Darien Lake Amusement Park is a popular destination especially for families in New York with 45 attractions, a 10-acre water park, and live entertainment options.
As a child, I went to Darien Lake Amusement Park often and have many wonderful memories of our trips there. So, when I got the chance to go again with my Mom and two children, I said, “Yes!” Not only did I want to relive a bit of my childhood with my kids, but I also wanted to know if it was just as much fun as I remembered it being.
For those of you unfamiliar with Darien Lake Amusement Park, it’s a popular destination for families, especially in New York. It has over 45 attractions and a 10-acre water park along with a variety of live entertainment options. Needless to say, it’s a fun day trip for you to take with your family.
There are plenty of ways to measure the success of a summer outing. Everyone’s opinion will differ. But, I like to judge a venue or attraction based upon the way my children responded to it. Our trip provided us with grins from ear-to-ear, lots of happy memories, and two sleeping children in the backseat of my car on the ride home. In my book, that’s a great way to spend the day with my kids.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Darien Lake Amusement Park, keep reading. I’ve gathered up a bunch of information for you to help you plan your trip.
Darien Lake Amusement Park
Before you go, check out your options on getting discounted tickets. This year, Darien Lake ran a promotion where adult tickets were the same admission price as the kid tickets. They also ran some specials on park admission if you were attending one of the summer concerts held there. There are also discounts available if you buy your tickets online or at certain local stores like TOPS.
In general, admission to Darien Lake Amusement Park can be considered a great value because it covers both the amusement park rides and the water park rides. But, unless you’re a Season Pass Holder, be prepared to pay for parking once you arrive.
One Day or Two?
If you have elementary age kids like I do, you could break the trip up into two days. Walking the entire park, waiting on lines, and enjoying the rides takes a toll on little kids. Next time, I would do the amusement park one day and Splashtown the next day.
If you are traveling with young kids, it might just give you enough reason to stay overnight at their campground or hotel. There are definitely deals to be had if you plan to stay and play more than one day.
If your kids are older, they can probably do it all in one day – just get there when it opens. It’s also a good idea to do the water park side first thing in the day because everyone heads over there in the afternoon. This way, you’ll ride all of the water rides with minimal wait times, and if your kids are sweating on the amusement park side in the afternoon, they can just jump on the wet rides.
If you’re planning to go more than once, it might make sense to get a Season Pass. Season Pass Holders gets free parking and are also eligible for pre-sale ticket offers for select Live Nation shows prior to the pre-sale date.
Our Favorite Rides
There are many classic rides that are still there from my childhood, including The Viper, a 35-year-old roller coaster that is not for the faint at heart!
In terms of Family Rides, there are plenty: Lasso (aka flying swings), the Sleighride (a music ride that goes forward and backward), the Hornet’s Nest (fliers that they could maneuver themselves), and of course, Bear Valley Bumper Buggies (aka bumper cars). One of my favorite rides is actually one of the slowest; the Tin Lizzy where you drive antique cars around a track. As a Mom, I really enjoyed sharing this “old-fashioned” experience with my kids.
My children had many favorites in the Kids’ Area including Tree Stump Turnpike (cute monster truck style jeeps) and Racoon Rally (a mild version of bumper cars where the kids are the kings behind the wheel).
We walked all throughout the park and there was so much to see and do. While they were not ready or tall enough for some of the rides, they have plenty of time to grow up and become more adventurous. Note: there were plenty of rides geared at the under 48″ crowd.
Food and Beverages
This year, Darien Lake Amusement Park offered a pre-pay option for a meal plan when purchasing tickets online to help you save money on food once you are in the park, but we did not try it out.
You are also able to bring a small cooler of refreshments with you into the park. But, we decided against it in favor of being more mobile. However, this is a great option for families with young children or allergies.
On our visit, we decided to splurge on some food since it was a special day trip with Grandma. Naturally, my kids insisted on Dippin’ Dots and with 10 locations throughout the park, they could have eaten it all day long! My mom and I passed on the “sci-fi” ice cream. Instead, we shared an enormous plate of Fried Dough, just like we used to when I was a kid.
Regardless of what you want to eat, there are plenty of restaurants – both sit-down and quick-serve – throughout the park to meet your needs.
Tip: If you purchase one of their Souvenir Cups (the change each season), you will receive $1.25 refills on Pepsi products all season long throughout the entire park! Plus, they can be refilled at any Food & Beverage location. You may pay more upfront, but the park gets really hot in the summer and it’s worth it to get discounted refills.
The Water Park
By the time we enjoyed all the rides that we wanted to in the amusement park, my kids were way too exhausted to hit Splashtown, the water park. With that said, we saw many families thoroughly enjoying the rides in that section of the park. If the kids had a bit more juice in their tanks, I’m sure they would have wanted to test out Hook’s Lagoon (a kiddie water park with pirate ships and slides), Flotation Station (a lazy river ride), and Big Kahuna (a family tubing ride).
Random Things To Know
- Darien Lake Amusement Park has a concert venue that plays big-name shows all season long. There is also a hotel and RV camping site.
- For children under 48″ – your rides options are limited to approximately 5 rides or so.
- They only run one train on the rides, so wait times are long if you go during prime time hours. As with most amusement parks, it gets incredibly crowded on the weekends. If you love rides and hate lines, pick off days and times. Otherwise, be prepared to wait in line. Some of the more popular rides take up to one hour.
- In case the management of Darien Lake Amusement Park is listening, several online reviewers mentioned that the park could use a “general tidying up” and “nicer” staff. Some people noticed peeling paint, non-flushing toilets, and unmanicured walkways. Reviewers also mentioned that smoking is allowed in the park, which is a major “ICK” factor, especially since it is a family destination.
- Darien Lake Amusement Park is located at 9993 Alleghany Rd, Darien Center, NY 14036-9509.
Did I miss any tips or tricks that you would like the mention? If so, drop us a comment below and let us know what we missed!
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Did you enjoy our review of Darien Lake Amusement Park? Then check out some more of our traveling with kids adventures:
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Disclosure: Free tickets for our family of four were provided to We Know Stuff from Darien Lake Amusement Park. However, the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Darien Lake Amusement Park.