Best Two Theme Parks for kids between 8 and 17 years

Firstly, this is a great site, very informative.

My family will be going to Gold Coast from 5 til 9 dec. My 5 children are between 8 and 17 years old.

For flexibility, I plan to rent a van. Since it is not a long holiday, could you recommend us the two best and must go theme parks for the kids since I want to allocate only 2 days to the park.

Thanks for your help.


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Thanks for the kind compliments about the site and information. I just love to help people get the most out of their holidays on the Gold Coast.

To your question. Assuming your kids aren't marine animal lovers, in general, I believe that the two theme parks most likely to give them the most memorable experience would be DreamWorld and Movie World.

I say that because, these two parks probably offer the most variety for kids who can enjoy the rides and character based activities at both parks.

Both parks will be a full day experience. If you arrive around 9.30am you should be able to get a good parking spot in the car parks (free parking - yay!) and then spend the whole day in the parks until they close at 5pm. So you will need to pace yourselves - it is a long day in the heat and at this time of the year it does get very hot there!

There are a spots in both parks where you can get cool under "showers" of water - so wear something that can tolerate getting wet (it'll get sweaty anyway!) and maybe have a towel in the bag just in case.

Since you will be in both parks all day, you need to note you cannot bring picnics into either park, so you will have to plan to eat within both parks the food from their outlets.

DreamWorld has a range of activities that suit the age range you have. Extreme or Big 7 soon, to be Big 8 rides and some less extreme options. You are unlikely to want to focus on The Wiggles area, but the new DreamWorks experience has something for all ages in the shows and the rides.

For the older ones they might be interested in a tour of the Big Brother house (not my thing, but just mentioning it). And there is an animal section too and of course the tiger shows. So a full day of fun across the age range.

MovieWorld has thrill rides as well, including the Batman Arkham Asylum, Green Lantern, Superman and Scooby Doo. Parades, shops, shows - definitely go watch the Stunt show it is brilliant. Though you can probably give the Looney Tunes area for the little kids a miss, if you want to cool down that's were you will find the water spouts!

With both theme parks they classify kids as 3 to 13 years, so any of your kids older than 13 will need to have adult tickets. Also some rides have restrictions for height and other criteria, so check these out in case your younger kids cannot go on them. Our 10 year old goes on most of the thrill rides, and loves them, but she couldn't until she got to a certain height.

If you allocate a day for each park, the best option is to buy individual tickets for each day. To save you time you can buy these ahead of time online as long as you can print out the vouchers, then you can just present at the park on the day and in you go! EASY!

You can buy the tickets here through our ticket desk with no booking fees or credit card charges.

If you do have an incredible desire to go to Sea World, you will see Dolphin Show and many marine animal exhibits. They have a few rides, but not where near as many as the other two parks. This is a different experience and one I recommend to those with younger and senior guests in their party as it is suitable and fun for them as much as anyone else.

The only other option would be to include a water park and if you were going to substitute a theme park for the water park for the day I would recommend Wet n Wild. However, if you wanted to add Whitewater World into your day at Dreamworld that could also make sense, but I would include that in the day and buy a 1 day World Pass to cover both of those.

Hope that didn't confuse you, I am just trying to cover all bases! Please leave any further questions or comments below. I'd love to know what you have planned for the rest of your trip too!

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