at a variety of shows.
For older children and adults looking for a few thrills of their own, there is a good selection of other rides distributed across the several themed regions of the park. These include some of the world’s best rollercoasters, like the incredible 14 loop ‘Smiler’ ride.
Another great feature of Alton Towers that really sets it apart from other theme parks in the heritage-listed ornamental parks and gardens. These are great if you want to escape the hustle and bustle and relax in peace for a while or for enjoying a family picnic.
All this open space means that the park is quite spread out, so expect to do a fair amount of walking. I’d advise bringing a pushchair/stroller for smaller children. There is also an aquarium, water park, and mini-golf course within the park complex.
If looking to stay over, the many themed hotels on site are highly recommended. These give you early access to the park (amongst other things), something to really help with avoiding some of the dreaded queues!
The CBeebies Hotel is a lot of fun for smaller kids, with its own dedicated in-hotel children’s entertainment programme and special events throughout the year. We last visited at Christmas, with a package that included waterpark access and a visit to see Santa in the park.
Greenwood Family Park, Wales
Suggested by Claire from The Ladybirds’ Adventures
Greenwood Family Park is a fantastic family theme park in North Wales. It might not have as many rollercoasters as some on this list but it does have one. And it’s people-powered! It’s also home to the first solar-powered ride in the UK, a 12 meter high water slide with stunning views over Snowdonia. The whole attraction is doing its best to be eco-friendly which is great to see.Its woodland setting makes for a magical day out.
There’s plenty for those feeling a little less adventurous, too, like a barefoot walk, boat tide, play areas, sledge runs, and so much more. There’s also a small woodland theatre where you can enjoy a show. The shows change regularly along with other seasonal events. Greenwood family park is a great day out for families with young children right up to early teens.
You can even extend your stay now and stay in the new tipi woodland village. Perfect if you want to extend your stay and enjoy glamping. Located between Bangor and Caernarfon in North Wales. The perfect family day out if you are staying in the area, including the beautiful Anglesey.
Sprookjeswonderland, Enkhuizen, The Netherlands
Suggested by Lisa from Flip Flop Globetrotters
Sprookjeswonderland (literally: fairytale wonderland) in Enkhuizen is a true gem, still undiscovered by most tourists and a bit off the beaten path. It’s fantastic for families with small kids and much cheaper than well known theme park Efteling.
Located about 60 kilometers north of Amsterdam, Sprookjeswonderland is a great choice for a day trip if you’re staying in the Dutch capital and quite easy to reach by public transport. If you want to travel by car, the park offers free parking.
Compared to the Efteling which has well over 4 million visitors per year, Sprookjeswonderland with approximately 250.000 visitors yearly is very small scale. Which makes it attractive for families with smaller kids.
The park has no age limit, but it’s especially suited for kids up till about 7 or 8 years old. Expect no thrilling rides but mechanical cars, horses, and little boats. No loud music but attractively designed fairy tale scenes and automated puppets.
If your kids are used to loud and thrilling theme parks, Sprookjeswonderland isn’t for them. But if you’re looking for a smaller park, especially aimed at younger kids, then Sprookjeswonderland is an excellent option.
Dream Park, Ochaby, Poland
Suggested by Mark from Wyld Family Travel
Located in southern Poland, Dream Park features life-size Dinosaurs, miniature wonders of the world, 4d cinema aquarium, ropes course, a playground and more.
The dinosaurs are life-size and life-like motion-activated; they move their heads and tales and even have sound effects. The ropes course is amazing, with flying foxes, obstacles, and ladders to challenge all members of the family.
We really enjoyed this little theme park, the crowds were low, and the prices were even lower. We spent an excellent 3-4 hours here and enjoyed every minute of it; highly recommended if you are in Poland.
Best Family Theme Parks in Asia & Australia
Universal Studios Japan
Suggested by Ritarsha from Far East Furqans
Looking for a fun place to visit while in Japan, once the borders open? Then if heading south to visit the Osaka and Nagoya areas Universal Studios Japan should be on your list!!
This family-friendly fun park, similar but not entirely like those found stateside, can be enjoyed in a day or savored in two to three. With different worlds to explore, you can grab a wand and train at Hogwarts, battle Bowser or look for Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
An easy Shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo it’s a great time to be had by all.
Wanting to make your trip a little easier, with less commuting, you can stay at one of the park-affiliated hotels STEPs from the entrance to Universal Studios with shopping and eateries to entertain and fulfill you after park hours.
Bali Safari and Marine Park, Indonesia
Suggested by Sally Ann from Toddlers on Tour
The Bali Safari and Marine Park is not your typical theme park in the normal sense of the word, but definitely a fun and educational family day out.
We start our day by exploring the aquariums and seeing the frenzy of the Piranha fish feeding. Then we perch on rickety tiered seats as we hear the history of how humans have domesticated wildlife. We are enchanted watching the elephants bathing, white tigers striding along the river, and Komodo Dragons lazing in the sun.
Next, we are told the story of the struggle between the elephants and humans in the Indonesian jungles that eventually resulted in a more harmonious way of life. We are then amused to see how elephant poo is used to make paper. However, the highlight is the 4WD safari tour to explore the biggest “zoo” I have seen, with animals from Africa, India, and Indonesia freely walking through huge fields.
We finish our day with the more conventional theme park attractions; cooling off in the water park and riding on the sideshow attractions.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Suggested by Chontelle from Mums Little Explorers
One of the most popular theme parks in Asia is Hong Kong Disneyland. It is such a fun theme park for families. We visited with our kids who were 6 and 8 and it was perfect. The atmosphere as soon as you enter is wonderful, you really feel like you are in a magical wonderland.
The park is filled with plenty of rides and attractions for all ages, although there are height limits on some rides, so you need to check those beforehand. There are also various shows to break it up throughout the day and lots of themed restaurants and cafes, which the kids absolutely loved.
One thing we particularly liked is that because it is one of the smallest Disney parks in the world, you don’t need as long as many days to visit. You can easily visit on a day trip or, if you have time, a couple of days. In fact, we visited on a day trip while in Hong Kong with a short layover.
Don’t be fooled though, the park is still quite big and you will walk a lot during your visit if you want to see and do everything!
Being in Hong Kong where the language spoken is Chinese, is not an issue at all either; it was actually pretty cool hearing the characters speak in a different language. There is signage in both English and Chinese, and all staff are bilingual, so there is no language barrier.
Ocean Park Hong Kong
Suggested by Marianne from Mum on the Move
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s oldest theme park, and is a favourite family day out for Hong Kong residents and bus-loads of tourists who arrive daily.
Ocean Park Hong Kong is not your average theme park, but rather part-zoo, part-aquarium, part-theme park. The Grand Aquarium has loads of sea creatures to fascinate children – from hammerhead sharks, to stingrays and manta rays, starfish and lionfish to jellyfish and turtles. Then there are penguins, walruses, sea lions and seals to admire, plus everyone’s favourites – the Giant Pandas.
The other main focus of Ocean Park is the roller coasters and thrill rides. There are rides for everyone – from the carousel and frog-hopper for the little ones to the floorless Hair Raiser roller coaster that sends you looping and plunging at 88km/h for the really fearless.
But one of the biggest treats of Ocean Park for many visitors to Hong Kong is the cable car. Ocean Park is divided into two sections – the Summit, which is literally built on the top of a mountain, and the Waterfront. The most fun way to get between the two sections is to ride the Cable Car, which also has some of the best views of the south side of Hong Kong Island.
Learn more about visiting Ocean Park, and Hong Kong’s other main family attraction Hong Kong Disneyland in this episode of the City Travel with Kids Podcast.
Suggested by Brodi from Our Offbeat Life
My family spent six months living next to Legoland Malaysia. We had the annual pass for all three parts of the park – theme park, aquarium, and water park – and went several times a week. We absolutely loved it and recommend it to families of all ages.
Legoland Malaysia offers over 40 rides as well as several live-performance stages and an indoor 4D movie theater. The water park has several play structures for various ages as well as water slides. The aquarium has over 13,000 creatures living in it.
What some people don’t know is that Legoland also offers educational opportunities through Lego play, from robotics classes to trial-and-error physics learning by building Lego race cars.
Most of the activities at the park are geared toward kids 3-12. However, younger kids as well as adults can still have a lot of fun at Legoland Malaysia.
The best place to stay near Legoland Malaysia is the park’s onsite hotel. It is also Lego-themed and offers a wide variety of unique Lego experiences exclusive to the hotel. We stayed there for my son’s 8th birthday in 2020 and absolutely loved it!
Other great areas to stay nearby Legoland Malaysia include Medini, Eco Botanic, and Puteri Harbour. Medini is within walking distance of the theme park, while the other two areas are just a few kilometers away. Visitors can easily and affordably take a Grab car if they don’t have a car to drive themselves.
Warner Bros Movie World, Gold Coast, Australia
Suggested by Holly from Four Around the World
Warner Bros Movie World on the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s best theme parks for families with rides, shows and attractions suitable for all ages.
There are plenty of thrills to be had at Warner Bros Movie World, from the adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters to the very slow-paced kids’ rides. We loved visiting the park even when our kids were toddlers, knowing there was still so much they could enjoy and even more as they get older and can do more of the rides.
Movie World is a great choice for families with older kids and teenagers who love thrill rides, with some of the biggest and fastest rollercoasters in Queensland, including the DC Rivals Hypercoaster.
Younger kids will love meeting their favorite DC superheroes or Looney Tunes characters, with appearances and plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day. Watch Batman and Robin take down the bad guys or join a dance party with Bugs Bunny.
The Star Parade is another memorable moment for younger kids. All the characters make their way down Main Street in their impressive floats. The parade is towards the end of the day and the perfect way to wind down your visit.
The Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 show is a must-see and even our younger kids loved seeing the cars drift around at crazy speeds!
There is plenty of great family accommodation on the Gold Coast. Our favourite for Movieworld is Big 4 Gold Coast Holiday Park, just across the highway. It has an impressive waterpark for summer stays!
Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Australia
Suggested by Leah from Kid Bucket List
Theme parks don’t need to be just about movie characters and adrenaline rides. In country Australia, the city of Ballarat has created the most amazing 19th-century immersive theme park, which brings the history of the gold rush era to life.
“Sovereign Hill” is a fascinating place that boasts close to half a million visitors a year – pretty impressive for a country town.
Throughout the park, women and men dressed in period costumes wander the streets and direct visitors to the different attractions around the site. You can create candles with a candlestick maker, go to school and be taught by a 19th-century schoolmistress, or ride the Cobb & Co. Wagon, which was used to deliver gold, mail, and all other types of items around Australia. You can also pan for gold, shoot a musket and make a horseshoe or two.
If adventure and adrenaline are something you favour, you can take a mine tour which will spirit you deep below Sovereign Hill for a unique underground experience. Yes, you will be literally metres below the site in an underground mine!
Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, UAE
Keri from Abu Dhabi Travel Planner
Ever thought about visiting the largest indoor theme park in the world? Yas Island, Abu Dhabi is where you’ll find this indoor sensation in the desert.
Featuring 29 rides and interactive attractions, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi is found in two halves; turn left to explore Metropolis and Gotham City, or right enjoy Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Cartoon Junction.
The world’s all meet at Warner Bros Plaza, where you can enjoy stage shows, dining, and “Cinema Spectacular.” There’s a wonderful variety of rides from mini coasters to simulators, Scooby’s Haunted House, a log ride with the Flintstones, and crowd favourite, the Riddler Revolution.
Warner Bros Plaza is a great central meeting point to eat but there are also themed restaurants dotted all over the park | Supplied by WB World
We love how interactive the cast are here with the children and the vast variety of rides and attractions on offer – all in air conditioned comfort to deal with the desert heat!
If you’re visiting over a popular holiday, it’s wise to invest in the Flash Pass to help skip the lines. However, visit on a school term weekday, and it’s the type of place you can almost have to yourself queue free!
Your kids will get a thrill out of staying at the neighboring WB Hotel Abu Dhabi, wonderfully themed throughout and also immediately accessible to Yas Waterworld, one of the region’s leading family water parks.
Motiongate Dubai, UAE
Brad from Family Travel in the Middle East
Sitting as part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex on the outskirts of Dubai city, Motiongate is a real surprise packet of a theme park. Hollywood inspired, the park covers rides and shows themed around Dreamworks characters, the Smurfs, Lionsgate (think Hunger Games) and Columbia Pictures (Ghostbusters, Hotel Transylvania).
Character meet and greets at Dreamworks, Motiongate Dubai
Set partial indoors and partially out to deal with the year-round heat in the desert, this has quickly become our kids’ favorite theme park in Dubai.
Our favorite section is the entirely indoor DreamWorks boasting rides and attractions from animated classics Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, and Shrek. Enjoy not just rides but stage shows, training camps, and meet and greets.
Since opening in 2016, they’ve constantly added more thrilling rides to the park, making it the most appealing Dubai theme park for your older kids and thrill-seekers. The world’s fastest spinning roller coaster can be found here, the Capital Bullet Train and Madagascar Mad Pursuit, all ready to take your breath away.
Within the same park complex as Motiongate, you can also double down on your theme park fun in Dubai as it’s also home to Bollywood Dubai, Legoland Dubai, and Legoland Dubai Water Park. Stay onsite at the Legoland Dubai Hotel or Lapita Resort, both within Dubai Parks and Resorts.
You can find all the best Dubai theme parks for families compared over here!
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This post was originally published in 2016 and was republished in 2022 with new ideas and contributors. Always check any park rules and possible changes to rides and shows that may be described here before visiting. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links to our ticket booking partners; if a qualifying purchase is made, we make a commission.
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