Ohio is home to some of the most thrilling coasters in North America, if not the world. In addition to Cedar Point’s offerings, many visitors and locals choose the expansive Kings Island Amusement & Waterpark for their adrenaline needs.
Despite the shorter seasonal operating time during the warmer months, this park welcomes over three million guests annually. With nearly 50 rides, 15 of which are roller coasters, adventure is around every corner.
Getting Around the Park
Kings Island is broken up into many different sections, as denoted by their themes, as well as entertainment offerings. Guests enter onto International Street, easily identifiable by the one-third scale replica of the Eifel Tower. This introductory section contains a dark ride, an impressive water fountain display, entertainment venues, and a carousel. If this part of the park feels a little like Disney’s parks, it’s because former layout design artist Bruce Bushman helped bring the park to life in 1972.
The aptly named Action Zone is where guests can find most of the thrill rides. These rides include most of their iconic roller coasters. On the contrary, Coney Mall is more focused on traditional carnival-style ride and game offerings.
X-Base is technically a subsection of the Coney Mall, and it is not formally recognized on the guest map. Here, there are only two rides. The flying roller coaster Firehawk and the launched coaster Flight of Fear. The Flight of Fear has been around for many years and is a local favorite.
Oktoberfest is a mock German village built to represent the traditional annual festival. Here, guests can find a few rides. These rides include a pay-per-ride slingshot and the Festhaus. Food and entertainment choices are available in The Festhuas.
For 16 consecutive years, Kings Island has won the Golden Ticket Award for best Kid’s Area, and one step inside Planet Snoopy is enough to see why. This area has one of the highest concentrations of rides in the park, some of which have been around since the original opening. In addition to a great collection of rides and playhouses, Snoopy and the Gang are visible all throughout the park.
Finally, Rivertown is a western frontier-themed area with several coasters, a slow train ride, and a river rapid ride offering. The coasters here are wooden, except for Diamondback, a hyper coaster that is arguably the most intense ride in this area.
Soak City, a 33-acre water park on the property, is a great value; admission is included with your ticket to Kings Island. But this isn’t just a neat add-on to ticket prices; Soak City is an entire day of fun in its own right.
Just a few short years ago, Kings Island completely overhauled the water park, bringing it into the modern age and expanding its offerings. Here, guests can find many rides that are exciting, as well as kid friendly. Wave pools are available for enjoyment, and if this all sounds a bit too relaxing, they have you covered with Tropical Plunge, a drop water slide that plummets you seven stories into the pool below.
How do you keep the excitement up with a smaller operating season? With a plethora of special events. Kings Island does a great job of offering a variety of different seasonal events, entertainment options, and other timed events to check out, creating a unique experience no matter when you decide to visit.
This summer (until August 20th) the park hosts their Stunt Spectacular daily, bringing classic adrenaline-fueled performances to the delighted crowds. Each day you can look forward to catching a high wire crossed on a motorcycle, the Globe of Fear stunt cage, the thrilling Wheel of Destiny, and the classic Human Cannonball. These stunts are visible on International Street with multiple show times throughout the day.
When there’s a chill in the air, you know it’s time for the annual Halloween Haunt. Friday and Saturday evenings from late September until the end of October, the park transforms into a nightmare-filled adventure. Halloween Haunt includes outdoor scare zones, special live performances, 10 haunted attractions, and more. If this sounds a bit overwhelming, you could always try and avoid the multitude of monsters and get plenty of thrills by riding some of the available coasters offered after dark.
Little ones can get in on Halloween fun as well with the simultaneous fall celebration of the Great Pumpkin Fest, which is during the same time of year as Halloween Haunt, but on Saturdays and Sundays. This far milder event includes seasonal character greetings, mazes, trick-or-treating, live shows, and more. Best of all, these kid-friendly fall offerings occur during the day.
Winterfest has been brought back, much to the delight of everyone. First the bad news; this is an event that is free for silver and gold pass holders. The good news is that this event lives up to its name with impressive light displays, live shows and carolers throughout the park, special photo ops, winter-themed rides, and more.
Over 9 Miles of Coaster Track
Kings Island may not have the current fastest or tallest coasters in the industry, but that should dissuade you from visiting. In total, visitors can enjoy over 9 miles of combined coaster tracks with a variety of different coaster styles. Whatever type of coaster experience you are looking for, you can find it at Kings Island.
The park is no stranger to earning accolades, either. Diamondback received the NAPHA award for Best New Attraction in 2009, and in 2015 it placed third in total park attendance for seasonal-operated theme parks.
Back in the 1970’s, Racer was credited with kick starting the never-ending pursuit of faster, taller coasters. Other ride offerings in Kings Island have been former world record holders, including the Beast and Banshee. In fact, some of the park’s records are still standing.
Despite a smaller operating year, Kings Island provides a ton of value for admission. If you find yourself looking for thrilling excitement and/or family fun, it doesn’t get much better than Kings Island.