When the summer amusement park season arrives, the buzz is all about the coolest coasters, the latest thrills and the most wondrous immersive experiences. Massive theme parks' high-tech enticements come with hefty admission fees and impatient crowds, though, and undue pressure to make every moment magical can leave a family frazzled.
Although the number of old-fashioned amusement parks in America has dwindled, those that have defied economic forces are not only affordable alternatives to the mega-parks, they're guardians of simple pleasures that even the most interactive video game system can't replicate. Whether it's the rackety clack of a wooden roller coaster or the reassuring voice of Mr. Rogers, the breathtaking views from an ocean-side Ferris wheel or the frigid sensation of touching the North Pole, these old-time parks' immutable charms transcend generations. When kids clamor for Disney, introduce them to the joys of low-tech parks. Read on to see where you can find them.