4600 Culver Road
This Rochester tradition enters its 125th year adding another new attraction to its already world-class lineup, the Cirque En Vol acrobatic show. Parkgoers can take part in their own acrobatics when they ride a formidable stable of coasters, including the spinning cars of the new Whirlwind, the upside-down Screaming Eagle, and the 1920s vintage Jack Rabbit. If the breeze of the nearby lake doesn't cool you down, Seabreeze's waterpark, complete with wave pool, lazy river, and waterslides, will chill those dog days of summer.
Admission: $18.95 over 48", $14.95 under 48", $11.95 after 5 p.m. Season passes: $54.95-$59.95 for adults, $44.95-$49.95 for kids. 323-1900, www.seabreeze.com.
Six Flags Darien Lake
9993 Allegheny Road, Darien Center (near Corfu)
Somehow, Six Flags Darien Lake grew a full-fledged resort in the farmland of rural Western New York. Using some of the world's best roller coasters --- such as the 70-miles-per-hour Superman and the enormous, wooden Predator --- as fertilizer certainly helped. Six Flags is watering its garden of thrills a bit more this year with the addition of the Tornado waterslide, a big bowl of a slide that's a sensation akin to being flushed down the toilet, which is a lot more fun than it sounds. The park's 20,000-seat amphitheater attracts top-flight entertainment this year from Toby Keith to Coldplay.
Admission: $31.99 over 48", $19.99 under 48", $18.99 seniors. Season passes: $49.99. 599-4641, www.sixflags.com/parks/darienlake.
Martin's Fantasy Island
2800 Grand Island Boulevard, Grand Island
Like Seabreeze, Fantasy Island is a bit of a throwback to a time when amusement parks were simpler --- and cheaper --- than the massive theme parks like Disney World or Six Flags. Classic coasters, Western stunt shows, bumper cars and boats and an old-time train make for an old-fashioned good time.
Admission: $19.95 over 48", $15.95 under 48", $9.95 for seniors, and $8.95 after 5 p.m. Season passes: $55, $170 for a family of four. 716-773-7591, www.martinsfantasyisland.com.
4859 Route 430, Maple Springs
The 105-year-old Midway Park is a great place for families with small children, and for anyone who can live without all the stomach lurching of big time thrill rides. There is a Tilt-a-Whirl, go-carts, swing rides, a miniature train, bumper boats, a carousel, miniature golf, and roller-skating.
Admission and parking are free, ride tickets are $11 for 16. A one-day wristband good for all rides (except go-carts and bumper boats) is available on Saturdays and Sundays for $13. Season passes: $54.95 kids, $46.70 adults 716-386-3165, www.midway-park.com.
7657 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, Canada
Marineland is part zoo, part aquarium, part theme park, and all fun, just north of the border in Niagara Falls. The park is actually the world's largest whale habitat, housing everything from seals to the featured giants, the beluga and killer whales. Patrons have the opportunity to see, touch, and even feed the animals. Other attractions include a menagerie of bears, deer, elk, and fish, giant thrill rides including the world's largest steel roller coaster, and high-flying dolphin shows.
Admission: $25.95 (US) adults, $21.95 (US) children ages 5-9 and seniors, free for children under 5. 905-356-9565, www.marinelandcanada.com.
250 Eastern Boulevard, Canandaigua
Anything you can imagine with water, Roseland Waterpark does it. There's the Mammoth Raft Ride, where up to five people ride a raft through twists and turns; Body Flumes speed slides; The Cliff, a 54-foot, nearly straight down water slide; the Splash Factory for kids, where water shoots, drops, and splashes from every possible angle; and Extreme Tube Rides. A 30-acre lake within the park offers more traditional water-fare like paddleboats, canoeing, wakeboarding, and water-skiing.
Admission: $17.50 over 48", $13.50 under 48", $9.95 after 3 p.m. Season passes: $69.99 or $219.95 for families of four. 396-2000, www.roselandwaterpark.com.