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Amusement Parks: Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom – a Potted History

Related: Austin Zoo / Wild West City / Wonder World Park / Waldameer and Water World

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom is a combined amusement park and water park located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The amusement park is one of the most popular on the USA’s East Coast, in part due to its geographical proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia which are both less than 90 miles away.

The amusement park’s history and its name dates back to 1860 when Solomon Dorney decided to build a summer resort and a trout hatchery upon his estate. By the 1880s, he had introduced playground rides, a few mechanical rides, gardens, picnic groves, a hotel and restaurant, refreshment stands and even a small zoo to the amusement park.

The amusement park also had its own swimming pool from 1900 to 1963.

1983 would mark a turning point for the amusement park when much of it was destroyed in a major fire but not to be put off and with the amusement park officially celebrating its centenary year in 1984, all of the rides were replaced and other attractions were added. So much so that the increased value of the amusement park meant that it was valued high enough to sell and was bought by Harris Weinstein in 1985.

Mr Weinstein also decided to expand the size of the amusement park by also buying the neighbouring racetrack which had previously been used as a NASCAR track once a year and with this, it was decided that it was the right time for swimming to be re-introduced to the amusement park, hence the opening of Wildwater Kingdom water park in 1985.

Even greater and more ambitious attractions such as several rollercoasters were added over the following few years to the point where the amusement park would be sold on again in 1992 to the Cedar Fair corporation.

Today, the amusement park continues to get bigger and better with more attractions constantly being added. Thrill rides at the amusement park include Hydra: The Revenge, Meteor, Possessed, Steel Force, Thunderhawk and Talon and, in 2010, the latest thrill ride made its debut at the amusement park called Demon Drop.

The Wildwater Kingdom water park has 22 water slides ranging from high octane thrill rides to gentler ones for younger children. There are three aquatic playlands for kids, two tubing rivers, two wave pools and a water fun house as well as many other attractions.

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