When you think of the top amusement parks in the United States, you probably think of the Disney theme parks, Kings Island, Cedar Point, and maybe Universal Orlando. I'm not sure you'd place Cedar Fair's Worlds of Fun or Six Flags St. Louis in that same upper echelon of amusement parks. Of course, if not either of them, what Missouri amusement park are we talking about?

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In a new ranking of the Top 17 Amusement Parks in the U.S. for 2023, U.S. News and World Report rank Branson's Silver Dollar City as one of the best, along with the Disney theme parks, Dollywood, Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Universal Orlando Resort.

U.S. News and World Report has this to say about Silver Dollar City:

"Silver Dollar City boasts both a theme park and a water park within 10 miles of the shows and attractions in downtown Branson, Missouri. The 1880s-inspired theme park itself features almost 40 rides and attractions, including spinning coasters, drop rides, swing rides and more. The White Water water park is home to 13 acres of water rides, slides, a 500,000-gallon wave pool, and a lazy river."

Additionally, their commentary cites its operating schedule, as well as their Silver Dollar City Campground as reasons why the park is one of America's best.

Opening in May of 1960 Silver Dollar City has entertained families for generations in its 1880s-style theme park nestled in the Ozark Mountains. The theme park has won international awards for excellence in theme, presentation, and operations.

Awards in those areas are unique in this day and age where many of the themed elements and presentation at parks like  Worlds of Fun or Six Flags have been deemphasized over the last 20 years or so.

Silver Dollar City opens for the season on March 11, 2023, and this year will be the last year for folks to ride the original Fire In The Hole, which the theme park says is the world's most historic indoor roller coaster.

The park is closing the attraction after this season as the theme park embarks on a plan of unprecedented growth planned for the next 10 years at Silver Dollar City's Barnason properties.

I wouldn't count Fire In The Hole out, I suspect, based on the tone of the release and use of the word original before Fire In The Hole, that something inspired and closely related to the iconic coaster will be part of the expansion plans.

U.S. News and World Report naming the park one of the 17 best in the United States and Fire In The Hole's last hurrah only make me want to visit this amusement park more than I have before.

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