The past few years have seen major growth for U.S. theme parks — and we’re not just talking about roller coasters growing to record-breaking heights. Theme parks across the country have been adding new lands, rides and attractions to make your visits even more fun and exciting.
We found 11 new theme park rides and lands you won’t want to miss this year, not including any of the new attractions coming to Disney World in 2024. Whether you are looking for kid-friendly rides or terrifyingly tall coasters, here is everything new you can experience at U.S. theme parks around the country this year.
Penguin Trek — SeaWorld Orlando
With eight roller coasters, SeaWorld Orlando is already home to more coasters than any other theme park in Orlando. Penguin Trek, the park’s newest ride, will bring that total to nine.
Penguin Trek is a family-friendly launch coaster that will send riders on an icy rescue mission through Antarctica. The ride vehicles on this indoor-outdoor coaster are designed to look like snowmobiles. With a minimum height requirement of 42 inches and a top speed of only 43 mph, this is a coaster that families can enjoy together.
At the end of the ride, you’ll exit into the park’s real-life penguin habitat, where you can get an up-close look at the adorable animals you “saved” while on your Antarctic rescue mission.
Penguin Trek is scheduled to open sometime in 2024.
Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience — SeaWorld San Diego
Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience will be an interactive and educational attraction in the Ocean’s Explore area of SeaWorld San Diego. The exhibit will have three themed galleries designed to make guests feel as if they are immersed in a jellyfish’s mystical underwater world.
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Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience will have some of the tallest jellyfish cylinders in the world, including an 18-foot-tall jellyfish habitat and a 10-foot-tall “living arch” of jellyfish that guests can walk under. For an additional fee, you can upgrade your jellyfish experience to include a behind-the-scenes tour.
Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience is scheduled to open sometime in 2024.
Catapult Falls — SeaWorld San Antonio
Catapult Falls will be the world’s first launched flume coaster when it opens this year. It will also hold the record for the world’s steepest drop in a flume ride and North America’s only flume coaster with a vertical lift.
Catapult Falls will be a cross between a roller coaster and a water flume ride, with an open-air elevator that will transport your raft to the top of a 55-foot-tall hill before you come splashing down. SeaWorld San Antonio has not yet announced a minimum height requirement for this attraction.
Catapult Falls is scheduled to open sometime in 2024.
Sea Life Florida — Legoland Florida Resort
Sea Life Florida will be a family-friendly aquarium at Legoland Florida Resort in Winter Haven, Florida. Guests will be able to observe marine life in a collection of immersive, interactive exhibits.
Merlin Entertainments, which operates Sea Life aquariums and Lego-themed parks and attractions across the world, has not yet released details on exactly which animals or attractions will be included. If it operates similarly to other Sea Life aquariums, it is likely that entry will either be included with your Legoland admission or available as a combination ticket.
Sea Life Florida is scheduled to open in fall 2024.
Dino Valley — Legoland California Resort
In honor of Legoland California Resort‘s 25th birthday, the Southern California theme park will open a dinosaur-filled land called Dino Valley. The new land will have three rides, including a Lego Duplo dinosaur safari, a river ride and an existing ride called Coastersaurus.
Guests can also play paleontologist in the interactive Dino Dig area and meet all-new Lego characters. Like all Legoland attractions, these rides and experiences are geared toward kids ages 2 through 12 and their families.
Dino Valley is scheduled to open in spring 2024.
Phoenix Rising — Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens already has a well-balanced mix of thrill rides and those that appeal to families. Phoenix Rising, the Tampa park’s newest attraction and 10th roller coaster, will toe the line between the two. This suspended roller coaster will soar above the park at speeds of up to 44 mph.
The height requirement for Phoenix Rising is a family-friendly 42 inches.
Phoenix Rising is scheduled to open in spring 2024.
DreamWorks land — Universal Orlando Resort
Between next year’s Epic Universe unveiling and last year’s opening of Minion Land, Universal Orlando found time to build another entirely new DreamWorks land. This land will be located inside Universal Studios Florida and will themed to the many beloved characters featured in DreamWorks Animation films like “Shrek,” “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda.”
The land will replace the KidZone area of the park, which featured attractions like a Woody Woodpecker coaster for kids and a Curious George play area. Universal hasn’t yet released details on attractions for the new land, but we know there will be rides, character meet-and-greets and interactive play areas geared toward young kids.
Universal’s DreamWorks-themed land is scheduled to open sometime in 2024.
Camp Snoopy — Knott’s Berry Farm
Camp Snoopy opened at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1983 and has been a popular destination for the park’s youngest visitors ever since. This year, Camp Snoopy is getting a major makeover, including new rides, new character meet-and-greets, new entertainment and an updated dining location.
The reimagined Camp Snoopy will have a new family coaster called Snoopy’s Tenderpaw Twister Coaster and a Beagle Express train ride, among other attractions. Of course, favorite “Peanuts” characters like Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, Pigpen, Sally and Marcie will meet guests throughout the land all day long.
Camp Snoopy is scheduled to open in summer 2024.
The Dolly Parton Experience — Dollywood
You can find nods to Dolly Parton’s life and music all over the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennesee, but this year, Dollywood will open an attraction that lays out every detail of Parton’s inspiration, career and signature style.
Housed across multiple buildings, the Dolly Parton Experience will be an interactive, multisensory attraction that tells the story of Parton’s life through her musical and charitable achievements, family keepsakes and more.
The Dolly Parton Experience is scheduled to open sometime in 2024.
Fire in the Hole — Silver Dollar City
Fire in the Hole has been one of the most popular — and unique — attractions at Silver Dollar City since the ride opened in 1972. It was one of the world’s first indoor roller coasters and told a heart-pounding story of a town that was burnt to the ground by vigilantes called Baldknobbers and the volunteer firefighters (that’s you) that stepped in to save the town.
The ride closed at the end of the park’s 2023 season to make room for an updated version of Fire in the Hole set to open in a newly constructed building in the Fire District section of the park. The ride will have new and improved versions of well-known show scenes and characters (including those big, bad Baldknobbers), along with an updated ride experience and special effects that will preserve what makes this attraction so special while enhancing the ride overall.
Fire in the Hole is scheduled to open in spring 2024.
Good Gravy — Holiday World
Riding in a gravy boat past a massive rolling pin and through a can of cranberry sauce may sound like a dream you had after gobbling down a big Thanksgiving dinner and lying back in your grandpa’s recliner, but we can assure you it is a very real roller coaster called Good Gravy at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Each land at Holiday World is themed to a different holiday, and Good Gravy will be in the Thanksgiving section of the park. Good Gravy will be the park’s first family coaster, with a minimum height requirement of 38 inches and a top speed of 37 mph.
Good Gravy is scheduled to open in May 2024.
From animal experiences to thrill rides to family fun, there’s something for everyone coming to U.S. theme parks this year — and we can’t wait to see them all.