Dutch Wonderland is a 48-acre amusement park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It is truly a “Kingdom For Kids” with over 35 fun filled rides, attractions, games, and shows. The park is designed for smaller children so it has been a perfect fit for my family the past few years. My daughters talk about it all year long; it is that special and memorable to them! We visited for our third time on Monday and as always had so much fun!
One of the reasons I love Dutch Wonderland is because the park is small and easily manageable with young children. I have found that less is actually more with little ones. Here kids can walk the entire park and won’t complain that their legs are tired and demand a piggy-back ride. We have always visited on a Monday and the lines and wait times are zero to minimal. Kids are much happier when not having to wait in lines! You can even stay on a ride for several rounds if there is no one in line, which is common here! Weekends are more crowded but you would most likely never wait more than 20-25 minutes at most for the top attractions. And even though it is small, we still never do everything in one visit!
This was Teddy’s first time on the rides and he was amazed! When we visited last summer, he was only 9 months old so he was just watching his big sisters and taking it all in! There are many toddler rides at Dutch Wonderland; some you can go on with them and others they can ride by themselves. These were Teddy’s favorites (he is 20 months old): Duke’s Dozers (pictured above), Panda Party (pictured below), Merry-go-Round, Leapin’ Frogs, Balloon Chase, Turtle Whirl, and Off-Road Rally.
We went on rides for a couple of hours; with no lines, you can do a lot in a short amount of time! My girls favorites were Merlin’s Mayhem, Pipeline Plunge, Kingdom Coaster, Frog Hopper, and Kite Flight. Then we caught “The Adventures of the Frog Prince” show in the Aqua Stadium. There are diving boards and platforms high atop the castle where the performers do quite impressive jumps and dives into the pool down below. Kids can also meet the characters after the show.
After the show, my kids were ready for lunch so we grabbed a bite to eat from one of the food stands (there are many located all around the park). They offer all the typical amusement park fare: pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, soft pretzels, ice cream, etc. They also offer salads and healthier sandwich options at the Bean Sprout cafe. You are not allowed to bring in picnic lunches but you could keep it in a cooler in your car and eat outside the park in the picnic pavilion.
After lunch, we went to Duke’s Lagoon to cool off in the water! I recommend paying a little extra for preferred parking that is right in front of the entrance to the park. So then it makes it super easy to run out to your car to get your pool bag. There are changing rooms and bathrooms located in Duke’s Lagoon where you can put on your bathing suits and flip flops. Make sure to bring water shoes or flip flops for everyone in your family if you plan on going down the two big slides as they are required. If you happen to forget, they do sell flip flops in the store located just across from the water slides.
Duke’s Lagoon also has a few smaller slides for kids around the ages of 2-7. There is no pool, so you don’t have to bring floatation devices. It is more of a splash park type set up with spray nozzles, jets, tipping buckets, etc. There is plenty of seating including chairs and tables with umbrellas. You can also rent your own personal cabana if you wish.
Dutch Wonderland is about a 2 hour drive from the DC area, so it makes for an easy day trip. There are many options for accommodations nearby as well, if you wanted to stay a night or two. They also offer a “park preview”, so your tickets are valid for the last 3 operating hours the night before your planned full day visit. We are already looking forward to visiting again next summer!