Three new reasons to go to a Chicago-area amusement park this summer

Thrill seekers and animal lovers alike will have more to do this summer thanks to the new additions at three of the area’s largest amusement parks.

New animals

Stella, Rose and Han will be the new stars at Illinois’ largest water park, Raging Waves, this summer. The three sea lions will perform three times a day June 1-Aug. 11. The show, with two 30,000 gallon pools, a stage and some behind-the-scenes fun for visitors, will be free with admission.

“It’s going to be a really neat show,” says Raging Waves’ Dan Mulka.

Also new this year is the Case New Holland Outback Road Rally, a 430-foot pedal bike cart track where up to eight people can race against each other. It also is free with admission. One event not to miss is the Father’s Day 500 time trial, Mulka says.

New show

This year will be a big year for Six Flags Great America, which will see its 100 millionth guest come through its gates. It also is going high tech with a new finale show. Using six HD projectors on a 50-foot stage, along with pyrotechnics, lasers and about a dozen performers, igNight tells the story of the Great Chicago Fire and modern day Chicago, says Katy Enrique, communications manager at Six Flags. Premiering June 14, it will be the largest show of its kind in the world, she says.

Plus, fan favorite Batman the Ride gets a different spin for a limited time. Backwards. There might be other surprises throughout the summer, Enrique hints.

New coaster

The Wildcat Roller Coaster is just what Santa’s Village Azoosment Park had on its wish list. The four-story-tall, 2,000-foot lime green, yellow and purple steel roller coaster in the Country Grove area of the park will appeal to slightly older kids and parents, says Jill Mengo, director of Marketing& Public Relations at the amusement park. The park also is adding a new bumper car pavilion nearby.

“The park is looking really spectacular,” Mengo says. “It’s a labor of love to get this park back in shape and welcoming everyone.” The park will stay open later on Fridays and Saturdays in July for wildcat weekends to celebrate the new coaster.

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