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First Timer's Guide to California's Great America

First Timer's Guide to California's Great America

    California's Great America has for 40 years been Northern California's most thrilling theme park. The park has a mix of exciting thrill rides and coasters for adventure-seekers and more family-friendly rides for younger visitors. Beyond these rides,there are some special events like Halloween Haunt and WinterFest that prepared for guests. Undoubtedly, California’s Great America has fun for the whole family. Check out the first timer's guide to California’s Great America before you go, get more information about the admission tickets & season passes、2019 maps、parking、self-driving route、rides and coasters list、special events of this theme park.

Cover Oleg Alexandrov

California's Great America Basics

California's Great America (formerly known as Marriott's Great America and Paramount's Great America) is a 100-acre (40 ha) amusement park located in Santa Clara, California. It is owned by the Cedar Fair family of theme parks and features more than 50 rides, roller coasters and attractions, plus a waterpark that is included with admission.

Address:  4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Opening Time: opens at 10AM on its operating days, but the closing time varies depending on the day of the week and the season. The Waterpark is open from 11AM-6PM on the days it is operating. After August 9, the Park and Waterpark will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays, except for holidays.

Tickets Prices for 2019 & 2023

Daily Admission Tickets: as low as $41.99
Admission & Fast Lane: as low as $89.99
Buy an Admission and Fast Lane combo ticket online only and save up to $28. With Fast Lane, speed past the lines on 18 of your favorite rides and attractions all day long.
All Inclusive Ticket for $133
The All Inclusive Ticket includes one Single Day Admission, Parking, All Day Dining, Fast Lane, a Regular Souvenir Bottle and a Single Day FunPix Photo Pass.
2023 Silver Pass for $59.99
Visit California's Great America and Boomerang Bay Waterpark every public operating day in 2023 with a Silver Season Pass & unlimited daytime visits every public operating day through 11/23/2019.
2023 Gold Pass for $81.99
Enjoy Unlimited Visits to the park and Boomerang Bay Waterpark every public operating day in 2019 and 2023, including Halloween Haunt and WinterFest, plus Free Parking.
2023 Platinum Pass for just $197
Enjoy all the benefits of the California's Great America Gold Pass in 2019 AND 2023 with the added benefit of enjoying all Platinum Passholder exclusive privileges at all Cedar Fair Parks across the country including Knott's Berry Farm, Cedar Point and more.

Book California's Great America Admission tickets from Expedia Viator, TripAdvisor where you can find the best tickets deals. Plus don't forget to earn up to 4% cashback from Extrabux!

Directions to California's Great America

Directions to California's Great America

General Driving

From San Francisco
US 101 south to Great America Parkway exit (45 mi/72km);

From San Jose
US 101 north to Great America Parkway exit (3mi/5km);

From Oakland 
I-880 south to 237, then west to Great America Parkway exit (45mi/72km); From Sacramento: I-80 west to I-680 south; then Highway 237 west to Great America Parkway exit (142mi/229km).

Public Transportation

VTA (Valley Transportation Authority)
VTA light rail trains and buses arrive daily from points throughout Santa Clara County.
AMTRAK/Capitol Corridor
Trains arrive daily at Great America station from Reno, Sacramento, Oakland and other points north.
ACE (Altamont Commuter Express)
Trains arrive at Great America station from Stockton, Tracy, Pleasanton and other points east. C
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)
Take the # 140, #141 or #180 VTA bus from the Fremont Bart station.
Connect to the VTA light rail at the Mountain View Caltrain station from points throughout the San Francisco Bay Peninsula and south to Gilroy.

California's Great America Car Rental

If you need to rent a car to California's Great America, you can book at Dollar Rent A Car, EuropcarAvis, Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt Rent A Don't forget to earn up to 6% cashback from Extrabux!

Parking Prices for 2019

Parking is $25 per vehicle for regular parking ($20 pre-purchased online)
$30 for preferred parking ($25 pre-purchased online).
RV parking is $27 per vehicle.
Free Parking for Gold Pass & Platinum Pass Holders
A drop-off area is located just past the entrance on Great America Parkway at 4911 Great America Parkway

California's Great America Map 2019

California's Great America Map 2019

California's Great America Thrill Rides & Roller Coasters List

This park is best known for its extreme thrills and high-speed coasters. The following rides are highly recommended to adrenaline seekers.

Flight Deck is the incredible suspended "jet coaster." Here you'll experience a nine-story drop into a vertical loop, a weightless zero-G roll over the ride's entrance and a thrilling finale consisting of a corkscrew inversion into high-speed helix while flying over a body of water at California's Great America.

New for 2019, RailBlazer is a novel single track roller coaster with 8 passenger single file trains. Just 15-inches wide, the new track design requires less supports and will give riders the impression that they're riding a top almost nothing as they descend a 106-foot drop to begin a twisted layout that includes three inverting elements.

Gold Striker is the tallest, fastest wooden coaster in Northern California. It stand at 108 foot tall and will hit a top speed of 53.7 miles per hour at the base of its 103-foot first drop. Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards have named it one of the world’s Top 10 wooden coasters every year since its launch.

Patriot is the first-ever floorless roller coaster at California’s Great America.  It takes riders to a 91 feet height before plummeting them into a 360 degree loop at 45 miles per hour. With the ride’s track visible beneath riders’ feet, Patriot creates unique and exciting perspectives for guests throughout the ride.

Demon is the park’s first roller coasters. It features a double corkscrew and two "airtime" hills, hitting a top speed of 50 miles per hour following its 90-foot first drop.

Psycho Mouse is a classic "wild mouse"-style roller coaster. It features the standard hairpin, switchback turns followed by a series of sharp turns, dips and fast drops.

Delirium is a gyro swing-style ride that swings you and 31 other riders an astounding 64 feet in the air—over 6 stories high! You’ll be flung 120 degrees in both directions, all while the passenger vehicle spins continuously at up to nine revolutions per minute.

Orbit is a Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride. Guests who embark on Orbit get rapidly spun at increasing speeds and lifted by a large hydraulic arm to as high as 80 ft. in the air. Then, let the centrifugal force be with you as you get turned upside down over and over again.

Drop Tower is one of the tallest and most intense free-fall rides in the world. Your Drop Tower experience begins by strapping into an open car, feet dangling, and spending the next 35 tension-filled seconds ascending 225 feet into thin air to the peak. Then the ride releases and you drop -- you plunge -- you are completely emptied into a free fall of 20 stories in 3.5 seconds, reaching frenetic speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

Whitewater Falls is a classic "shoot-the-chutes" water ride, in which guests board large boats that plummet down a 45-foot drop. The splash at the bottom can reach a height of 20 feet.

With that thrill ride reputation, many families with younger kids don’t pay Great America much mind as a destination for little ones.  In fact, Planet Snoopy in California's Great America is a large section specially designed for younger kids.

It has 13 rides, a splash pad, a playground/climbing structure, and quite a few character meet and greets scattered throughout the area. There are also two show stages where you can catch Peanuts characters in action.

In addition to Planet Snoopy, there are a few kid-friendly rides scattered through the park, such as Carousel Columbia, Psycho Mouse, don't miss them.

Boomerang Bay which is a great way to cool off on those warm summer afternoons (open seasonally). There are about 5 waterslides and tube rides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a lagoon (shallow wading pool), an area for younger kids that includes waterslides and other features, and a splash area for little ones.

California's Great America Special Events

Halloween Haunt runs select weekend nights in September and October every year. With eight haunted mazes and attractions, five secret skeleton key rooms, three scare zones and four live shows, you will have  a frighteningly good time.

WinterFest begins on select evenings in November and December each year. With spectacular holiday lights and décor, world-class live entertainment, luscious treats, you will have a fanciful experience throughout the park.

Hotels Near California's Great America in Santa Clara

The Price of Avatar Hotel near California's Great America low to $169. Set 1.1 miles from Highway 101, this 4-story, geek-chic hotel in Silicon Valley is less than a mile from the Intel Museum and only 16 minites from California's Great America.  Free WiFi in public areas, free self parking, and a free manager's reception are also provided.


The Price of Hilton Santa Clara near California's Great America starting from $124. Across the street from the Santa Clara Convention Center, this upscale hotel is a 3-minute walk from Levi's Stadium and a 6-minute walk from California's Great America theme park. The eight-floor Hilton has 280 spacious and upscale rooms, decorated with soft colors and light maple, ash and Bombay mahogany furniture. Parking is free.


If you are seeking for more hotels near California's Great America, visit TripAdvisor where you can find the best vacation hotel deals. Plus don't forget to earn up to 4% cashback from Extrabux!

Hope you guys have a great time!!

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