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Amusement Parks: Dutch Wonderland – a Potted History

Related: Living Desert Zoo and Gardens  / Gulf World Marine Park  / Monterey Bay Aquarium / San Francisco Zoo

Dutch Wonderland is a small amusement park aimed primarily at families with young children which is located just east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The amusement park originally opened back in 1963 and was the brainchild of a potato farmer named Earl Clark. In fact, the impressive stone castle facade at the entrance to the amusement park was built by Earl himself. 

Since 2001, the amusement park has been owned and run by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts to whom the Clark family sold it.

Rides at the amusement park include Dutch Wonder House which is a swing ride with a difference in that the entire house revolves around the riders which creates a rather eerie effect. There’s the Wiggle Racers which are scooters that race around a track that also features a cave and a maze. There’s also the Double Splash Flume with 2 drops – a lower one at the beginning building up to a much higher drop towards the end. Other rides include the Turtle Whirl and the Twister and the amusement park’s Lady Gay Riverboat will also take you on a short cruise around a man-made island.

In addition to family friendly rides at the amusement park, visitors can enjoy a number of shows, including Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, The Adventures of the Frog Prince and Bubba Beat and the Badlands Band. There are also other several other interactive shows where visitors can get involved with singing, dancing and storytelling.

The amusement park owners also operate the Old Mill Steam Campground which is within a short walk of the amusement park so visitors who want to stay in the area a day or two to experience this fascinating area of Pennsylvania country are well catered for. 

It also operates the Gift House at Kitchen Kettle Village where you can buy a variety of books, souvenirs and Pennsylvania Dutch crafts. There’s also the Wonderland Mini-Golf and this year (2010), each visitor to the amusement park is also entitled to one free round of mini-golf which you can redeem on the same day or on a future visit to the amusement park.

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