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Family Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Dorney Park

Dorney Park is not just a hair-raising amusement park; the family-friendly good time packs a punch for the price. Solomon Dorney started his endeavor in 1860 as a trout hatchery and simple summer resort, but today, the attraction features some of the world's most thrilling and spine-tingling roller coasters. Home to rides such as the spectacular White Water Landing as well as the Wildwater Kingdom water park and Planet Snoopy kiddie park, Dorney draws tens of thousands of visitors annually for a one-tank trip brimming with boundless excitement.

Getting There:

If you're lucky enough not to hit traffic, the drive from Philadelphia to Allentown's Dorney Park should take an hour and 15 minutes, tops. Take 1-76 W for 12 miles before getting off at Exit 331B onto I-476 N. Turn on some tunes for the next 42-mile leg of the trip, then merge onto US-22 E via Exit 56. Drive one mile before merging onto PA-309 S, and then take 1-78 E until Exit 54 leads you to US-222 N.

Related: Road Trip Rules - Prep for a Safe and Fun Road Trip

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Dorney Park
3830 Dorney Park Road
Allentown, PA 18104
(610) 395-2000

Price: $49 adults/$30 children and seniors/$9 off if purchased online/$15 parking

Dorney Park offers all sorts of thrill rides and amusements, including eight heart-pumping roller coasters. The Stinger is the park's latest addition. With a 138-foot drop and speeds of 55 miles per hour, get ready for a hair-raising experience. Riders and spectators alike can expect to get drenched on the famous White Water Landing, a 20-passenger flume ride with an 80-foot drop. For the tots, Planet Snoopy offers 16 rides that even mild-mannered Charlie Brown would enjoy. Get a hug from Lucy, Snoopy and the gang, or sit a spell in the amphitheater for spell-binding live shows.

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Wildwater Kingdom
4000 Dorney Park Rd.
Allentown, PA 18104
(610) 395-2000

Price: free with price of Dorney Park admission

Wildwater Kingdom is the perfect place for wet entertainment on a sizzling summer afternoon. Take a lazy tube ride down Runaway River, or drop 52 feet down one of three slides at Patriot's Plunge. For the more adventurous, try Lightning Falls--guests shoot down two 70-foot-high serpentine slides into a refreshing splash pool. Two wave pools, a splash zone, a lagoon for the little ones and slides and more slides will keep your family splashing and laughing all day.

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Dinosaurs Alive
3830 Dorney Park Road
Allentown, PA 18104
(610) 395-2000

Price: $5 with park admission

If you have the time, step through the towering T-Rex entrance to the Jurassic period for an educational experience at Dinosaurs Alive animatronic park. Visitors roam through the enormous animals' habitat to learn what they ate and how they lived. Thirty-two dinosaurs actually move and roar here. A dig site is situated at the end of the attraction, where kids can discover bones and fossils.


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Grille 3501
3501 Broadway
Allentown, PA
(610) 706-0100

Dorney Park has loads of eateries, but if you want to escape amusement park mayhem and don't mind spending some dough, Grille 3501 offers a quiet, romantic, fine-dining experience less than one mile from the park. Voted the Lehigh Valley's best restaurant by several local magazines, Grille 3501 offers an eclectic menu of French/Asian cuisine, including its signature dish, the crab mango spring rolls. Soups, salads and sandwiches are offered, as well as scrumptious entrees, such as Maine lobster tails, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and spicy seared tuna. Just leave room for the apple spring rolls with cinnamon-caramel ice cream and caramel sauce!

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Trivet Diner
4549 W. Tilghman St.
South Whitehall Township, PA 18104
(610) 398-3886

Neon, shiny chrome, comfortable booths, a lunch counter and a pie fridge create a retro diner that feels like it's straight out of Mayberry. And the expansive menu is easy on the budget, too. Voted Best Diner 2010 by "Lehigh Magazine," this family friendly eatery is open 24/7. It offers everything from huge platters of omelets and scrapple to open-faced sandwiches and chicken croquettes. Don't let the packed parking lot scare you off. The wait is rarely long, and the food is filling and delicious.

Plan B

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Da Vinci Science Center
3145 Hamilton Boulevard Bypass
Allentown, PA 18104
(484) 664-1002

Price: $12 adults/$9 children ages 4 to 12, seniors and military

If you arrive at Dorney Park only to be rained out, Da Vinci Science Center is a great plan B. It's open seven days a week, and its 10,000-square-foot facility features tons of interactive exhibits. Kids and adults alike love its working robot dinosaur, power-lifting station and 500-gallon touch tank with tropical fish, sea stars and hermit crabs. Visitors can also meet unique critters including diving beetles, hissing cockroaches and a rat snake.

Related: Fall's One Tank Trips

Head to Philadelphia's Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at

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