When planning our family vacations I learned from experience from our last adventure to Texas. I did not want to spend more than six to eight hours on the road. For this well earned and highly anticipated vacation the ultimate destination was San Antonio. Instead of driving straight through to Dallas from Denver like we did last year (we have family there) we decided to stop in Amarillo. I was hopeful that a little amusement park called Wonderland Park nestled in the small town would be a nice diversion while on the way to Alamo City.
Wonderland Park turned out to be a highlight on a vacation filled with fun experiences. We arrived to the park on Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. and discovered that in 30 minutes there would be a special. Instead of the normal admission fee we could each get in for only ten dollars. So we went and got a quick dinner and came back. I still wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pretty certain there would be enough fun behind the gates to justify the cheap price.
The rides are fantastic. There are a total of three coasters you can ride with the unlimited ride stamp. Two of the three are fantastic and the other one is decent. The Cyclone is a wild ride. Possessing slingshot curves and unruly dips you feel you are going to fly right off the tracks. The second one was even better. Simply titled Big Coaster it easily makes up in fun for the lackluster name bestowed it. I was screaming like a teenager at a Jonas Brothers concert! Neither coaster looks like its going to be exciting but when you begin the ride you soon learn looks can be deceiving. The Hornet is the least impressive of the three but surely fun to ride with a younger child. One who isn’t looking for significant adrenaline rushes quite yet.
The selection of kiddie rides is more than ample. There is a respectable train ride which takes you in a loop around the front half of the park. The train toots its horn which delighted my three year old daughter Natalie. From the merry-go-round which seems significantly faster than most I have been on to boats which follow a circular pattern and provide a nice cow bell to ring, the park provides nicely for the young crowd. There are also other calm rides which aren’t technically kiddie rides but are appropriate for the preschool age group. is a ski-lift type ride making a run over the front half of the park. I am not very comfortable on ski-lifts due to a completely irrational phobia but for most its fun. The other members of my family rode it several times. There is a river rapid ride which doesn’t splash or bounce you around too much.
The park also offers all the usual amusements found in such a park. You can smack people around in the bumper cars, twirl high in the air on a swing and rock back and forth on a pirate ship. My eight year old Kassidy especially loved The Himalaya. Orbiting around a disco ball at top speed to a soundtrack of loud rock music, random blasts of horns and the emcee controller yelling “Do you want to go faster?” she thought this rowdy ride was a blast!
There are three rides which aren’t included on the price of the unlimited rides stamp. The first is The Fantastic Journey. It’s a haunted house where you and your companion travel in a little bucket seat on wheels and get rolled through a shop of horrors. The ride contains some great optical illusions, fun little set ups and a few jump scares which catch you off guard but won’t give the grade school kids nightmares. This was my favorite. Another one is a double loop rollercoaster called Texas Tornado. Painted patriotically in red, white and blue my husband loved this ride. I didn’t get a chance to ride it but he definitely enjoyed it. My husband thought it was especially cool at night! My eight year old thought it was a little intense because there isn’t a shoulder harness like on the newer loop rides so she felt a little scared. The final one is the Drop of Fear. My husband got to ride this one and thought it was fun enough. It elevates you to the top, gives you a minute to check out the scenery and then plummets you to the bottom. These three rides require tickets which are $1.50 a piece.
All this fun is further accentuated by the fact food prices are reasonable, lines move pretty quick and most of the money sucking activities you find in the bigger parks are pleasantly absent. No one is offering to take my picture and then charge me a hundred dollars for an 8×10. People aren’t barking at me to spend my money on games and I was able to just enjoy the time with my family. My youngest is in a wheelchair and I felt for such a small park with rides built a long time ago it was overall pretty wheelchair friendly.
So if you are going through Texas and need to stop somewhere I sincerely and adamantly encourage you to rest your laurels in Amarillo and check out this fun, economical and family friendly park.