Of all the amusement parks within striking distance of Washington, D.C., Six Flags America, in Upper Marlboro, MD, is probably the best for small children. It’s also the only one you can visit without a car.
Young kids will enjoy riding on a swing carousel, sliding down waterslides, driving bumper cars, climbing around the Looney Tunes Prop Warehouse, hopping nearly two stories on Sylvester’s Pounce and Bounce, or riding a full-sized locomotive around the park. There are also plenty of tame rides and roller coasters for those just getting a taste for adrenaline, and a giant wave pool to cool off.
Older kids and grown-ups can try one of eight full-tilt roller coasters, including one that rockets you from a standing start to 60 m.p.h. in barely three seconds, one with a drop of more than 200 feet, and the Wild One, a classic wooden coaster that first went into service in 1917. You can also drive go-karts or, for an extra fee, brave the Skycoaster, which hauls you more than 100 feet in the air on steel cables, then lets you fall and swing free.
Buy your tickets online in advance (at www.sixflags.com/america) for a discount.
Six Flags America
Hours: The main portion of the park operates on weekends from mid-April through late May, then seven days a week until Labor Day, with weekends continuing through October. The water park is only open from late May through Labor Day. On most days during the summer, the park is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the water rides opening a half hour later and closing an hour earlier. But many days have shorter hours, especially early and late in the year, so check www.sixflags.com/america before you go.
Admission: General Admission $61.99. Guest under 48” $42.99. Kids 2 and younger, free.
Metrorail: Blue Line to the Addison Road/Seat Pleasant stop. Transfer to the C21 Bus and exit in front of Six Flags.
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