Six Flags Great America

Spend a day at this sprawling theme park to enjoy an array of thrilling roller coaster rides, a water park and entertainment for kids of all ages.

Locals and visitors come to Six Flags Great America to escape the heat during Milwaukee’s summer months. The theme park has almost 7 miles (11 kilometers) of roller coaster track alongside a host of other family attractions and entertainment set over a sprawling area close to the Wisconsin–Illinois state line.

The park was opened in 1976 during the American Bicentennial and still retains a home-grown Americana atmosphere with themed areas such as Yankee Harbor and Mardi Gras.

The thrill rides are the biggest attraction,with alluring names such as “Dare Devil Dive”, “King Chaos” and “Raging Bull”. Experience a 12-story free-fall, or ride a “hyper twister” coaster. Try to get your roller coaster fix early in the day or after 6 p.m. to avoid the worst of the waiting lines. Less frenetic activities perfect for younger visitors include classic bumper cars, a scenic railway and the grand carousel.

To pass the time between rides, kids can get close to their favorite Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo characters, who roam the park’s grounds. The Kidzopolis zone is the place for little ones to run wild with an array of kid-friendly rides and games.

Spend time at Hurricane Harbor for a cool respite from Milwaukee’s hot summers. This is an inviting water park where you can bomb down near-vertical water slides, go surfing or white water rafting, or simply go with the flow, drifting along the Lazy River.

Six Flags Great America is just off the I-94 freeway, midway between Milwaukee and Chicago. There’s no public transport from Milwaukee, but you’ll find plenty of on-site parking.

The park is open during the summer between May and October. Buy tickets online to receive special offers and discounts. Pay more for a Flash Pass, which lets you schedule ride times in advance to skip waiting lines.