Find a Theme Park

Theme parks come in a variety of flavors, from old-fashioned amusement parks to space-age experiences. At BucketTripper, we feature theme parks that are perennial visitor favorites, and we’ll try to show you how to “do them right.” Note: With animal theme parks, we take a close look at the purpose of the facility and how animals are housed and treated. Our editor recently stayed at a hotel that housed a baby tiger in a glass enclosure in the middle of a hotel lobby — needless to say, we’re NOT covering that kind of a property. We know keeping animals in captivity for human enjoyment is a controversial subject. But where we find animal themed parks that seem to have their heart in the right place, with a conservation, rescue, or education mission, we’ll share those places with you.

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Theme Parks: The Bucket List


Old Orchard Beach Maine (Photo copyright Stillman Rogers)

Riding the Carousel at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach

Has the merry-go-round at Old Orchard Beach shrunk? I’m sure the horses used to be bigger, so tall that my father had to boost me up to mount them. Apart from the size of the carousel, it’s just like I remember, though – maybe cleaner and not quite so tacky, ...
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Viewing Atlantis (NASA/Kennedy Space Center)

On a Mission with Space Shuttle Atlantis

Every morning, I wake up looking at a Space Shuttle, a career space worker by my side. The model reminds John of his 33 years with the program. Where we dine with his parents, photographs of launches and astronauts grace the walls. When the sheriff's car goes past, the logo ...
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The working grist mill at Dollywood was built by hand to resemble mills in the 19th century. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Immersing in Smoky Mountain Culture at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

I admit it, I was wrong. I thought Dollywood, the theme park in the Tennessee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, would be a cheesy tribute to the buxom, big-haired blond country singer and movie star. I imagined over-the-top caricatures and cutouts everywhere—Dolly ad nauseam. Nope. While there is a small section devoted ...
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Big Thunder Mountain Railway (photo by John Keatley)

Riding Rollercoasters at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Slipping into the skinny seat of the shuttlecraft at Space Mountain, I kept hearing the voice echoing throughout the noisy room. "Shuttle preparing for launch. Shuttle preparing for launch." In 1975, the year Space Mountain opened, my sisters and I - kids, then - waited for more than an hour ...
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Macaws rescued from illegal trafficking in Bolivia (©Coen Wubbels)

Taking a Break at Biocentro Güembé in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

"Another Inca ruin?" "Again so many hours in a bus?" "Can't we go swimming somewhere?" "More markets? I want to go swimming! Please!" I don't have kids but I can imagine this being a frequent scene between kids and parents on vacation (or maybe it's a memory of my own childhood vacations…). Bolivia is ...
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Driving Nascar

NASCAR Driving at Walt Disney World, Florida

It had been at least 15 years since I’d driven a stick shift but when offered the chance to take the wheel of a NASCAR race car -- provided I knew my way around a manual transmission -- I signed on. Driving is like riding a bike, right? And I'm ...
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