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15 Most Intense Amusement Parks for Kids

15 Most Intense Amusement Parks for Kids

Most lists featuring amusement parks for kids are focused on young kids and family fun. My daughter is always asking for something more thrilling than normal amusement rides. So this list won’t be your average Disneyland park classic rides. We’ll be exploring the most thrilling family rides around the world.

Scary Yet Kid-Friendly Rides

Welcome to the Edge of Excitement

Does your kid want to elevate their adrenaline levels? Forget the boat rides and the slow-moving train ride; it’s time to dive into the heart of exhilaration. This is your ultimate guide to the world’s most intense amusement parks for kids — where the thrill rides reign supreme and the screams of delight echo in the air.

Redefining Fun with Intensity

The themed lands we’re about to explore are not your average great amusement park. They’re the arenas where the tallest, fastest, and most awe-inspiring roller coasters come to life. These parks offer the kind of intense fun that older children and big kids dream about. We’re talking about those legendary rides that dominate skylines and redefine what it means to be a thrill ride.

An image of an amusement park built close to a coast line.

An Adventure Like No Other

Embark on exciting rides that promises to be a scary experience for the entire family. Each amusement park we feature has been chosen for its ability to deliver intense excitement. From the gravity-defying drops to the high-speed turns that will challenge even the bravest of young adrenaline junkies, these are the experiences that make for unforgettable memories.

The Thrill-Seeker’s Playground

Imagine the rush of the wind as you plummet down the first drop of a wooden roller coaster, or the force that pins you to your seat as you launch from zero to sixty in mere seconds. These are the moments that intense amusement parks for kids are made of.

Ready to discover where your next thrilling family vacation could be? Keep reading, as we count down the 15 top most intense amusement parks for kids that are guaranteed to deliver the thrills and chills for kids of all ages. Let’s chase the thrill together!

An image of a red and blue rails of a roller coaster.

World’s Most Intense Amusement Parks for Kids

15. Top Thrill Dragster 2: Cedar Point, United States

Date Opened: May 4, 2003

Maximum Speed: 120 mph

Ride Duration: 17 seconds

Minimum Height: 4′ 4

Kickstarting our countdown is Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world. This park’s lineup of scream inducing rides sets the bar high. The legendary Top Thrill Dragster 2 will be re-opening in 2024 after being reimagined from the previous version. When the Top Thrill Dragster originally opened it was the tallest fastest roller coaster in the world, full stop.

14. Formula Rossa: Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi

Date Opened: November 4, 2010

Maximum Speed: 149 mph

Ride Duration: 1 minute 32 seconds

Minimum Height: 4′ 7″

At number fourteen, Ferrari World takes intensity to a new level with Formula Rossa – 0 to 240 km/h in 4.9 seconds. Young adrenaline junkies can feel the 4.8 G-force akin to driving a Formula One car, making it a must-visit for families chasing speed.

13. Full Throttle: Six Flags Magic Mountain, United States

Date Opened: June 22, 2013

Maximum Speed: 70 mph

Ride Duration: 1 minute 30 seconds

Minimum Height: 4′ 4

Six Flags Magic Mountain is a perfect place to experience intense roller coasters. With a collection that includes the infamous Full Throttle, it promises a high-octane adventure for kids looking for that intense, sky-high thrill. Aside from looping at high speed you’ll be surrounded by numerous other fun rides because it’s a traditional amusement park for kids.

Two female visitors of an amusement park in front of a roller coaster.

12. Shambhala: Port Aventura Park, Spain

Date Opened: May 12, 2012

Maximum Speed: 83 mph

Ride Duration: 3 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 7

Sliding into the twelfth spot is Port Aventura Park. Home to the furiously fast Shambhala it stands as Europe’s bastion of intensity for young thrill enthusiasts. Young children may be under the hight restriction because my nine year old is still not tall enough.

11. Eejanaika: Fuji-Q Highland, Japan

Date Opened: July 19, 2006

Maximum Speed: 78 mph

Ride Duration: 2 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 3

As we dive deeper into intensity, Fuji-Q Highland emerges with its array of record-breaking rides. The park’s notorious Eejanaika is referred to as the 4th dimension because it has the most inversion of any roller coaster in the world. While you’re there you can also ride Takabisha which has the world’s steepest drop and a previous record holder of the tallest fastest roller coaster Fujiyama.

An image of a father and daughter posing for a photo in front of a roller coaster.

10. DC Rivals HyperCoaster: Warner Bros. Movie World, Australia

Date Opened: September 22, 2017

Maximum Speed: 71 mph

Ride Duration: 1 minutes 50 seconds

Minimum Height: 4′ 3

Halfway across the globe, Warner Bros. Movie World presents DC Rivals HyperCoaster, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest, fastest, and most intense ride, sure to satisfy the daring young riders in search of a cinematic level of excitement. Traveling all the way to Australia yet experiencing a theme all the way from Hollywood studios will make you feel like you’re back at home.

9. Leviathan: Canada’s Wonderland, Canada

Date Opened: May 6, 2012

Maximum Speed: 92 mph

Ride Duration: 3 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 6

Leviathan in Canada’s Wonderland breaks into our top ten. The largest adventure park in Canada offers gut-wrenching drops and speeds that turn a day out with the kids into an epic thrill-seeking journey. One of the best things about this seasonal park are the theme areas like Medieval Faire where the extreme Leviathan stands tall and Planet Snoopy for little kids.

A family visiting an adventure park's horse ride attraction.

8. Blue Fire Megacoaster: Europa-Park, Germany

Date Opened: April 4, 2009

Maximum Speed: 62 mph

Ride Duration: 2 minutes 20 seconds

Minimum Height: 4′ 4

Europa-Park offers an intense ride experience with the likes of Blue Fire Megacoaster that launches riders with an explosive force, proving that intensity knows no bounds when it comes to age or geography. You’ve got both the tallest loop of any launched roller coaster in Europe and the first twisted horseshoe in Europe. This is a great place to enjoy your first roller coaster ride in Europe with the whole family.

7. Griffon: Busch Gardens Williamsburg, United States

Date Opened: May 18, 2007

Maximum Speed: 71 mph

Ride Duration: 3 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 6

Plunging into the seventh spot is Busch Gardens Williamsburg. With rides like the Griffon dive coaster, it’s a park that prides itself on delivering intense, heart-stopping moments for daredevil families that want access to kiddie areas. Small children can enjoy the bumper cars, live shows, and a petting zoo while the older kids spend their day riding on ten different roller coasters.

An image of a roller coaster rails in an amusement park.

6. The Swarm: Thorpe Park, United Kingdom

Date Opened: March 15, 2012

Maximum Speed: 59 mph

Ride Duration: 1 minute 25 seconds

Minimum Height: 4′ 7

Thorpe Park stands tall as the kingdom of intense thrill rides in the UK. With attractions like The Swarm, it’s a hub for kids and families who seek the thrill of a scream. Round and round you’ll go with four inversions as you make your way over and through a destroyed church, broken down helicopter, and downed airplane.

5. Fury 325: Carowinds, United States

Date Opened: March 28, 2015

Maximum Speed: 95 mph

Ride Duration: 3 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 6

Ascending to the top five, Carowinds boasts the Fury 325, offering a sting of intensity with its towering structure and swift descents that are not for the faint-hearted coaster enthusiast. You’ll soak in views at over 300 feet in the air overlooking the water park included in your admission price.

An image of a father and daughter visiting a theme park.

4. Tonnerre de Zeus: Parc Astérix, France

Date Opened: April 1997

Maximum Speed: 52 mph

Ride Duration: 2 minute 5 seconds

Minimum Height: 3′ 11

Parc Astérix brings twists to thrills with Tonnerre de Zeus, a wooden coaster that combines speed with a rambunctious ride path, ensuring that the park’s young visitors experience an intense ride steeped in legend. A lot of younger kids will get to experience an intense roller coaster for the first time because of the lower height requirement.

3. Intimidator 305: Kings Dominion, United States

Date Opened: April 2, 2010

Maximum Speed: 90 mph

Ride Duration: 3 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 6

Kings Dominion’s Intimidator 305 dominates the skyline, offering an intense experience that lives up to its name, daring kids and their families to conquer one of the tallest and fastest coasters on the planet. There was a previous version of this ride that had to be re-imagined because riders were blacking out from too much G force, the issue has been rectified and now it’s scary without being un-safe.

An image of tourists enjoying a thrill ride.

2. Atlantis Adventure: Lotte World, South Korea

Date Opened: October 26, 2003

Maximum Speed: 47 mph

Ride Duration: 1 minute 45 seconds

Minimum Height: Between 4′ 5″ to 6′ 3″

Lotte World offers an intense indoor coaster experience with Atlantis Adventure, combining high-speed twists and turns with immersive theming, making it a unique thrill ride for youngsters craving adventure. You’re going to love the water elements including water bombs and water jets making it the perfect spot to be on a sunny afternoon.

1. VelociCoaster: Universal’s Islands of Adventure, United States

Date Opened: June 10, 2021

Maximum Speed: 70 mph

Ride Duration: 2 minutes

Minimum Height: 4′ 3

At the pinnacle of our countdown, Universal’s Islands of Adventure invites young thrill-seekers to brave the VelociCoaster, offering the utmost in intense exhilarating dinosaur themed coaster, cementing its place as the top amusement park for kids seeking the zenith of thrill. Experience a 140 foot drop, four inversions, a zero gravity stall, along with two separate launches.

An image of two children posing for the camera while inside a theme park.

International Adventures in Intensity

Traveling with kids means always looking for activities everyone in the family will love. We went rock climbing in Tokyo, laser tag in Bangkok, and did miniature golf at a resort in Phoenix, but we are always looking for the best theme parks. Sometimes we’re in the mood for tame water rides and other times we are on the search for the scariest most intense amusement parks for our kids.

Europe’s Thrill Capitals

Launch into Europe, where intensity knows no borders. Here, we encounter the likes of the United Kingdom’s Alton Towers, where the Smiler twists perceptions with its record-breaking number of inversions, making it a magnet for families seeking extreme thrill rides. Then there’s Germany’s Europa-Park, offering the Blue Fire Megacoaster that fuses speed with a loop-the-loop frenzy, thrilling young visitors with a penchant for high-energy exploits.

Asian Pioneers

Jetting over to Asia, the stakes are just as high. Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland challenges the limits with the Takabisha, a roller coaster that boasts a stomach-churning beyond-vertical drop. It’s a park where thrill is the main attraction, setting hearts racing among the youth who dare to ride. Further south, in the thrill-seekers’ paradise of Universal Studios Singapore, the Battlestar Galactica dueling coasters pit Human against Cylon in an intergalactic showdown of intense loops and twists.

An aerial shot of a ferris wheel in one of the best amusement parks for kids.

Australia’s Adventure Parks

Australia isn’t just about stunning landscapes; it’s also home to some of the most intense amusement parks for kids. Warner Bros. Movie World shines with the DC Rivals HyperCoaster, offering a backwards seat for those who wish to face the intense ride from a different angle. This park, located in the heart of the Gold Coast, turns the thrill up a notch with its movie-themed spectacles.

Latin American Legends

In Latin America, the thrills soar as high as the Andes. Brazil’s Beto Carrero World teases with the FireWhip, a coaster that whips through the air with the grace of a dancer and the intensity of a wild ride, captivating families in search of an adrenaline-charged day out.

Middle Eastern Marvels

Dubai, a city synonymous with luxury and extremes, is also a hub for some of the most intense amusement parks for kids. IMG Worlds of Adventure immerses families in a world where rides like the Velociraptor burst out of the gates with a ferocity that matches the prehistoric creatures they’re named after, offering an intense experience wrapped in a desert oasis.

Canadian Challengers

Canada’s Wonderland, nestled in the vast landscapes of Ontario, doesn’t just boast iconic skyline features like the Leviathan but also the Yukon Striker – the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster. It’s where kids can embrace the intense cold rush of thrill that Canada is known for.

An image of a theme park train ride attraction.

African Adventures

Even Africa, with its vast savannahs, has a spot for thrill-seekers at Ratanga Junction in South Africa. The Cobra roller coaster strikes with the speed and agility of its namesake, promising an intense ride under the sun-soaked skies.

Insider Tips for Tackling the Intensity

Showing up to amusement parks takes a bit of preparation. Attending special events like holiday season or getting tickets the proper day for live entertainment are considerations for your perfect day at top amusement parks.

Gear Up for the Ultimate Ride

Before you step into the queue for the world’s most intense amusement parks for kids, a little preparation can go a long way. Equip your thrill-seeking kids with comfortable clothing and shoes — gear that keeps them agile for the twists, turns, and loops. And don’t forget, securing any loose items is a must. You wouldn’t want to lose your keepsakes on a zero-gravity drop.

Timing is Everything

Arrive early or stay late, these are the golden hours for avid riders. Parks like Universal’s Islands of Adventure often see a dip in lines during the first and last hours of operation. This strategic timing can mean more rides on the VelociCoaster, less waiting, and ultimately, more intense fun.

An image of a Ferris wheel under a blue sky.

Navigating with a Plan

Having a plan can maximize the thrill. Research the park’s layout and identify the most intense rides for kids beforehand. Many parks, such as Six Flags Magic Mountain, offer apps to help you navigate and even schedule ride times. This way, you can hit all the high-intensity rides with minimal downtime.

Safety First

While the thrill is the main event, safety is still the star of the show. Ensure your kids meet the height requirements for the high-intensity rides. Parks like Cedar Point are strict on safety, ensuring every rider can enjoy the thrills without worry.

Keeping Energy High

In between the high-octane experiences, take breaks. A moment’s rest can recharge the young thrill-seekers, keeping their energy high for the next round of intense rides. Plus, staying hydrated and fueled is key to keeping the adventure going from start to finish.

Capture the Moment

Invest in a photo pass if available, because those action shots on the biggest drops and fastest loops are priceless. They’re the perfect way to capture the expressions of sheer intensity and joy as your family conquers the most thrilling rides on the planet.

Armed with these insider tips, your visit to the best amusement parks for kids will be as smooth as it is thrilling. The intensity of these parks is not just in the rides themselves but in the entire experience of tackling them head-on, making memories that last a lifetime. Let the adventure begin!

FAQ: Amusement Parks for Kids


  • Veronica Hanson

    Veronica Hanson blogs from whatever country she happens to be in at the time, currently she's hanging out in Japan. She's been living as a nomad remote entrepreneur with her family since 2020.

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  1. beston rides says:

    I love all kinds of amusement park rides!

  2. Shahzad says:

    “Wow, what an adrenaline-fueled journey through the most intense amusement parks for kids! Your detailed list and descriptions make it easy for thrill-seeking families to plan their next adventure. My kids can’t wait to experience the Veloci Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Thanks for the thrilling recommendations!”