Our Family Trip to California’s Great America

Our family trip to California's Great AmericaA few weeks ago our family (minus Boo) had the opportunity to take a day trip to California’s Great America, an amusement park about two hours from our home.

About the Park

California’s Great America is the Bay Area’s most exciting theme park and the best choice for world-class family fun and entertainment! Thrill seekers shoot down Gold Striker, the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Northern California with the longest initial descent tunnel on any coaster.  California’s Great America is the only theme park in California to offer a complete water park inside – free with park admission, Boomerang Bay. In fall, Great America transforms into the ultimate Halloween extravaganza featuring 8 mazes, ghoulish monsters, 3 scare zones and shows. The 100-acre theme park is located on Great America Parkway between highways 101 and 237 in Santa Clara, CA. Open weekends through November.

Our Experience

First, I recommend checking out California’s Great America website to plan your visit.  The park shares a parking lot with the new Levi stadium (home of the SF 49ers) so the park is closed on game days.  Check the calendar online to make sure it will be open on the days you want to visit.

Parking is $15, or you can buy a Preferred Parking pass for $20, which will get you a spot much closer to the front gate.

Food is SUPER expensive. Like $13 for a hot dog, chips and drink.  To save money you can either buy a meal package on the website, which seems like a good deal, especially if you really want to eat a lot while you’re there, OR you can bring your own food.  You can’t bring food into the park, but there are picnic tables right outside and there were many families (including us) tailgating.  We picked up deli sandwiches, chips and drinks and put them in a cooler before we left.  Then, we set a time to meet for lunch, walked back to the car and enjoyed some food in the airconditioning before heading back for some more fun.

Once in the park we got a map, set a time and place to meet and split up.  Bud and Willow wore their swimsuits so they could hit Boomerang Bay, which they loved.  Their favorite ride was Didgeridoo Falls.   Lesson learned here – be sure to bring your own towel because they cost $15 to buy one at the park.  Our kids decided just to drip dry.

the author's son and his girlfriend posing in front of a carousel and the California's Great America signThe first stop for Art and I was at the Great America Theater to see Aerial Ice Extreme!!  This was a very cool show (performed on synthetic ice) combining ice skating, aerial arts and acrobatics.  These performers first made it big on season 8 of America’s Got Talent (2013).  We enjoyed this show SO much!!  It was exciting and beautiful and I wish it could have lasted longer!!

aerial artists and ice skaters performing on stageAfter lunch we all ended up on Vortex, a standing rollercoaster which was a lot of fun.  After that, the kids wandered around looking for snacks, while Art and I wandered over to the Delta Flyer, where we got a very nice aerial ride across the park.  On our walk back, we took a peek at Planet Snoopy where kids were enjoying Snoopy’s Splash Dance.

children playing in water featuresI couldn’t resist posing with my favorite dog (sorry Kiff and Katie):

the author posing with a Snoopy statueWhich brings me to another tip: Bring lots of sunscreen and be sure to wear hats, sunglasses, etc.

After a full day, we were all ready to pile in the car for the ride home.  We had a good time reconnecting with each other at California’s Great America.

For more information, call 408.988.1776 or visit www.cagreatamerica.com. #greatamerica

I received complimentary passes to the park in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

4 thoughts on “Our Family Trip to California’s Great America

  1. Sometimes I buy the in-park meals even though they’re expensive. It’s not worth it to me to go back to the car. However, I don’t like the typical fast food type meals (hot dog? Ick) so I look for better options.

  2. Great Adventure looks like the perfect way to unwind and enjoy time with family and friends. I can’t get over how gorgeous the grounds look!

Please comment!!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.