New thrills at regional theme parks this summer

At area theme parks this summer, the savings for AAA members are almost as thrilling as new rides and attractions. Here’s a quick overview:

Six Flags St. Louis has Tony Hawk’s Big Spin, a twisting coaster, among its new rides for this year. Six Flags opens its 36th season on April 21. In June, AAA members receive $15 off general admission at the gate.

Worlds of Fun in Kansas City debuts an inverted roller coaster, Patriot, this year. A new Panda Express® restaurant will be next to the Spinning Dragons roller coaster. The park opened its 35th season April 7.

Oceans of Fun waterpark will celebrate its 25th season when it opens on May 26.

Silver Dollar City in Branson tempts thrill seekers with its newest ride, The Giant Swing, which launches the swings and its riders 75 feet into the air, nearly upside down, up to 45 miles-per-hour. The Giant Swing is in a 19th-century Ozark farm setting and the ride bursts through a huge barn. The park opened March 15.

Festivals for the summer include World Fest, now through May 6; Bluegrass and BBQ, May 12–June 3; National Kids’ Fest, June 9–Aug. 12; and the Southern Gospel Picnic, Aug. 30–Sept. 9.

Celebration City, also in Branson, unveils The Stinger, a whirling ride that spins cars at high speed in circular motions. Two new shows featuring sea lions and parrots also are offered. The park opens April 20.

Get wet and wild with White Water’s new attraction, Kalani Towers, a 7.5-story, six-lane water ride that drops 300 feet in a 40-mph freefall.

Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., introduces Turkey Whirl, which brings a Thanksgiving twist to the traditional tilt-a-whirl ride. Also in the Thanksgiving section, the Plymouth Rock Cafe is new this season. Holiday World will open May 5.

Its water park, Splashin’ Safari, has a new thrill slide called Bakuli, which stretches seven stories into the air with a huge banked bowl at the bottom. The park opens May 12

AAA members can purchase tickets to these–and other–theme parks by clicking on, calling (800) 222-7623, ext. 6422 or visiting the nearest full service office (see page 5 for locations).

A one-day admission for adult or child at Six Flags St. Louis is $31.25 (save $17.26). Season passes are $70 (save $10.86).

One-day adult tickets to Worlds of Fun are $29 (save $11.80). Children 3 years and up to 48 inches tall are admitted for $12.25 (save 60 cents).

Two-day passes at Silver Dollar City or Celebration City also are available. Silver Dollar City adult passes are $44.75 (save $4.69), $24 for Celebration City (save $2.78). Children’s passes are $34.75 and $19 (savings of $3.94 and $2.20).

Water park tickets also are available. Click here to purchase.

In addition, AAA members save $3.50 off adult admission and $2 off senior and child admission to Holiday World/Splashin’ Safari when they show their card at the gate.

Published May/June 2007

An artist’s rendering of the new Giant Swing at Silver Dollar City in Branson.

Family vacations take to the high seas and Europe

Vacationing families are a growing market for European cruises and Carnival Cruise Line is responding to that trend with its new ship, the Carnival Freedom.

The 110,000-ton ship made its debut March 4 and started a series of 12-day Mediterranean cruises March 14. Ports of call include Naples, Livorno and Venice in Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Barcelona, Spain; and Istanbul, Turkey.

The 2,974-passenger ship will stay in Europe before crossing the Atlantic and beginning Caribbean itineraries in November.
Families are leaving summer road trips for more enriching cultural experiences, according to Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and chief executive officer.

“A Fun Ship cruise to Europe is the perfect choice for families who can enjoy all the region has to offer–famous art, architecture and culinary experiences–then return to familiar surroundings where they can enjoy Carnival’s unique shipboard environment, including complimentary programs for children and teens,” he said.

Those amenities for children include:

  • a 4,200-square-foot play area, the anchor of the line’s popular Camp Carnival. Sectioned into five areas, kids can enjoy movies, arts and crafts, a children’s library and video game consoles. A soft play area is geared for those younger than 2 years.
  • Club 02, an 1,800-square-foot teen club (15–17 years) that includes a dance floor and video game room.
  • Shore excursions for children 12–17 years. Counselors accompany younger travelers on these experiences that are designed for the younger set.
  • all day and night pizza and ice cream stations, a soda card for unlimited soft drinks and children’s menus or dining options in the Lido restaurant with youth counselors.

Stroller rentals, bouncy seats, travel swings and portable video games are available onboard to rent.

Carnival offers AAA members a free double (two-category) upgrade on 2007 sailings; some restrictions may apply. Contact your AAA Travel Agent for details. Click here for list of offices to serve you or call (888) 366-4222.

The new Carnival Freedom will cruise the Mediter-ranean this summer. Carnival Cruise Line photo

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