Founded in 1961 as “Six Flags over Texas” (trivia – the flags flown over Texas throughout history include Spain, France, Mexico, the Texas Republic, the Confederacy and the United States,) today’s Six Flags operates 21 amusement parks across the U. S., Canada and Mexico.
Properties include twelve water parks (many co-located with a theme park) and two animal parks.
Six Flags incorporates some commercial themes like Looney Tunes, DC Comics characters, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Wiggles into park attractions and play areas, and they’re known for a variety of thrill rides and roller coasters.
The first park outside North America is on the drawing board – Six Flags Dubailand in Dubai, UAE, by late 2011.
How to get the best value from Six Flags
Consider a season pass if your family is going to visit more than once, or if you may take the kids to both a Six Flags venue near your home and another at a different location, perhaps while you’re on vacation. A Six Flags pass includes unlimited visits, vouchers to bring friends on select days, coupons and discounts within the parks and admittance to most other Six Flags parks AFTER you pay a visit to your “home” park.
If your family will return to Six Flags often, get on the “Team Six” email list for special discounts and announcements.
Look into hotel savings — most of the parks have partner arrangements with local hotels for lodging. For example, Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari in New Jersey partners with a local Holiday Inn, Days Inn and Radisson for “Stay and Play Packages,” which include lodging, park admission, vouchers for some meals and rides, and a Flash Pass (see below) but doesn’t seem to include the $15 parking fee at the venue.
Avoid standing in line….for a price
Unlike the free FastPass program at Disney properties, The Flash Pass ($33 and up) and Gold The Flash Pass (from $73) at Six Flags costs extra, in addition to your park admission price, unless you get them in one of the lodging combo packages described above.
All this means is that an electronic “place in line” is reserved at a specific time window, for your quick admittance to a popular ride.
Are they worth it? For really crowded summertime visits by families who adore thrill/coaster rides, they’re probably worth it to get the most out of a one-day visit, unless your kids are willing to arrive when the park first opens and/or stay late when crowds might thin.
Park special events
A variety of in-park concerts and entertainment events are scheduled across the Six Flags properties; check the park calendar (especially on Thursdays and Sundays) to see if any coincide with the day you’ll visit. Performers include kid, ‘tween and teen favorites like Raven-Symone and Boyz II Men, and there are also skateboarding and cheerleading festivals and regional events like the August Corn Toss at the Chicago park.
Don’t forget seasonal events at off-season times, like Halloween and Christmas/winter holidays.
For more info….