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Indoor Theme Parks

Guide to the Best Indoor Theme Parks


Most theme parks are outdoors and are only open during the warmer months. A few indoor theme parks, however, offer roller coasters, carousels, dark rides, and other amusement park fun year-round in a weatherproof, enclosed environment. A number of facilities may describe themselves as indoor theme parks, but the modest Chuck E. Cheese's-style attractions often have a handful of small rides, arcade games, and other features that would be better characterized as family entertainment centers. What follows is a list of the major indoor theme parks.

Ferrari World Indoor Theme Park

The odd domed roof of the Ferrari World indoor theme park.
Ferrari World, 2009. Used with permission.
Location: On Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates

There aren't a heck of a lot of indoor theme parks, but Ferrari World, at a whopping 925,000 sq. ft. (over 20 acres), is the world's largest. A hybrid Epcot-type pavilion/Six Flags-type amusement park/corporate hospitality center, Ferrari World showcases the legendary automaker through sophisticated dark rides and other cutting-edge theme park technology. It also reinforces Ferrari's racing legacy with coasters and other thrill rides, including the world's fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa.

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The Adventuredome Indoor Theme Park at Circus Circus

The Canyon Blaster coaster at The Adventuredome indoor theme park.
© Jeremy Levine, 2004. Licensed to About.com.

Location: At the Circus Circus Hotel Casino on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Adventuredome packs a fair amount of attractions into its 5-acre footprint. The highlight is the Canyon Blaster steel coaster. Other attractions include Lazer Tag, the Rim Runner splashdown ride, a 4-D theater, the Sling Shot freefall tower, bumper cars, and kiddie rides. The Adventuredome is not a full-day experience, but it can be a fun diversion from the casino action.

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Nickelodeon Universe Indoor Theme Park

There is a full-fledged indoor theme park in the middle of the Mall of America.
©Arthur Levine, 2007. Licensed to About.com
Location: Inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota (near Minneapolis)

Nickelodeon Universe is a full-fledged amusement park with three coasters, a giant Ferris wheel, and a slew of other thrill and kiddie rides. Granted, the coasters don't come close to breaking any records, and the rides are mostly off-the-shelf models (although there is a nifty log flume ride and a fun shoot-em-up dark ride). But the rides offer plenty of fun. And I don't know about you, but I'll take a spin on a Ferris wheel over a spree in Macy's any day.

More Nickelodeon Universe info:

Galaxyland Indoor Theme Park

One of the coasters at Galaxyland. the indoor theme park at the West Edmonton Mall.
West Edmonton Mall
Location: Inside the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Hey, it's cold in Canada! That's why this park is tucked inside the climate-controlled West Edmonton Mall (one of the world's largest, by the way). Among its highlights is the Mindbender, billed as the world's largest indoor triple-loop roller-coaster (as if there are many--or any other?--indoor triple-loop roller-coasters). The park offers 28 other rides.

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Parthenon Indoor Theme Park at Mt. Olympus

Zeus' Outdoor Theme Park at Mount Olympus Wisconsin Dells features some great wooden coasters.
Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park
Location: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

The Parthenon indoor theme park is relatively small, but it does offer year-round amusement rides, including a mini coaster, go-karts, and bumper cars, regardless of the weather. Mt. Olympus is also home to Medusa's, a 55,000 square-foot indoor water park, Neptune's outdoor water park, and Zeus' outdoor theme park, which offers a great collection of wooden coasters and go-kart tracks. The Mt. Olympus resort also includes two themed, on-property hotels: Hotel Rome and Mykonos Village.

Lotte World Indoor Theme Park

One of the themed rides at the indoor theme park, Lotte World.
Lotte World
Location: Seoul, Korea

A massive indoor theme park, Lotte World features Pharaoh's Fury, a sophisticated dark ride, Atlantic Adventure, a themed coaster/flume hybrid ride, and Gyro Drop, a freefall tower ride. Each day, the park presents World Carnival Parade, a 30-minute show with music and dancing from around the world.

Indoor Water Parks

Like indoor theme parks, indoor water parks offer year-round, weatherproof fun.
©Arthur Levine, 2009. Licensed to About.com.
While there aren't a heckuva lot of indoor theme parks, there are tons of indoor water parks. Some of them are enormous and provide as many attractions as major outdoor water parks. Indoor water parks offer another way to have weatherproof park fun. The majority of indoor water parks are connected to hotels and are packaged as self-contained resorts.

Indoor water parks info:

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