Beth J Harpaz checks out new theme park attractions to delight families visiting the US

Kiwis often head to Los Angeles or Florida when looking for a family fun-filled theme park holiday. This year will be no exception with the opening of Disney World's Pandora-World of Avatar and Universal's Volcano Bay water park in Florida, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

But plenty of new attractions are opening elsewhere in the United States, from interactive rides that offer different experiences each time you go, to new parks in Alabama and North Carolina. It's time for thrill-seeking Kiwis to spread their wings.

New parks in the south

The Park at OWA opened in July in Foley near Alabama's Gulf Coast beaches. Its 21 rides include the Rollin' Thunder coaster, Alabama Wham'a, and the family friendly Rockin' Raft.

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The park is closed over certain dates, so make sure that you check the website before you plan your travel.

For Kiwis planning to visit the US in the northern hemisphere summer of 2018,
H2OBX, a brand new US$46 million water park on North Carolina's Outer Banks has more than 20 water slides, pools and attractions, including Deep Six Adventure Lagoon with climbing walls, an obstacle course and balance pads.

Six Flags

Six Flags is the biggest regional theme park company in the world, with parks in nine US states, as well as Canada, Mexico, China and Dubai.

New American rides to look out for include Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, an immersive action dark ride at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, which has guests joining forces with superheroes; Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California; and Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey.

A 4D free-fly roller coaster called The Joker debuts at Six Flags New England, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington and Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

Dollywood

Drop Line, a drop tower at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is a free-fall experience more than 20 storeys above Dollywood's Timber Canyon. The ride's gondola spins around the tower for a bird's-eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Also new: Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Adventure Dinner and Show, with Parton's music and characters drawn from her childhood stories.

Sandusky, Ohio

Cedar Point has a new 7ha water park, Cedar Point Shores, on Lake Erie's shores, recalling the park's origins as a beach resort. Attractions include Point Plummet, a six-storey body slide with riders in individual pods. Portside Plunge, which offers inner tube rides, first in an enclosed area, then down hills before hitting a pool. For young children, there's Lakeslide Landing and Lemmy's Lagoon.

Also in Sandusky, the Kalahari Resort water park debuts five attractions this summer: the Stingray raft slide, Sahara Sidewinder slide, Tornado Alley funnels, Serengeti Spinner body slide and Extreme Rush, which drops riders into a loop and then a pool.

ELSEWHERE

, New Jersey, has a new roller coaster called Hydrus to replace a

coaster that was left partially submerged in the ocean after Superstorm Sandy

in 2012. The new roller coaster was built safely inland above the beach rather

than out over the water.

In Pennsylvania, Dorney Park in Allentown debuts the circular ride Kaleidoscope
and the live show Cirque Imagine. Hersheypark in Hershey opens Hershey Triple Tower with three drop towers of different heights and thrill levels.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, will debut the underground Haunted Mine Drop.

Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad, California, has a new Star Wars display featuring lights, sound effects, animation and six scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In Williamsburg, Virginia, at Busch Gardens' New France village, InvadR is the park's first wooden coaster with nine airtime hills, a wooded terrain and an underground tunnel.

At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Shockwave offers motorcycle-style seats around a spinning disc on a curling track, and Typhoon swings riders upsidedown on two spinning arms over the boardwalk.

New at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California is Sol Spin, with six spinning arms, and two water park rides: The Wedge, a family raft ride, and Shore Break with six water slides, including chambers that launch riders intoanear-vertical drop through curves, loops, a flume and tube slides.

- AAP