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Busch Gardens and Six Flags unleash the excitement with kids' weekends, wild new ride
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Busch Gardens and Six Flags unleash the excitement with kids' weekends, wild new ride

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Not only is the summer season of Busch Gardens and Six Flags America long-awaited news for many families, but both theme parks have unveiled new attractions that will add to the excitement and thrill for children of all ages.

Busch Gardens WilliamsburgA series of Busch Gardens Kids’ Weekends will be hosted in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 20, celebrating the unique qualities of a variety of winsome characters through a fun-filled spectrum of themed activities.

On June 4, a new Sesame Street character, Julia, made her début and will continue to welcome and engage guests at the park. With her engaging personality and open heart, 4-year-old Julia will give visitors new insight and appreciation for children with autism as she draws and plays with her friends Elmo and Abby Cadabby, showing that we are all unique but share the same joy in friendship and imagination.

The June 11–13 Kids’ Weekend will celebrate Rosita’s Friendship Fiesta, bringing the colorful flair of her Hispanic culture to the event. On Father’s Day weekend, June 18–20, Super Grover Heroes Weekend will give a hat tip to the fathers and grandfathers who are our own family’s superheroes, and capes and other hero-themed items will be available for purchase.

Each of the Kids’ Weekends will feature a themed story time, a Sunny Day Celebration featuring a sing-along and dance-along with the beloved characters every half-hour, a scavenger hunt and a Furry Friends Dance Party.

In addition, families can explore the all-new Flower Maze, and materials will be provided for children to make Sesame Street-themed crafts to be displayed as part of the Sunny Days Mural.

They can drop by the Smile 123 Smile with Me! photo studio for a picture with characters such as Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, that they can take on their cellphones or purchase in glossy or digital form to take home or send to family and friends.

“The Sesame Street characters add a special element of excitement to Busch Gardens. Many of the parents grew up with the show themselves, just as many visited the park when they were children,” said Kevin Lembke, president of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

Kids’ rides at the Forest of Fun include zipping through snow-capped mountains on Grover’s Alpine Express, experiencing the thrill of the kid-sized shot and drop tower of Prince Elmo’s Spire, enjoying the spins and twists of Oscar’s Whirly Worms, and joining in the fun of Bert and Ernie’s Loch Adventure flume experience.

In the Land of the Dragons, young visitors can test their balance and climbing skills in the play area that offers a tree house with a rope obstacle course, climbing nets and a brook play area with fun-filled splash and spray features.

Kids can also find rides just their size throughout the park, nestled in with thrill rides for the older and taller members of their families, including seven world-class rollercoasters.

As they travel through the different European lands of the park, families will have a chance to see animals ranging from magnificent Clydesdale horses to bald eagles and gray wolves.

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“Our park offers great opportunities for families to connect, share memories and create new ones,” said Lembke.

Just a short drive from Busch Gardens, Water Country USA offers families a bevy of refreshing ways to splash and float, with water slides and water play areas, including H20 UFO, the Kritter Korral and Cow-A-Bunga with waterfalls and water cannons for kids, as well as attractions such as the Cutback Water Coaster, Colossal Curl Hubba Hubba Highway, Vanish Point and many more.

Six Flags AmericaMaking its début this year, the newest, breathtaking attraction at Six Flags America is the Harley Quinn Spinsanity pendulum ride in the park’s Gotham City section, which powers riders on a jaw-dropping arch that reaches a height of 15 stories and a speed of 70 mph.

Youngest visitors will share in the thrill just at the sight of their family members soaring nearly 150 feet above.

Children will find a bevy of rides designed just for them at the park, located in Upper Marlboro, Md., amid the 10 world-class rollercoasters and exhilarating thrill rides.

The park also features two themed kids’ areas. Looney Tunes Movie Town features a panoply of rides, including Elmer’s Around the World in 80 Seconds balloon ride, Foghorn Leghorn’s Tinseltown Train, where kids can take on the role of junior conductors, and the Pirate’s Flight with its airborne boats.

Whistlestop Park, a favorite of locomotive fans, features train rides ranging from the Happy Junction old-time rail cars, which chug along a scenic route, to Capital Railways, a real working locomotive that takes families on an excursion around the park.

Rides that parents can enjoy with their kids at Whistlestop Park include a balloon-themed Ferris wheel and the Whirlybirds.

Family rides among the 55 offered at Six Flags include the French Quarter Flyers, whose height can be controlled by the riders, and Renegade Rapids, a raft ride with whitewater excitement.

In addition to Gotham City, the park also features sections with Western, Chesapeake and Mardi Gras themes, along with traditional midway games, a daily performance and tasty treats ranging from ice cream to funnel cakes.

Of course, an all-time summer favorite attraction of Six Flags America is its giant Hurricane Harbor Water Park, which features Hurricane Bay, an 800,000-gallon wave pool, 25 slides ranging from mild to wild, an endless river with seven water-action-zones, and the Bahama Blast and Tornado raft rides. The waterpark also has three children’s waterplay areas.

Buccaneer Beach, which can serve as a great introduction to a water experience, is an oasis designed just for them with two pools and a climbable pirate ship. Paradise Lagoon is an open swim area with slides of varying sizes and Splashwater Falls with the park’s legendary tipping bucket.

“We offer two amazing parks for one price,” said spokesperson Joe Pudlick. “It’s important for families to spend time together, and Six Flags offers wholesome outdoor fun and an opportunity for families to create an experience that best fits them and engages every member as they make meaningful memories together.”

Collette Caprara contributes to

The Free Lance-Star.

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