Popular North Carolina Theme Parks
It might be kind of crazy for me to write this particular hub, because I have not been to many of the North Carolina theme parks. Growing up in northeastern North Carolina, we were much more likely to cross the Virginia border to visit Busch Gardens than to head west (North Carolina is close to 560 miles east to west, and many of the state's theme parks are in the mountains), but the HubMob theme is theme parks, and I like the challenge of a bit of research.
Probably the most recognized theme park in North Carolina is Carowinds, and I remember plenty of my friends making this venture to the Charlotte area when I was a kid. On their website, Carowinds boasts, "We've got the most hair-raising rides, the wettest water park, the most sizzling stage shows, and tons of other cool stuff everyone can enjoy."
New for 2009 is the 125-foot tall Carolina Cobra, a roller coaster with three inversions and a 360-degree loop. Other coasters include the Afterburn, the Carolina Cyclone, the Drop Tower, the Hurler, and the Nighthawk. The classic, however, is the Thunder Road, which crosses the North and South Carolina border. The coaster was inspired by Carolina mountain moonshiners, and more than thirty years after it's debut, Thunder Road is still one of Carowinds' most popular rides.
While I missed out on Carowinds, I have visited Tweetsie Railroad between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC. When my daughter was young, I was a little more diligent about our summer vacations, and this was one of our favorite destinations.
The big attraction at Tweetsie is a ride on locamotavie Number 12, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Engine No. 12 was built in 1917 by Baldwin Locamotive Works of Philadelphia at an orignial cost of $14,000. It's the only survivor of the original 13 East Tennessee and Western North Carolina narrow-gauge locamotives.
Other attractions include the Tweetsie Jail on Main Street, the Arcade and Shooting Gallery, Games and rides in the Country Fair, and the Deer Park playground on Miner's Mountain. And who can resist the thrill of gem mining or panning for gold.
I haven't personally visited Wet'n Wild Emerald Pointe near Greensboro, but my daughter has, and in the muggy North Carolina summer, there's no better place (inland, at least) to cool off! The largest water park in both the Carolinas with over 36 rides and attractions, Emerald Point is unveiling Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror this summer. One of only two in the U.S., the attraction includes a breathtaking 40-foot drop and two hi-speed 360 degree spins, all in total darkness!
Emerald Point is offering a variety of discounts and special events this year to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
An article about North Carolina theme parks would be incomplete without mentioning the North Carolina Zoo - finally, a destination I've visited more than once and can truely personally recommend!
One of the largest "natural habitat" zoos in the country, the North Carolina Zoo is just south of Asheboro, 75 miles west of Raleigh, the state's capital. The first permanent exhibit, "Forest Edge", opened in 1979 and today still provides a home for Zebra, Ostrich and Giraffe.
NC Zoo has approximately 1,100 individual animals representing more than 200 species. In addition to a variety of African animal exhibits, The North American contains habitats representative of the Cypress Swamp, the Marsh, the Rocky Coast (including polar bears!), the Streamside, Northwoods, Prairie and the Sonora Desert.
More NC Theme Parks:
- Hill Ridge Farms, Youngsville, NC
Welcome to the Triangle's best educational destination for old-fashioned family fun and field trips featuring hay rides, train rides, gem mining, a petting barn, a historical pumpkin farm, antique farm equipment, and a country store.
- Carolina Raptor Center, Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to environmental education and the conservation of birds of prey through public education, rehabilitation of injured, and orphaned raptors and research. Located in Latta Nature Preserve, near Charlotte, North Carol
- Ghost Town in the Sky, Maggie Valley, NC
Ghost Town in the Sky is North Carolina's mile-high theme park! Step back into the Wild West at this timeless family destination. Featuring thrill rides, music, shows, staged gunfights, food and lots more. Looking for something fun to do in Western N
- Jungle Rapids, Wilmington NC
Opening June 2009 at the NC Zoo is a new giraffe feeding station. Visitors can meet the two newbies, Jitu and Asha, as well as Turbo and Tafari and the 32-year-old female giraffe, Julie. Since giraffes have always been my personal favorite, I think it's definitely time for me to visit the NC Zoo again!
In fact, I didn't realize how many theme parks North Carolina boasts - seems I have some traveling to do in my home state!
Twenty-Six of Thirty
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