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Get out for day of play at Paramount's Great America

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Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 10:00 pm

Destination: Paramount's Great America, Santa Clara

Overall rating: *** (out of five)

Rating for kids: *****

Rating for seniors: ****

What's the attraction: Rollercoasters, carousels, live concerts and a water park are just some of the reasons to visit the park.

What to do: Whether you're six or 60, there is bound to be something at Paramount's Great America that you'll enjoy.

If you're the type that likes a great thrill ride, the park boasts nine rides that will bring you screaming back for more. There are classic coasters like The Grizzly and The Demon. Some of the newer rides for the extreme enthusiast include Invertigo, Drop Zone - where visitors are dropped 22 stories in less than four seconds - and a personal favorite, Psycho Mouse (tame enough for a 6-year-old, but wild enough for the older crowd.

New to the park this year is the Survivor ride, based on the hit reality TV show. Riders sit facing outward on a large flying-saucer-style disc. The disc begins to spin clockwise while moving back and forth over a large "W"-shaped track. If you don't scream loud enough, jets of water spray out of tribal masks, dousing you.

There are plenty of family rides for those with something tamer in mind, and many entertainment venues including a carnival-style midway with games and prizes.

If you visit during hotter weather, consider bringing your swimsuit. Paramount's Great America claims to be the only theme park in California with a complete, built-in water park.

Wear comfortable shoes and plenty of sun block. The wait times for rides can sometimes reach in excess of 30 to 40 minutes. If you're not a fan of crowds or people having fun, then this isn't the place for you.

Cost: Adult admission (ages 7-59) $49.99; children and seniors (ages 3-6, 60+) $33.99; children 2 and under are free. If you purchase your tickets online, you can save up to 30 percent. Take plenty of cash for souveniers. Food is available at various spots throughout the park. However expect to pay premium prices for food that is simply okay.

Directions: Paramount's Great America is located at 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara.

For more information and a complete list of events and rides visit the park's Web site at http://www.pgathrills.com">http://www.pgathrills.com or call (408) 988-1776, ext. 8858.

Marc Lutz is the News-Sentinel media specialist and cartoonist.

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