If you’re looking for a great Day trip or Staycation to take your kids on in the Northeast, look no further! Dutch Wonderland is an amusement park located near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And with a “Kingdom for Kids” theme it’s easy to see why it’s so appealing to the little ones!
It’s just a short drive from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and D.C. They’re open all summer. Plus, they’re open special weekends for Halloween & Christmas themed fun as well!
It opened in 1963, and I honestly feel a little deprived that my parents never took me here while I was little. Ever since one of my good friends told me about it, I have been dying to take my son. As soon as I heard about their “Happy Hauntings” special Halloween Weekends I started making plans! (Please be sure to check their website to confirm dates and times, as seasonally it changes.) We decided to go for a Saturday Night “Happy Haunting”. Kids (& adults) are encouraged to wear their costumes to the park. There’s lots of Halloween inspired decorations. In addition they also have a special Trick or Treat Trail for the kids!
It took us about two hours to get there, but it was a smooth ride and the perfect time to get my munchkin to nap, since he NEVER takes naps anymore! Boy was I elated when it got real quiet in the backseat. I knew he was going to need a lot of energy for all of the rides and excitement. And let’s be honest I also wanted to crank the 80’s/90’s radio station the whole ride up, so I could sing Love Is A Battlefield at the top of my lungs. He’s a heavy sleeper.
Arriving at Dutch Wonderland
When we got close to Dutch Wonderland, the first thing we noticed were all of the outlets it’s surrounded by. There are so MANY places to shop up there. If you have time to stop there it’s definitely worth it. I grabbed a couple of Christmas gifts (ok & maybe some clothes too..) There were some great deals though!
After arriving at Dutch Wonderland the parking and entrance were super easy to navigate! The less stress, the better right. We waited to get his costume on until we parked. We also just decided to buy tickets at the gate. For a very busy Halloween night, it was pleasant to see how fast and smooth all of the lines moved!
Eager to let the fun begin we pretty much jumped on the first ride we saw, which happen to be one of those, that flys up and down in the air in circles, really fast. Than in reverse. I love rides like that, but what I do know now, is that despite begging to go on it, my little munchkin does not. As soon as we got off he said “Mommy, that was fun, but let’s never do that again.” I laughed obligingly. Fortunately there really is such a GREAT variety of rides here, a little something for everyone. With the majority being geared toward the younger kids, it’s absolutely perfect!
Next, we headed toward the bumper cars, he saw kids riding them in a commercial and had been talking about it all day long. They did not disappoint. After that we decided to play a few games, so he could win some souvenirs. When we finished there, we were able to jump on the Sky Ride which took us from one side of the park to the other, while we hung up in the sky we could see everything below us and scout out all of our next stops!
The classic carousel ride, the train, the monorail, and the boat rides are always a must for us!
There are so many fun, unique rides too. Plus, shows and appearances by all of the Royal friends (The Princess, The Dragon, Merlin, & The Knight.) We did spot Duke the Dragon & my little man was beyond thrilled!
Dinner & the Trick or Treat Trail
We were also starving! Luckily, there are tons of delicious food places to choose from. Everything from small food stands to a big buffet. We opted for the buffet because of the variety!
After grabbing some dinner, we headed over to the Trick or Treat Trail. For Halloween they set up a place in the park with multiple stops for the kids to trick or treat at. This year it was in the prehistoric area and they dressed up their dinosaurs as popular movie characters. The person handing out candy was in a corresponding costume. My son got so excited to see who each one would be. Like a typical four year old he loved the costune choices : Frozen , Star Wars, Nemo, & don’t even get me started on the Minions, they made his night!
He had fun collecting his candy & I had fun eating all of the Reese’s cups later that night at the hotel ;). We could’ve driven home, but we decided to turn it into a staycation instead. There are lots of hotel choices within the vicinity of the park. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites literally across the street. We went for a dip in their pool & than ordered pizza to our room for a late night snack before calling it a night.
We had an awesome weekend & are definitely going back up soon! Plus, in November & December they have a “Winter Wonderland” with all kinds of fun including the Royal lights show and a meet and greet with Santa!