Discover the 10 Biggest Theme Parks in America 

Written by Sammi Caramela
Updated: July 28, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


Many confuse amusement parks and theme parks. Theme parks are a type of amusement park, but they follow a specific theme.

Theme parks are common attractions in America and feature various entertainment and activities, from rides to displays. The United States is home to many of the world’s best and largest parks.

Here are the ten biggest theme parks in America.

1. Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, is 580 acres of fun. The zoological theme park features attractions like the Tree of Life (with over 300 animal carvings), The World of Avatar, African safari adventures, Asian cuisine and jungle treks, wilderness explorations, dinosaur missions, and more. The park is perfect for children (and adults!) of all ages, as it cultivates realistic experiences to encourage learning, entertainment, and adventure. 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom features tons of incredible animals, including the mountain

zebra

.

©Micha L. Rieser / Creative Commons

2. Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, is 510 acres in size. While Six Flags is an amusement park built initially in Texas, it branched out into 24 different parks in the U.S. — one of them being Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Known for its thrilling rides, the theme park includes attractions like a drive-thru safari, roller coasters and water slides, family-friendly events, and more. 

Roller Coaster Track

Six Flags Great Adventure features 14 roller coasters.

©Speed Stock/Shutterstock.com

3. Busch Gardens in Virginia

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, is 422 acres. The theme of this particular park is “classic Europe with artfully landscaped villages, like the Parisian streets of France, the hamlets of Scotland, and the Oktoberfest celebrations of Germany,” according to its website. The park has many rides and attractions for visitors, including a “Summer Nights” event lasting till August 16. 

Busch Gardens in

Virginia

offers weekend fireworks displays throughout the summer.

©Chung Min/Shutterstock.com

4. Universal Studios Hollywood in California 

Universal Studios Hollywood is a standalone film studio theme park that spans 415 acres in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. Because Hollywood is known for its film industry, the theme park features realistic attractions like interactive play, themed lands, studio tours, and more. While venturing around the park, you’ll likely run into a few friendly and well-known characters like The Minions, The Simpsons, Shrek, Curious George, and Scooby-Doo. 

Waterpark, amusement park Los Angeles, CA

Universal Studios Hollywood in

California

also features its own waterpark.

©Stanislav71/Shutterstock.com

5. Busch Gardens in Florida

Rated as a Top 5 Best Theme Park by the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards 2022, Busch Gardens is 335 acres in size. The animal theme park in Tampa Bay, Florida, features countless rides (like the all-new Serengeti Flyer), themed events (like the Howl-o-scream event), and animal experiences (with close-up encounters). Busch Gardens is a great place to visit if you’re into live entertainment and concerts, as it provides award-winning shows for all ages. 

Visitors can meet white tigers and other

animals at Busch Gardens Africa

in Tampa Bay.

©Cary Michael Bass / Creative Commons

6. EPCOT

Another theme park in the Walt Disney World Resort, EPCOT is “where the impossible becomes possible.” Spanning 300 acres, EPCOT (which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow)’s attractions demonstrate the advancement of technology. The theme park offers attractions like a flower and garden festival, interactive spaceship “time travel” with history lessons, and virtual experiences that make you feel like you’re adventuring around the globe. 

The Seas attraction at EPCOT in Walt

Disney World

is a must-visit.

©Jedi94 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

7. Six Flags Magic Mountain in California

Also part of the Six Flags corporation, Six Flags Magic Mountain is located in Santa Clarita, California. The individual theme park spans 262 acres and holds 20 operating roller coasters — the most of any other theme park on the planet. Living up to its title of “theme park,” this particular park features rides based on comic book characters and shows, such as BATMAN The Ride, Looney Tunes Lodge, and Daffy.

Roller Coaster Track

Six Flags Magic Mountain has the most rollercoasters out of any theme park in the world.

©Speed Stock/Shutterstock.com

8. SeaWorld in Orlando

The 200 acres of SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, feature incredible animal experiences, rides, attractions, presentations, and festivals. Rated the Best Theme Park In Florida by the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards 2023, SeaWorld allows visitors to feed dolphins, dine with orcas, see hundreds of flamingos visit aquariums, preserves, and rescue centers, and more. Some summer attractions include Passport to Summer, Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, and Cheers to Free Beer.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Cutout at SeaWorld

During Christmastime, many visitors travel to SeaWorld for holiday-themed fun, like seeing the Rudolph the Red-Nosed

Reindeer

display.

©VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock.com

9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Disney’s Hollywood Studios lets you “live your ultimate adventure” in Bay Lake, Florida. Spanning 135 acres, the theme park features working film sets for movies and shows like Toy Story, Star Wars, The Little Mermaid, and more. Additionally, visitors can attend interactive displays, live shows, and stunt spectaculars for impressive storytelling experiences. There are also many opportunities for immersive dining, tours, and other special events.

Mother and daughter in bumper car at fun fair

Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers many kid-friendly rides and opportunities for family fun.

©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

10. Universal Islands of Adventure Theme Park in Florida

As part of Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, the Universal Islands of Adventure Theme Park is 110 acres in size. The park is divided into eight “islands,” such as Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Hogsmeade, Marvel Super Hero Island, The Lost Continent, Port of Entry, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, Skull Island, and Seuss Landing. Each zone has different attractions related to its island’s theme. From fine dining and exciting shows to rich entertainment and great shopping, there’s something for everyone in this theme park.

Orlando Universal is home to some of Florida’s scariest roller coasters.

©Box Lab/Shutterstock.com

Honorable mention: Universal Studios in Florida

While it holds a similar name and premise to Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida is a smaller theme park that’s part of the larger Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. It’s 108 acres and features live shows and rides themed to movies, T.V., and the entertainment industry. Visitors can meet their favorite characters, attend seasonal events, and enjoy interactive performances. Additionally, there are many themed rides, like Holly Rip Ride Rockit (rock to your favorite song during the ride!), Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (an underground journey featuring Harry, Ron, and Hermione), E.T. Adventure (hop on your flying bike!), and more. 

Hogwarts express florida

Universal Studios in Florida features the popular Hogwarts Express train.

©David Broad / CC BY 3.0 – License

The Biggest Theme Park in the U.S. 

Spanning 580 acres, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in America and the world. Most recently, the park’s attendance count was 7,194,000 annual visitors in 2021. The theme park is located within Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. 

The resort itself is 43 square miles — that’s 27,520 acres. In addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Disney resort includes Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

Walt Disney World Resort also features Magic Kingdom — including Mickey’s Toontown.

©Benjamin D. Esham / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Summary of the Biggest Theme Parks in America

While the size might remain the same for the biggest theme parks in America, attendance has dropped drastically for each since the pandemic hit in 2020. This greatly impacted each park’s revenue. 

However, the number of annual visitors will likely continue to climb back up as we recover from COVID-19 as a nation. Below, you can find a summary of the largest theme parks in the U.S., including their locations and sizes (in acres). 

Theme ParkLocationSize
Disney’s Animal KingdomBay Lake, Florida580 acres
Six Flags Great AdventureJackson, New Jersey510 acres
Busch Gardens Virginia Williamsburg, Virginia422 acres
Universal Studios HollywoodSan Fernando Valley, California415 acres
Busch Gardens FloridaTampa Bay, Florida335 acres
EPCOTBay Lake, Florida300 acres
Six Flags Magic MountainSanta Clarita (Valencia), California262 acres
SeaworldOrlando, California200 acres
Disney’s Hollywood StudiosBay Lake, Florida135 acres
Universal Islands of Adventure Theme ParkOrlando, Florida110 acres

The photo featured at the top of this post is © / Original


Share on:
About the Author

Sammi is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering cats, nature, symbolism, and spirituality. Sammi is a published author and has been writing professionally for six+ years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Writing Arts and double minors in Journalism and Psychology. A proud New Jersey resident, Sammi loves reading, traveling, and doing yoga with her little black cat, Poe.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.