Entertaining visitors and residents for decades, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is the most diverse amusement park in the Bay Area. Drawing hundreds of thousands of people annually, it’s the only theme park in Northern California to combine rides, marine life and wildlife. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom provides one of the best family experiences in the Bay Area and is less than 35 miles from either San Francisco or Oakland.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
1001 Fairgrounds Drive
Vallejo, CA 94589
First opened in 1968 as Marine World in Redwood City, the theme park moved to its current location in Vallejo in 1985 and opened the following year. The 135-acre park is now open year round and is available for special events and VIP tours.
Six Flags Discovery maintains a list of park policies in order to provide a family-friendly environment. Guest Relations services include a guide for guests with disabilities, park security and a lost children area. Other park services include four ATMs with convenient locations, Lost and Found and a First Aid station. Among the featured events held at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are live music concerts, dance championships, Grad Nite and holiday events.
Visitors from San Francisco or Oakland can take Highway 80 eastbound to the Highway 37 exit. Alternatively, visitors from San Francisco can take Highway 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, then eastbound on Highway 37. Marin or Santa Rosa visitors take Highway 101 southbound to Highway 37 eastbound and Napa Valley visitors take Highway 29 south to Highway 37. Visitors from Sacramento can take Highway 80 westbound to the Discovery Kingdom exit. Public transportation options include ferry rides (Blue and Gold Fleet, San Francisco Bay Ferry) between San Francisco and the Vallejo Ferry Terminal, with connecting service on Soltrans’ route 5, Martinez Amtrak station with connections on the Thruway Shuttle, connecting transportation from the Cerrito Del Norte BART station and Greyhound lines with connecting service on Soltrans’ route 5 from the Vallejo Transit Center. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is located 38 miles from the Oakland International Airport and 47 miles from San Francisco International Airport.
Hours and Price
Now open year round, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom posts an operating calendar and pricing and admission information on its official website. Weekend hours are extended during the summer months. Single-visit tickets may be purchased at the park entrance or online. Advance parking, group tickets, season passes and Six Flags memberships are also available online. Additional admission services for group sales and seasons passes are available inside the park.
Dining, Shops and Entertainment
The park has 21 restaurants, nine shops, live entertainment and animal encounters. Popular choices for dining include California Crepes, JB’s Smokehouse BBQ, Macho Nacho Burritos and Oasis Club for beer and wine. Shoppers can purchase apparel, toys, jewelry souvenirs, candy and chocolates and other items. Live entertainment includes a dolphin show at the Toyota Stadium, a presentation of mammal, birds and reptiles at Wildlife Theater, colorful bird species at Bird Theater and an entertaining sea lion show. Featured animal encounters include the opportunity to swim with dolphins, a behind the scenes guided walking tour and chance to interact with a giraffe.
Park rides are available in three categories – thrill rides, family rides and kids, including some with height restrictions. Among the top attractions are Medusa, the longest and highest roller coaster in Northern California, Superman Ultimate Flight reaching 62 miles per hour in mere seconds and V2: Vertical Velocity, capable of reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour in less than four seconds. Among the favorite family rides are Monsoon Falls, Thunder Road Speedway Go-Karts and the Wave Swinger. There’s also a nice selection of kids rides, such as Bug’s Buccaneer, Daffy’s Deep Sea Diver, Safari Jeep Tours and Zoe’ Tree House.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.