This Amusement Park Is A Great Stop On Your Southern California Family Vacation

When it comes to family vacations in California, the options are nearly endless. From sandy beaches to iconic theme parks, the Golden State boasts many attractions. However, one park that often escapes the limelight is Castle Park Family Fun Amusement Park in Riverside, California. With 35 rides, a mini-golf course, an arcade, and more spread across the park's 25 acres, this smaller park has been providing entertainment to families since 1976.

Castle Park has something for everyone, from classic rides like bumper cars to adrenaline-pumping roller coasters. General admission tickets are available, with discounts for groups of 15 or more, military veterans, and students. According to the Castle Park website, customers can save over 35% by booking tickets or events online. However, several customer reviews express that the park's prices may not be worth the experience despite additional perks. 

As with any amusement park, proper packing is essential to having an unforgettable time. First and foremost, sunscreen is a must-have in Southern California's warm climate. You'll also want to bring comfortable shoes since you'll be doing plenty of walking and standing in lines. Because renting baby gear for family vacations can be convenient for customers to avoid lugging strollers to and from their parking spot, Castle Park provides stroller rentals. The park also has an arcade snack bar and traditional carnival snacks like funnel cakes, corn dogs, and soft drinks at Duke's Frying Factory. Some park-goers, however, have mentioned the quality of the food isn't always consistent, as per Tripadvisor.

Family-friendly rides, coasters, and events

Castle Park is uniquely themed as a medieval castle with turrets, drawbridges, and more. The amusement park features roller coasters like the inverted, looping Fireball and the 35-foot tall spinning Screamin' Demon for ages 14 to 18 and up. The Scrambler and Sea Dragon are both moderately intense rides ideal for all ages looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush.

There are carousel rides, a mini antique car ride, and more for younger children. Spaceships, Seaplanes, and the Flying Animals ride are just a few fun rides the park lists for kids at least 36 inches tall. Recent reviews on TripAdvisor have some park attendees concerned with the number of rides closed or broken during their visits. With only 2.6 stars on Yelp, it is common for customers to be unsure if all of the rides advertised by the park will be open or maintained properly during park visits.

The Castle Park Arcade features a variety of over 50 classic and modern arcade games, perfect for challenging friends and family members. Buccaneer Cove is an option for those looking to cool off during the hot summer months. This water park features five different water slides, interactive water toys, and an enormous splash bucket, though there are several mentions in reviews that the cleanliness in this area of the park is hit or miss.

Magic shows and events at Castle Park

In addition to thrilling rides and attractions, Castle Park offers live entertainment through magic shows and events. The park hosts Anthony the Magic every Saturday in the park's Big Top. Anthony performs sleight-of-hand tricks and the classic magician's cut-in-half illusion, among other acts.

Each season at Castle Park is filled with special events like Mardi Gras and Dia de Los Muertos celebrations and the popular Halloween event, Castle Dark. The Castle Dark event features haunted mazes, interactive shows, and The Cinema of Fear event for those looking for some spooky fun. Castle Dark runs each weekend of October, alongside the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Hours for these events are listed on the park's website, but some customer reviews have complained of early closures or incorrect hours of operation.

Duke's Very Merry Village runs through the Christmas season into the new year and features over 100,000 lights, gingerbread house competitions, and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus himself. Spring's Mardi Gras celebrations bring festive parades, New Orleans-inspired food and drink specials, live music, and more to the park. No matter what season your family trip brings you to Castle Park, it is clear the park is a classic in the area with many unique features, but concerns about ride availability and other inconsistencies are present across the board.