The 8 best amusement parks for families in 2017 named

Nothing says 'memorable family vacation' quite like a trip to an amusement park.

Whether it is gorging on funnel cakes, bobbing along on a gorgeous painted pony or screaming on seemingly death-defying rollercoasters, memories made at theme parks will last a lifetime.

Despite being one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families, sometimes it is tricky to find parks that cater to both adrenaline junkies and more gentle visitors.

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor's family travel site, released its 2017 list of the Best Amusement Parks for Families just in time for school getting out for the summer.

The amusement parks that Family Vacation Critic selected as their top picks this year not only are appropriate for all ages, but also have brand-new attractions so they feel totally fresh, even if you are a seasoned park-goer.

Perhaps most notable is the website's nod to Six Flags, which is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across the United States this summer, including many DC Comics-themed attractions. 'Wonder Woman' fans in Sacramento will be able to ride on her Lasso of Truth -- a swinging pendulum that leaves passengers breathlessly soaring through the sky. Meanwhile, park-goers in Atlanta can join the Justice League to take down baddies with laser guns in a battle for Metropolis.

Click below to see the top parks for families, and hear about the new rides and food options sure to delight even the most experienced thrill-seekers:

18 PHOTOS
The best amusement parks for families in 2017, according to Family Vacation Critic
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The best amusement parks for families in 2017, according to Family Vacation Critic

· Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)

What’s New: Cedar Point Shores, an 18-acre waterpark located along Lake Erie with 17 water attractions for all ages, VIP cabanas, restaurants, shopping and live entertainment.

Photo Credit: Cedar Point

· Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)

What’s New: Cedar Point Shores, an 18-acre waterpark located along Lake Erie with 17 water attractions for all ages, VIP cabanas, restaurants, shopping and live entertainment.

Photo Credit: Cedar Point

·  Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)

What’s New: Drop Line, a 230-foot tall drop tower, with a spinning gondola that offers riders a breathtaking view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Also joining the park in 2017 is Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster positioned as a great first-coaster for younger park visitors.

Photo Credit: Dollywood

·  Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)

What’s New: Drop Line, a 230-foot tall drop tower, with a spinning gondola that offers riders a breathtaking view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Also joining the park in 2017 is Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster positioned as a great first-coaster for younger park visitors.

Photo Credit: Dollywood

·         Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)

What’s New: Hershey Triple Tower offers three drop towers for park guests to choose from – Hershey’s Tower, the tallest at 189-feet high; Reese’s Tower, is the second tallest at 131-feet high; and Hershey’s Kisses Tower standing at 80-feet tall.

Photo Credit: Hersheypark

         Kings Island (Mason, OH)

What’s New: Mystic Timbers, a 3,265-foot long wooden coaster with a 48” height requirement – making it an ideal coaster for riders of various ages.

Photo Credit: Kings Island

         Kings Island (Mason, OH)

What’s New: Mystic Timbers, a 3,265-foot long wooden coaster with a 48” height requirement – making it an ideal coaster for riders of various ages.

Photo Credit: Kings Island

Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO)

What’s New: New Silver Dollar Food Days run from July 31 – August 20, highlighting favorite festival foods like funnel cakes, kettle corn and milkshakes, and taking them to new levels.

Photo Credit: Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO)

What’s New: New Silver Dollar Food Days run from July 31 – August 20, highlighting favorite festival foods like funnel cakes, kettle corn and milkshakes, and taking them to new levels.

Photo Credit: Silver Dollar City

Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL)

What’s New: For guests visiting the park, plan a trip to Universal Orlando Resort’s newest water theme park, Volcano Bay – a 25-acre park featuring 18 unique attractions including a wave pool, winding river, raft rides, body slides and more.


Photo Credit: ©2017 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL)

What’s New: For guests visiting the park, plan a trip to Universal Orlando Resort’s newest water theme park, Volcano Bay – a 25-acre park featuring 18 unique attractions including a wave pool, winding river, raft rides, body slides and more.


Photo Credit: ©2017 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Universal Studios (Hollywood, CA and Orlando, FL)

What’s New: Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon brings guests a simulated race through New York City – a history of The Tonight Show, Hashtag the Panda and the Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet also join in the fun.


Photo Credit: ©2017 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Six Flags (Nationwide)

What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.

Photo Credit: Six Flags

Six Flags (Nationwide)

What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.

Photo Credit: Six Flags

Six Flags (Nationwide)

What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.

Photo Credit: Six Flags

Six Flags (Nationwide)

What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.

Photo Credit: Six Flags

Six Flags (Nationwide)

What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.

Photo Credit: Six Flags

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