BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
My family and a couple of others are considering buying VIP
passes to Great America (which includes entrance Boomerang Bay
and Bonfante Gardens) so we can meet up there. We went to
Bonfante gardens last year and enjoyed it quite a bit, but we
haven't been to Great America in over 10 years (pre children) and
have never been to Boomerang Bay. I didn't find anything recent
on Great American in the archives. I've heard rumors of rowdy
teens but can't imagine they would intentionally bother families
of young children. I think all of the kids would like the water
park. So here are my questions.
Will 2 to 8 year olds find enough to do at Great America? Their
website mentions kids areas, but no real details about the
Are Great America and Boomerang Bay child friendly (nutritious
food, clean bathrooms, changing tables, safe environment, etc.)?
Overall, were Great America and Boomerang Bay clean and well kept?
Any other advice about specific attractions/restaurants to try or
Perhaps I am asking too much but since they are not close and
would be a significant purchase for my family, we would like to
make sure that we will be willing to make the drive several times
Thank you for your opinions!
My kids are about your age and aren't too keen on Great
America. Last time I we went we observed gangs and my kids
felt really uncomfortable. My oldest daughter observed a theft
and reported it to security guard standing right next to us.
We told the guard and they did nothing. I had a hard time
explaining that one to my kids. She now has the impression
it's OK to steal, because the police at Great America won't do
As for how clean it is? If you have to go, go early.
My step son is 10 years old and we have gotten the ''wow'' card
for three years now and consider it a pretty good investment.
Boomerang Bay is a lot of fun and that is actually where we
spend most of our days. Although my step-son seems to be part
fish. :) We usually spend a few hours doing his favorite rides
(depending on lines)and then spend most of the day at the water
park. My step-son doesn't really like all the big roller
coasters so we do more of the smaller rides (bumper cars, water
rapids, log ride, mouse trap, Sponge Bob 3-d Movie). We always
find enough to do to last a day and have always found the park
to be clean. There are a lot of teenagers but we have never had
a problem with ones that were rude to our kids. I think GA does
a pretty good job keeping the park clean and family oriented.
We have never had a problem. We have also found that going
during the week (if you can) is a lot less crowded. :)
There is enough for kids to do, but with age/height ranges, make
sure you have enough adults to split up into groups based on the
kids' heights. At all theme parks, Great America, Marine World,
Santa Cruz, Disneyland, etc, there are rides for under 48'',
under 48'' with taller chapperone, and over 48'' and over 54''.
Food, bathrooms, etc I guess are just part of the experience --
pretty much all-around mediocre. Have fun
--mom of a roller coaster rider
My husband and I went to Great America with our four year old daughter
for a company picnic. It was ther first time we had ever been there.
I don't think I would choose to go there again. It's expensive. I
didn't feel that there was too much for my daughter to do (although I
have heard that they have recently renovated their children's area).
The theme park impressed me as being oriented to the young
adult/teenager set - roller coaster and thrill rides.
Great America is not much different than Disneyland or Marine World in
the genre of amusement parks, I suppose. Although it seems to me that
these other theme parks are more *family oriented* and make a greater
effort to educate as well as entertain through animal shows and
references to our natural, technological and cultural history (though
at times this comes across as propaganda - eg. the idea that Marine
World is protecting wildlife and endangered species while making these
same animals perform stupid animal tricks)
What bothered me the most about Great America was that we were
constantly bomdarded with the distasteful self promotion of the
company owner (Universal or Warner Bros.?) Little shops everywhere
selling clothes, stationary, toothbrushes, coffee mugs, baby bibs
etc. with Tweety Bird, Tazmanian Devil or Blues Clues on it. The ways
in which these entertainment theme parks prey on the youth culture by
teaching them that fun and consumer consumption go hand in hand I find
disturbing. Great America, I feel is particularily guilty of
capitalizing on young peoples need to conform by encourgaging them to
buy into the pop culture gangster/rap/hipster mentality.
Great America: we went there a couple of years ago when my son was
six. They have a Nickelodeon area which is specifically for smaller
children and has lots of fun things to do. A recommendation: have
your kids wear swim suits and bring a change of clothing. There is
a goo area where there is some sort of green goo they can play with,
and then waterplay too.
Also, some of the other rides are suitable for smaller children,
such as the bumper cars and Ferris Wheel.
this page was last updated: Apr 13, 2008
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network