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Five of the best amusement parks in Maryland and Virginia

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@SixFlagsDC

Five of the best amusement parks in Maryland and Virginia

There is nothing like the anticipation of waiting in line for the biggest roller coaster at an amusement park.

The screams. The smell of fried food. The rumble of a coaster carts careening down the tracks. All of it comes together in a harmony that so many love.

There are plenty of amusement parks near D.C. that can fill your empty summer days. We have five of the best ones here:

Six Flags America (Upper Marlboro, MD):

This Six Flags amusement park has 'America' tacked onto its name due to its proximity to the nation's capital, situated less than 20 miles east of D.C. The park boasts 54 attractions, including nine roller coasters and 15 kiddie rides. You will also find six themed sections, such as Looney Toons Movie Town for children under six. The newest coaster, the Ragin' Cajun, which opened in 2014, can be found in the Mardi Gras section. The ride is a unique approach to modern coastering, according to the park's website, and its 1,378 feet of track features 360 degree spins.

Park goers also have access to Hurricane Harbor, a water park within the grounds, for no additional charge. If it happens to be a hot day, you can take advantage of numerous slides and other water attractions, including Wahoo River which debuted last summer.

If you want to take a break from all the rides and high-paced action, Six Flags America offers plenty of shows and musical acts too. The park also hosts seasonal events, including Spring Break, Fourth of July and Halloween.

Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA):

If you don't mind traveling further out of town, about 75 miles south of D.C., this 400-acre park might be the place for you. With its 60 shows, rides and attractions, including 12 rollercoasters, there might be even more to fill your time than Six Flags America. The park's name comes from the combination of its sister park 'King Island' and the nickname of Virginia 'Old Dominion.'

Kings Dominion boasts one of the tallest and fastest coasters on the east coast, according to its website, as the Intimidator 305 takes you up 305 feet before it plummets you to earth at an 80-degree angle at 90 miles per hour. If roller coasters are not your thing or you have children with you, Planet Snoopy is where you will want to aim for. The rides are not too fast and do not go upside down, and there will be plenty of Peanuts characters to snag a photo with.

Like the previous park, Kings Dominion has its own water park. Soak City spans 20 acres and features plenty of slides, splash pads, wave pools and a lazy river.

Adventure Park USA (Monrovia, MD):

Situated about 40 miles north of D.C., this western theme park is smaller and newer than the previous two amusement parks. Opened in 2005, it features both indoor and outdoor activities, including 21 rides and attractions. Indoor activities are open year-round and include laser tag, arcade games, rockwall climbing, bumper cars and a ropes course. Outdoor activities are open during the summer and include mini golf, go-karts and several rides. One of the park's three roller coasters the Wild West Express is 53 feet tall and features tight turns and drops.

Fun Land of Fredricksburg (Fredricksburg, VA):

Going in the opposite direction, Fun Land is situated about 50 miles south of D.C. The biggest attraction that sets this place apart is its brand new multi-level go-kart track. Thunder Speedway is the first of its kind in Virginia, according to Fun Land's website. Due to the attraction's novelty, the park warns of long wait times on the weekends, so plan accordingly if you can not make it during the week. The park does offer a virtual line system that will page you when your turn is coming up so that you can enjoy the rest of the park while you wait.

Like Adventure Park USA, Fun Land features both indoor and outdoor activities. Attractions include a mini Ferris-wheel and rides, laser tag, go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, mini bowling, rockwall climbing and bumper cars. The arcade also features over 100 video games.

SplashDown Waterpark (Manassas, VA):

Situated about 35 miles southwest of D.C., this place is all about water and is a great place to hang out on a hot summer day. Across its 13 acres, there are two pools and eight water slides, including the four-story-tall Pipeline Tower and 770-foot lazy river. There is also plenty for younger park goers. The zero-depth childrens area features bubblers, fountains and four smaller water slides. The park also hosts events like 'Mommy Mondays', where one parent gets in for half price with the purchase of a full price child ticket.

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Beyond the Scoreboard: New LPGA Tour event coming to Boca Raton, Florida in Jan. 2020

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USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: New LPGA Tour event coming to Boca Raton, Florida in Jan. 2020

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • The LPGA and Group1001 announce a new official LPGA Tour event coming to Boca Raton, Florida in January, 2020. The first edition of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio will be held January 20-26 at Boca Rio Golf Club. The event will feature a 108-player field competing for a $2 million purse over 72 holes of stroke play. Boca Rio Golf Club, founded in 1967 and designed by Robert von Hagge, is situated four miles from the Atlantic Ocean on 200 acres of native Florida wilderness with no developed real estate. “We are thrilled to support women’s professional golf and to provide a platform for the sport’s best to compete and showcase their talents,” said Dan Towriss, Group1001 CEO. The new event will be one of two LPGA Tour tournaments held in Florida in January. The year will kick off with the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions January 15-19 in Lake Buena Vista, one week prior to the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
  • It’s back to school time, and in Washington DC, Monumental and EVERFI support STEM. As students across the nation are returning to the classroom, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder and Chairman Ted Leonsis is "spearheading a multipronged effort to improve schools and fuel economic growth in the impoverished neighborhoods” around Entertainment & Sports Arena in DC’s Ward 8. According to the Washington Times, the initiative, called “Forward8,” includes “pushing for the expansion of advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics” programs in DC schools. Monumental’s Beltway neighbor, education technology leader EVERFI, is likewise proactive in community engagement, empowering more teachers, citizens, and students to get involved with game-based, incentive driven online education that fosters greater comprehension, retention, and behavior change. By bringing together the public and private sectors to change the way education is delivered, EVERFI is equipping today’s learners across the nation with the skills they need to become tomorrow’s leaders, while Monumental is leading the way toward helping improve education, the workforce of tomorrow, and the community in their own backyard.
  • Formula One has recorded a modest year-on-year rise in revenues for the second financial quarter of 2019, going from $585 million in 2018 to $620 million in its latest financial filing. Operating income rose from $14 million to $26 million over the same period, according to SportsPro. The global motor sport series’ ten teams also saw an increase in their combined payments between April and June from $307 million to $335 million, with the figure directly linked to the overall revenue increase. Formula One’s owners Liberty Media in a statement further explained the overall change in revenues: “Broadcast revenue increased primarily due to contractual rate increases. Advertising and sponsorship revenue increased due to revenue from new sponsorship agreements entered into beginning in the second half of 2018. Other Formula One revenue decreased in the second quarter primarily due to the mix of races, which resulted in lower TV production and Paddock Club revenue.” Formula One CEO Chase Carey also told investors that Liberty Media is making “good headway” in its moves to add a second race in the U.S. Miami and Las Vegas remain the two potential landing cities.

Virginia's first LLWS appearance in 25 years rests on defense, luck and pitching depth

Virginia's first LLWS appearance in 25 years rests on defense, luck and pitching depth

The last time a Virginia team qualified for a spot at the Little League World Series was 1994. This was also the year Disney released the original Lion King and Forrest Gump made his monumental run around the United States. 

Twenty-five years later, the Loudon South Little League team will be making their run (or hopefully, runs) around the bases. 

It all started back in South Riding, Va., where the team won 16 consecutive games to take the Southeast Region tournament title. Pitcher Justin Lee fell to his knees after the final out of game 16, where Loudoun South dominated Peachtree City, Ga. 12-2, and advanced themselves to the Little League World Series. 

Led by head coach Alan Bowden, this experience had been a dream for both the players and the coach. Bowden's father played in the Little League World Series 65 years ago, he's told reporters, and he told PennLive that now coaching his son in the tournament is a dream.

“I know I talk with my dad about his experience a couple times a year,” Bowden told PennLive. “Just being here and meeting all these international teams and other teams from around the country is really special.”

The team entered their first LLWS game against New England's Barrington Little League team on Friday, August 16th. With tenacity and what appeared to be just sheer coolness, the Southeast regional champions completed the 52nd no-hitter in LLWS history, crushing the Rhode Island team 3-0

Bowden credited the team's defense and depth according to LittleLeague.org.

“We pride ourselves in defense,” he said. “We practice, practice, practice defense and we feel like the real staple of our team is defense.”

Loudoun South didn't stop there. Lee returned to the mound and completed the 53rd no-hitter in LLWS history, striking out six and walking only two. The game ended shortly after as Lee and the team reached the Little League's margin-of-victory rule. 

“I have no words. It’s just, I guess sometimes you get lucky, and this week has been very fortunate for me,” Lee said according to the Washington Post after the victory. “I’ve been getting to meet a lot of cool people. This whole thing, being here is all great, and getting to throw two no-hitters feels amazing.”

The Virginia team's next matchup will be against West champions Hawaii. Central East Maui baseball team most recently completed a 6-0 victory over Elizabeth, N.J. on Monday.

"I'm really really proud of the kids. The way they've executed and the way they've pushed down the media and the big crowd and just gone out and done their job," Bowden told reporters after their last win. "I have told them, you know look around enjoy the moment this is the biggest game of your life but it's still the same game you play back at home ... and they've done a fantastic job of staying focused. And I've never been prouder of a group of kids."

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