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Great America

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California’s Great America in Santa Clara is an amusement park for all ages, featuring water rides, roller coasters, traditional fairground rides, a Snoopy-themed area for younger visitors, and of course, plenty of dining and shopping opportunities. Not to be mistaken with Six Flags Great America in Illinois, California’s Great America is split into 8 areas: Celebration Plaza, County Fair, Kidzville, Planet Snoopy, Action Zone, Boomerang Bay water park, All American Corners, and Orleans Place. Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring, riding thrill rides, and getting wet at California’s Great America.

Great America started as a Marriott venture in 1976. The hospitality company created two sister parks, one in California and one in Illinois. The parks did not live up to the hopes of Marriott’s directors and investors despite being profitable, and they sold both parks in 1985, the Illinois park to Six Flags and California’s Great America to the city of Santa Clara, who hired a management company, Kings Entertainment, to run the park. Kings Entertainment ended up buying the park outright in 1989, who subsequently sold it to Paramount Communications. Finally, Great America came under its current management, Cedar Fair Entertainment. 

California’s Great America features several top-rated roller coasters. The Demon is an extreme coaster that was built at the park’s opening in 1976 and features a 90 foot drop and four inversions. Flight Deck is a similar high-thrill ride that is Great America’s favorite coaster. Grizzly is a traditional wooden roller coaster built in 1986 that takes riders to 55 miles per hour, a very high speed for a wooden coaster. Other notable roller coasters at Great America are Psycho Mouse and Vortex.

Besides roller coasters, there are plenty of other high-performance thrill rides, the most popular of which are Delirium, a high speed rotating swinging ride, FireFall, and Xtreme Skyflyer, a skycoaster that operates much like bungee jumping. Family and children’s rides at California’s Great America the 4D action theater, Loggers Run log ride, Rip Roaring Rapids, Rue Le Dodge bumper cars, and Thunder Raceway go kart track. Younger visitors may enjoy Peanuts Pirates and Sally’s Love Buggies in Planet Snoopy.

Great America offers thrills for the whole family and a great day out in the local Santa Clara area. To get there, take Great America Parkway off the 101 freeway in Santa Clara. Unfortunately, the park is closed for the winter season and will reopen in March 2013.

California’s Great America  4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054

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