Memorial Day means that summer is almost here, so it’s time to put away those sweaters and fleece jackets and break out the shorts and flip-flops.

Amusement parks within easy driving distance of Portland are gearing up for what everyone hopes will be a warm, sunny summer with a combination of thrill rides, water slides, stage shows and way too expensive food (yeah, I said it). Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular ones:

Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco opened up the Funtown part of the park on May 11. Members of the military — active members, retired members and veterans — will be admitted to the park for free on Sunday and Monday. Family members who accompany them, as well as family of deployed members of the military, will be admitted for half price. (Must show military ID or a DD-214 military record.)

The Splashtown portion of the park opens on June 15. That also happens to be Father’s Day weekend, so dads will be admitted for free as long they bring a paying guest. For more information, go to funtownusa.com.

Aquaboggan Water Park, located just down the road from Funtown Splashtown in Saco, opens for the season June 29. Celebrating its 35th year, the park offers go-carts, bumper boats, paddle boats and miniature golf in addition to the pools and water slides. For information, go to aquaboggan.com.

Palace Playland, Old Orchard Beach’s version of a beachfront boardwalk with rides, arcade games and shops, will open on Saturday, weather permitting. The park has added some new arcade games this year. For information, go to palaceplayland.com.

Story Land, located across the border in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, opens for the season on Saturday, weather permitting. Perfect for families with small children, the park will celebrate its 60th anniversary of storybook-themed attractions this year. For information, go to storylandnh.com.

Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H., opens Thursday with a special park admission of $25 — $10 off the general admission price. Children ages 3 and under always get in for free. In mid-June, Canobie will unveil the brand-new ride Equinox, which looks like a cross between a roller coaster and a giant claw. Perfect for thriller seekers; not so perfect for those with weak stomachs, like me. For information and to watch a video of Equinox in action, go to canobie.com.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: RHarmonPPH