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Add thrills and excitement to your group’s summertime plans by organizing a trip to an amusement park to see some of the hottest roller coasters around. From dare-defying steel rides that just might leave you breathless to old-school wooden coasters, there’s something for amusement park fans of all stripes. Take a look at some of top must-see roller coasters located within approximately 200 miles of downtown Chicago.


American Eagle

Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Parkway
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 249-1776

Stay within the greater Chicago area when you plan a trip to Six Flags Great America in the northern suburb of Gurnee. You and your group can have a blast on the longtime fan-favorite American Eagle. The wooden roller coaster, which was built in 1980, delivers plenty of thrills, twists and turns. Six Flags Great America also has a number of rides for younger visitors, as well as an assortment of other roller coasters. The park also debuts the 4D interactive thrill ride Justice League: Battle for Metropolis in 2016.



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Hades 360 Rollercoaster

Mt. Olympus Water Park & Theme Park Resort
1701 Wisconsin Dells Parkway
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
(800) 800-4997

This summer, explore the outdoor theme park of Mt. Olympus Water Park & Theme Park Resort and take a ride on Hades 3450 Rollercoaster. The ride reaches speeds of 70 miles per hour and includes a drop of 140 feet that is sure to delight thrill-seekers in your group. Additional roller coasters and an underwater go-kart track are also among the attractions at the park. On a hot day, plan to cool off at the Mt. Olympus Water Park, complete with water slides and even things to do just for younger children. The park is located approximately three hours from downtown Chicago.



Michigan’s Adventure
1198 W Riley-Thompson Road
Muskegon, MI 49445

If you want loops, barrel rolls and more, consider making the suspended steel roller coaster Thunderhawk at Michigan’s Adventure part of your summer plans. Heads up: You need to be at least 52 inches tall and have a maximum height of 78 inches to ride Thunderhawk. Michigan’s Adventure offers a Fast Lane wristband at an additional cost, too. The amusement park is also bringing a petting farm back in 2016. Michigan’s Adventure is located approximately 200 miles from downtown Chicago, just over a three-hour ride.


Wacky Worms

Santa’s Village Azoosment Park
601 Dundee Ave.
East Dundee, IL 60118
(847) 426-6751

For groups with younger children, a visit to an amusement park that’s just for kids is in order. Santa’s Village Azoosment Park’s Wacky Worms is a roller coaster for children at least 36 inches in height. Other riders include the Viking Sea Dragon, Kringle’s Convoy, and Dracor Dragon Coaster. Children can also see a wide variety of animals at the park by visiting the Bunny Tree, Scales and Tails and other exhibits; a full list of animals and exhibits is available online.


Zero G

Indiana Beach Amusement Park
5224 E. Indiana Beach Road
Monticello, IN 47960
(574) 583-4141

Make your way to Indiana Beach Amusement Park for the new single-loop roller coaster, Zero G. As noted in a press release on the venue’s website, the ride is slated to be open at the start of the amusement park’s season. Amusement park aficionados can also check out the park’s selection of roller coasters, including the Cornball Express and Hoosier Hurricane. A haunted castle, carousel, water coaster and other rides are also available. Indiana Beach is located approximately 120 miles from downtown Chicago.


This article was written by Megan Horst-Hatch of Examiner.com for CBS Local.