California’s Great America, Santa Clara

4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, California 95054

Good for: Day-trip, families, teens
Price: $58/adult, $37/child, $15 for parking
Features: Rides, adjoining water park

Great America has been THE place for rides in the North Bay for years. I came to this park many times as a teenager but, as expected, many things have changed since then.

California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara

The biggest change was the addition of an adjoining water park named Boomerang Bay. This section features several water slides using intertubes for two or more people. Our favorite (we even rode it twice) was Didgeridoo Falls with the 4-person raft. There are also a couple of slides with no tubes – both are completely covered.

California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara

The area also contains the typical wave pool and lazy river. Everyone, including the very tiny, can get as soaked as they like in any of the splash sections. There are lockers and changing rooms so you can get some dry clothes on before hitting the rest of the park.

California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara

The little ones will enjoy the Peanuts-theming. The characters are all over the park for photo ops and even star in a show. While there is that specific play area with kiddie rides, the majority of the park is made up of thrill rides and roller coasters. Since becoming part of the Cedar Fair brand, the new rides are pretty much the same as other parks from the same company with some old ones even being renamed. The best coaster, in my opinion, is still Top Gun which is now known as Flight Deck.

The fried chicken restaurant is still there too. The food wasn’t that good anymore but it was fun to eat there for nostalgia sake. If you plan on staying all day at the park or will be getting an annual pass, it’d be a good idea to invest in a souvenir cup. You’ll get unlimited free refills the day you buy it and only 99¢ for refills on subsequent visits during the season. Don’t miss out on the freshly-made funnel cakes though – nom, nom!

California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara

California’s Great America (fka Paramount’s Great America) is a great place to get wet and for thrill seekers. There are next to no shows or other attractions for the non-rider, though, except for some carnival-type games. It’s all about the rides here. The only caution is that the atmosphere can change drastically in the evening. This is when the families go home and the teens/young adults come to hang out and party.

Stick to the daytime and you can have some great family fun on a HUGE selection of rides!

California Great America Theme Park Santa Clara

About TerriAnn van Gosliga

TerriAnn van Gosliga is the main writer at Cookies & Clogs and Driving Mamas. Born & raised in the SF Bay Area but loves to travel. She's been married to her best friend for almost 14 years, homeschools her 13-year-old daughter, and has an accident-prone lab mix dog.


  1. Love it there!

  2. I really want to go to Great America. Been a few times when I was young, but I don’t think I have been there since 1994. Would love to see all the new changes.

  3. Since my mom used to drag me to shows all the time as a child, I can actually appreciate that there’s such a focus on those here!

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