While Ocean City certainly has all the sun ‘n surf that a vacationer could ever ask for, there’s also plenty to be said for the entertainment and thrills available in town. In fact, there are three major theme parks in Ocean City, Maryland, and each one is totally different from the last. From classic amusements to antique rides to a journey back to the Old West, where theme parks are concerned, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
You probably know Jolly Roger’s best for their 116 ft. ferris wheel on the pier, a boardwalk staple that can be seen from blocks and blocks away. With locations at the pier and on 30th street, Jolly Roger’s is Ocean City’s only full-service amusement facility. Visitors have the option to put just enough points on their “fun card” to ride a specific amount of rides, or they can purchase an unlimited pass, which allows for unlimited rides at the Pier. In addition to the famous ferris wheel, Jolly Roger’s has a variety of roller coasters, kiddie rides, games, food and souvenirs. There’s even an antique train from 1952 for park-goers who just want to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
While thrill-seekers of all ages will have a blast at Jolly Roger’s go-kart park, Speedworld, a major summertime perk is their Splash Mountain waterpark. Splash Mountain features a number of water slides, a wave pool, three kiddie pools, a 1000 ft. lazy river, water games and waterfalls, in addition to cabanas, deck chairs and lounges, concessions and locker-equipped bathhouses. The facility is monitored by a trained and certified water safety staff, and life jackets are available in all sizes.
Like the rest of Jolly Roger’s, Speedworld has something the whole family can enjoy. Along with the several tracks, there’s also an arcade, concessions, a souvenir shop, and of course, kiddie carts. They even have the region’s first zipline.
Owned by the same family for over a century, Trimper’s Amusements has been famous for providing safe, clean family fun on the Ocean City boardwalk since 1893. Located near the Inlet, the park offers over 100 rides and games, some of which have been around since the early 1900s.
The most historically significant ride, the carousel, was purchased in 1902. The antique merry-go-round is 50 feet in diameter and features 45 hand-carved wooded animals, three chariots and a rocking chair. Originally operated by a steam engine and only costing a nickel to ride, the carousel is now electrified and costs four tickets, or $2. Families come from far and wide every year to ride Trimper’s carousel, the oldest-operating carousel in the nation.
Outdoor rides were added to the park in the 1950s, and since the mid ’60s, more rides have been added almost every year. The rollercoaster, Tidal Wave, is a fan-favorite action ride, along with other thrill rides like the Matterhorn and the Himalaya. Indoor rides and games are typically enjoyed by small children, while many of the outdoor rides are geared toward adults. The park is open in-season daily and on certain weekends during the winter.
Another local park, located just five minutes outside of Ocean City, is Frontier Town. Best known as a Western-themed camping resort, Frontier Town takes visitors back to the 19th century in the form of old-fashioned shops, mini golf, a waterpark and their famous theme park. The 18-hole miniature golf course is set among beautiful waterfalls, flowers and trees, and the waterpark features slides of every size, a lazy river and pools. The Western theme park frequently hosts events and shows including a can-can show, a rodeo, a gunfight, Native American ceremonial dancing and more. Frontier Town is open to the public, but campers receive free access to the waterpark and mini-golf and can purchase theme park tickets at a discount.