Originally published December 19, 2017
This weekend unintentionally became my family’s holiday activity time, and we sure crammed a lot into 48 hours! But what capped it off was our final stop – a trip to the Winter Wonderland at Dutch Wonderland!
Dutch Wonderland is an amusement park geared towards younger children and families. Unlike other amusement parks, their rides are on the smaller end so they’re safe for the little riders. During their peak seasons, they have over 35 amusements in operation. Many of these rides are designed for the whole family to enjoy too! Visitors see live entertainment with shows and mascots throughout their stay. And during the summer, Dutch Wonderland includes a water play area and dinosaur zone! The park has been around for almost 55 years. It’s been voted “One of the Top 5 Best Kids’ Parks in the World” by Amusement Today magazine several times.
The Winter Wonderland is a special component of the park’s offerings. The park is adorned in lights, so this occurs in the evenings. On weekends, the park opens at 3pm. On weekday openings, it opens at 5pm. The Winter Wonderland is open primarily on weekends from November 18-December 30, 2017 (though it is open weekday evenings between Christmas Day and New Years). From the Lansdale area, it’s about a two hour drive; but I find that it’s a fairly easy drive. The park is right on route 30 across from Lancaster’s Tanger Outlets, so it’s easy to find too. We threw a ton of snacks into the car, queued up the Christmas music, and were on our way!
Parking was $5 (a bummer, but an expected cost…). Thankfully, the lot is huge. We were able to secure a spot in a good location and get everyone bundled up in their winter gear. And I’d suggest bringing all your winter gear! Everything is outside, so you’ll get cold. Strollers are welcome inside. There’s also many spots that you can park them if the whole family goes on a ride. Aside from temperature concerns, I’d feel comfortable bringing an infant because of this too.
Our first stop was the Wonderland Special train ride. It was super cute! This little train ride takes you through the park so you get a nice preview of everything they have to offer. Plus, it’s nice to see all the Christmas lights along the way! Be prepared to wave at other visitors a lot 😊 .
I was pleased to see how many rides were in operation. My kids are 4 & 2, so we generally stuck to the smaller-scale ones. But they absolutely loved the Wonder Whip! This whips kids (only) around the edges of an oval track. We put both girls in together and their faces were priceless! We rode the Fun Slide, VR Voyager + (a retro “virtual reality” ride), and Merry-Go-Round as a family. They also enjoyed the Sky Fighter and pedaling themselves in trains at Choo Choo Charlie + (Note: parents can assist kids who can’t get themselves around).
To blow off some steam, we spent time in the Polar Playground. Here there are tons of white cubes that kids can build with, fall over, and stumble upon. It gets a little crazy when some kids build elaborate creations and monopolize blocks (because no kid would want them all to themselves, right? 😉 ), but it’s cute nonetheless. Dutch Wonderland has a staff member monitoring, but I’d suggest watching your children carefully to prevent any scuffles. As a parent, I appreciated having a zone where my kids could just play without much restriction.
The Royal Light Show is a big highlight as well! Found in the Celebration Theater, you can sit on benches or stand by heaters to enjoy this musically-animated show. It was adorable to see tons of kids dancing to the music and lights at the front of the stage! The show runs every 15 minutes throughout the night. A few live events happen throughout the night as well. You can see Toy Time Fun in the Amphitheater and with Storytime with the Princess in the Storytime Corner. Princess Brooke, Duke the Dragon, the Knight of Safety, and Merlin have appearances. And Santa is available for pictures in Merlin’s Restaurant until December 23rd!
All-in-all, Dutch Wonderland’s Winter Wonderland was a great experience. Everyone was happy the entire night! There are things (like the lights) that the adults can appreciate, and obviously tons that kids will enjoy. They make it comfortable by having heaters in spots and even a Nursing Mothers Station. While it was a trip to get there, the visit itself was easy and comfortable. We even packed the kids’ pajamas so they could fall asleep on the way home (woo hoo!).
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Hope you make it there! Happy Holidays!