Family Fun at Six Flags Great Escape

{We received complimentary tickets to the park.  All opinions are my own.}

Summer isn’t complete for me without a visit to an amusement park!  On our recent trip upstate, we surprised the kids with a visit to Six Flags Great Escape. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the largest amusement park company in the world and Six Flags Great Escape is their only New York theme park.  The park is an approximately 2 1/2 to three hour drive from my house in northern Westchester County.

It was a beautiful day for us to visit the park.  When we arrived near the 10:30 AM opening,  I was surprised to discover that it would cost us $20 to park, which I found to be a bit on the expensive side.  From the parking lot, it’s a short walk over a street overpass to get to the amusement park.

There are eight different areas in the park, including water park Splashwater Kingdom and International Village, the main shopping area.  Great Escape was formerly Storytown USA, and many of the historic icons are still in the park, including Cinderella’s Castle and the Pink Whale.

Even on a hot summer day, the park was crowded but didn’t feel especially so.  None of the ride lines were exceptionally long.  Great Escape is truly a family-friendly amusement park.  There are rides for everyone with Timbertown and Kidzopolis geared towards little kids and more than five roller coasters for thrill seekers.

My son loved riding all of the roller coasters and Flashback, a forward and backward looping coaster, was his favorite ride of the day.  My daughter, a fellow coaster lover, chose Steamin’ Demon, a multi-loop coaster pictured in the title photo of this post, as her favorite ride.

I have to say that Great Escape has some of the most fun ride operators that I’ve seen at an amusement park.  One of  my favorite rides was Marshal’s Stampede, the bumper car ride. Sassy, the ride operator, cheered the riders on: “Great bump #10!” and helping those who were “stuck”, directing them to turn their steering wheel.  Her upbeat attitude really helped “make” the ride.

I was really looking forward to trying out Acrophobia VR, the park’s newest ride.  It was scheduled to open in July, but wasn’t yet running during our visit.

Around 2 PM we started to get hungry and decided to eat lunch.  Since we were in Fest Area, we chose to eat at the Alpine Fest Haus. Even at a later time, this place was pretty crowded.  We opted to share a Pulled Pork Sandwich with fries ($11.99) and a German Burger ($12.99) with fries.  This burger, served on a pretzel bun and topped with Swiss cheese, bacon and mushrooms (canned) was surprisingly good.

There are many different places to eat throughout the park that serve the usual burgers, chicken tenders, pizza hot dogs and salads.  One of the more interesting eateries we saw was the Skillet Market where fajitas, quesadillas and other food was cooked in gigantic cast iron skillets!  You can also find all kinds of treats from funnel cake and ice cream to cotton candy and popcorn being sold throughout the park.

We visited Splashwater Kingdom after lunch.  The water park area has a number of slides, a wave pool (Lumberjack Splash), a lazy river (Captain Hook’s Adventure River) and two water play areas (Buccaneer Beach and Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade. Since I’m not the biggest fan of water parks, I luckily found a chair and camped out with our bag and towels while my husband and kids partook in the water fun.

The trio really enjoyed Bonzai Pipelines, the newest water park attraction.  They raced each other down the colorful, twisting water slides many times.  In fact, these slides were my husband’s favorite ride in all of the park.  After a couple of rides around the lazy river, the rest of their time was spent in the large wave pool.  Many of the other water slides had fairly long lines that they didn’t want to wait on.

There are a few cons to Splashwater Kingdom. It’s not easy, unfortunately, to move between the various sections of the water park.  The walkway to the Comet cuts right through the middle. Also, empty chairs are hard to come by anywhere in this area.  While there are lots of chairs, most were claimed by towels but never actually occupied by people.  And finally, Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade, pictured above, has seen better (and wetter) days.  The kids made a quick visit here, since most of the water fun aspects of the attraction (the large tipping water bucket and water guns) weren’t working.

Besides all of the rides included with admission, you can try Dare Devil Dive (Free Fall attraction) and Olympiad Grand Prix (Go-Kart ride, $8/person, $18/ride all day) at an additional cost.  Plus, there are also dance parties and live entertainment shows at the three different theater venues around the park as well as several arcades and game stands.  There is something for everyone at the park.

We spent the entire day at Six Flags Great Escape, staying until the 7 PM park closing.  We had a fun-filled day and I highly recommend a visit!

The Details:
Six Flags Great Escape
1172 State Route 9
Queensbury, NY 12804

Parking:  $20 (credit cards accepted)
Hours:  Check the site for specific dates/times
Admission:  Ticket Prices when purchased at the park – $59.99/general admission, $46.99/children under 48″, kids 2 and under/free
Lockers:  $16/Small, $17/Medium,  $18/Jumbo

*Purchase tickets online prior to your visit for cheaper prices.

*Parking costs $20.  Establishments outside the park offer parking at cheaper prices.  You may have to walk a bit more and I have no information on the reliability/safety/security of these places.

*Outside food and drinks are not allowed and food is generally expensive in the park.  I recommend eating a big breakfast before arriving, have a late lunch on site and then eat dinner outside the park.

*Purchase a refillable season drink bottle when you first get to the park.  It costs $15.99 but you receive a wristband for free refills on the day of purchase.

*Make sure to pick up a couple of park maps when you enter.  I found the park a bit difficult to navigate since it doesn’t all connect and you have to backtrack to get to certain areas of the park.  Refer to the map to make sure you get to all the rides you are interested in riding.