California's Great America
- Type: Amusement Parks
- Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
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As one recent traveler tells Yelp.com, "This is no DisneyLand or Knotts Berry Farm." And he's right: It's California's Great America in the Santa Clara neighborhood, about a 15-minute drive from downtown San Jose. Once visitors rid themselves of the Magic Kingdom notions, they have a great time in this manageably sized park; they also appreciate its shorter lines. While the high-flying coasters like Flight Deck steal most of the attention (and the wait times), the theme park are a wide variety of carnival-esque booths along with a few entertaining performances. You'll find many of the families with younger children enjoying the smaller thrills of Planet Snoopy. And to make this into a great summer attraction, Great America also has the Boomerang Bay water park and its fun slides, cabana and wave pool.
California's Great America maintains a very confusing and sporadic schedule, so be sure to check the park's online calendar before planning a visit. From the end of March through September, the park opens at 10 a.m. and closes between 5:30 and 10 p.m. depending on the day and month. The Boomerang Bay water park operates on separate hours and days. And there are also special hours for its Halloween-themed day in October. Admission costs $54.99 per person. For more information, check out California's Great America's website.