Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Location: Allentown, PA
When one thinks of a family owned park turned corporate park, you should immediately think about Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Dorney Park has been in the family of the founder of the park dating back into the 1800s, and the park has never skipped a beat through the years. Today the park boasts some of the best thrill rides on the East Coast and is now owned and operated by one of the largest corporate theme park companies in the world, Cedar Fair.
Dorney Park started out as a trout hatchery and summer resort on some property that belonged to Soloman Dorney back in 1860. In 1870, Dorney began to turn that resort into more of a public attraction as he added picnic areas, a hotel, restaurant and playground style rides. In 1871, Dorney began to add mechanical rides and quickly the park became an Amusement Park.
As many cities began the trolley systems, Allentown Kutztown Traction Company decided to make a stop at Dorney’s park and they liked the area so much that in 1901, they purchased the park and operated it until 1923. The park was sold to Robert Plarr, a local businessman who then operated the park clear until he passed away in 1966 and many believed the park was doomed. The park was kept going by Plarr’s son, but he too died the same year. Robert Ott, who was the son-in-law of Plarr decided to take over the reins of the park and operated it successfully until 1985 when he was too old to go on and sold the park to Harris Weinstein. Weinstein ran the park until it was too big to handle and eventually sold it to Cedar Fair Entertainment in 1992. The park was said to be better fit in a corporate setting as large as it was getting.
Today the park offers eight roller coasters and some of the best ones on the eastern side of the United States. One of the best coasters at the park is Hydra: The Revenge, a B&M floorless and of course you cannot go there without riding the Chance-Morgan ride known as Steel Force with its one mile of track. The park offers many flats and kiddie rides for the whole family and in 1985 the park opened up its water park. Wildwater Kingdom is included with the admission to Dorney Park; so on those hot and humid days, you may want to stop in there as well. No matter what your plans, you can find something for everyone at Dorney Park!
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