A personal review of Dutch Wonderland
in Lancaster PA
In the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country is an
oasis of fun for kids. Our family loves amusement parks
with one of our all time favorite parks being the family
friendly Knoebels in
Elysburg PA. We also love the
Lancaster area and visit
the region throughout the year. We decided that when our
youngest child was old enough, she will be turned 2 years old
this summer, we were going to visit Dutch Wonderland. We
had read a variety of reviews on the web about the park, which
is currently owned and operated by Hershey Entertainment and
Resorts Company, the same company that runs Hershey Park in
Pennsylvania. Dutch Wonderland's motto "A Kingdom for
Kids" is quite appropriate as the park is without a doubt geared
for young kids between the ages of about 2 years to about the
end of the pre-teen years. Our visit was very enjoyable
with little to complain about. The park is clean with
plentiful quality rides, food was good and reasonably priced and
parking was free. Another big bonus was there were plenty of
trees in the park to provide shade on our hot sunny day.
Guests are greeted to the park by a grand, stone
castle-like entrance, complete with a moat, which has been the
original entrance since it was built by Earl Clark, the
original park owner, just prior to open the grand opening in
1963. To the left of
the castle is a pond with a mountain towering above it where
Duke, a purple dragon lives. Admission was reasonable compared to most parks
with the cost at about $30 per person over 2 years old.
From the perspective of a kid, Dutch
Wonderland is like visiting a fairytale land. Very
colorful and entertaining. From a parents perspective,
it is enjoyable. The park is not exceptionally huge
with long walks to get around to all the rides. Its is
fairly compact, which is good for the younger children.
Dutch Wonderland has 34 rides and lots of games,
most of which are geared towards younger children. Our
kids loved just about all of the rides that they went on.
We were there on a Saturday and there was a considerable number
of people but lines were not long so we were able get around and
go on plenty of rides. Most of the ride are able to allow
parents on as well so it worked out with our 2 year old on rides
that we had to stay with her. A few notable rides that our
kids loved included the Double Splash Flume, the two
side-by-side Fun Slides, the Joust Rollercoaster, the Monster
Trucks, and Jessica's favorite, the merry-go-round or "the
horsies" as she calls them. They also had ponies of the
real variety where kids could get a guided ride around on.
The train ride was a really nice ride around the park on an open
canopy , old-time style miniature steam locomotive. The
Monorail as well as the sky ride give riders a view from above
of all the parks rides and attractions.
We also liked the old-time gas powered cars
that kids can steer, through they are guided by a rail.
I do have to say that the loading area should be better
ventilated because those old cars and their idling engines
really stink up the waiting line area. Someone
sensitive to fumes might want to pass on this one if there
isn't much of a breeze blowing.
The water park, named Duke's Lagoon, is also
very much a kids water paradise with plenty of playground
structures complete with water sprayers, water geysers and
huge bucket dumps that will keep the kids cool on a hot day.
The flooring of the water playground area is a rubber
matting material that is not only serves as padding but
reduces the potential to slip (good for parents too!).
There's a few food stands in the water area as well as a
changing area with lockers. The water seems to be
loaded with chlorine, which I guess is a good thing
considering some of the kids are wearing diapers.
Kingdom Coaster is one of two roller coasters in
the park with Joust being the other . This rollercoaster is
probably the most "adult-like" ride in the park. Built in
1992, this is a wooden rollercoaster painted blue and uses a
single train. There are no huge drops, there isn't
much air-time, nor is it a very rough ride, which makes it
suitable for children tall enough to ride. Our 6 year old
rode the Kingdom Coaster and did just fine. For the
adults, this is a mild but fun coaster. The monorail runs
through the structure of the coaster. When we rode the
monorail, we were in the front car with the monorail's driver.
He was telling us interesting things about the park and the
monorail. Near the coaster, he slowed the monorail allowing the Kingdom Coaster to pass
by us with a roar. That was neat. Up until 2007,
this coaster was named the Sky Princess.
Shows at Dutch
Kids love a show. We saw several, which
were quite entertaining. We saw the Thomas and Friends
Live show which was located right next to the loading station
for the train ride. We also caught some of the Bubba Bear
and the Badlands Band, which was an animated full-sized puppet
show; animatronics I think they consider this type of
presentation. But the big show that we highly recommend to
anyone going to Dutch Wonderland is "The Adventures of the Frog
Prince". This is a a high-dive water show that is not only
entertaining in theatrics but stunning in the sport of diving
and especially high-diving. Make sure you are aware of the
Another notable is the The Royal Rompers;
a roving horn band that plays tunes and involves their
audience in games and fun. They were very animated and
entertaining and played very well. We had fun
listening to their tunes and playing a guessing game. Later
the lead person in the band walked by us and gave us a
familiar "Hi" and node showing that he remembered our
earlier participation in the fun. This sort of thing
is nice to see and shows that the employees actually enjoy
what they are doing. It seems like a small thing, but
its memorable and we appreciated that.
We ate at a few places in the park including
their delicious Kettle Popcorn, Turkey Hill Ice Cream and fresh
cut French Fries. For lunch we had planned to pack a good
lunch and kept it out in the van in an ice cooler. Dutch
Wonderland will not allow you to bring food or drink into the
park, although they do provide a picnic area with a large
pavilion just outside of the park. You can get hand
stamped allowing you to re-enter the park.
The only complaint that I had was that there are
no water fountains to be found in the park except for some at a
bathroom in the middle of the park. The employees couldn't
help me find any fountains. The employees I talked to
assumed there wasn't any. I just happen to find a few at a
bathroom. There may have been more but that's all we saw.
My guess is they'd rather you buy water or something to drink
rather than give it away. But that was a minor complaint.
Otherwise we had a great time and enjoyed our first visit to
Dutch wonderland very much. The park is clean, the rides
are well maintained and the shows were great. Overall it's
good fun for kids and enjoyable for adults and worth returning
to next year! Enjoy our Pictures
of Dutch Wonderland and thanks for reading our review!