We didn’t actually do much by way of fun during our 2nd week of summer break because Adam had surgery. We did manage to sneak in a trip to Kings Island though. One of our favorite places! Cost: $36.99/child; $43.99/adult (if bought online in advance. You can also find discounted tickets at Kroger)
What to bring: Swimsuits and towels for the waterpark
A few tips for toting a baby/toddler and kids around Kings Island…
- Baby Care/Nursing Mother’s Station: There is station provided for nursing mothers in the Planet Snoopy area. Included is a section with rocking chairs for nursing/pumping, as well as another area with high chairs and diaper changing tables for taking care of little ones. There is even a refrigerator there for storing milk. I would pump, label my milk and stick it in the fridge until it was time to go. Super convenient. They also have a room with coloring pages and a TV to entertain older siblings. When I was nursing my baby last summer, I felt perfectly comfortable using the facility and allowing my 6 year-olds to sit in the child waiting area. It was actually a nice break for them to sit in the air conditioning and watch a cartoon.
- Parent Swap: This is great for parents who want to ride big coasters. Stop by Guest Services on the way in and fill out the Parent Swap form. Parent Swap allows one parent to wait in line for a ride while the other parent stays with the kiddos. When the first parent is done riding then the second parent can enter through the exit and get right on the ride without waiting.
- KidTrack: At Guest Services you can get a parent locator wristband for your children. It will have your phone number written on it so that if anyone gets separated, you can be easily contacted.
- Height Restrictions: If you have young ones well below 54 inches, then be sure to stop by a height measuring station to get a bracelet. Bracelets are color coded according to height. This really cuts a lot of hassle, especially if your child is borderline for a height requirement, because the ride attendants won’t have to check their height every time they get on a ride. Just show them the bracelet! Measuring stations are located by the front gate and in the beginning of Planet Snoopy by Boo Blasters.
- Rides: Kings Island has a fantastic children’s area – Planet Snoopy. My 7 year-olds love the 3 roller coasters and Surf Dog. Little Adam loves Peanuts 500, Boo Blasters and Linus’ Beetle Bugs.
The roller coaster, Woodstock Express, has two height restrictions – one to ride with an adult and one to ride alone. If you have more children who don’t meet the “ride alone” height requirement than you have adults to ride with, or if you have a toddler that doesn’t meet either requirement, then the ride has a locked fenced area for waiting children located right by the ride attendant. The child(ren) can wait in the “cage” (as we call it) while everyone else rides and then switch without waiting in line again. Boo Blasters is air conditioned and is a great ride to go on if you want to escape the heat. The line for Woodstock Whirlybirds moves SO slow. If you’re there on a crowded day and the line is long, then skip this ride. It looks like a fun ride and I guarantee your kids will want to ride it, but it is not worth a long wait.
- Food: As with any amusement park, you might spend a fortune on food. Kings Island has many non-amusement park food chains like Chik-Fil-A, Skyline chili, LaRosa’s Pizza, etc. but they are all priced much higher than you would find outside of the park. The best deal is probably LaRosa’s Pizza. We buy a whole pizza and it’s not too much more expensive than we would pay for pizza at home. Another good deal is the popcorn bucket. There’s a snack stand in the kiddie area where you can buy a bucket of popcorn for $7 or so. You can refill the bucket with popcorn or cotton candy for $0.99 all day. They’ve even let me buy 3 bags of cotton candy in one transaction for $0.99 each. It’s much less expensive than $5 ice cream cones (although the blue ice cream is wonderful and worth the splurge). You can also purchase a souvenir cup which has $0.99 refills. The original purchase price is pricey, but if you have many mouths to feed then it’s probably worth it. Another option is water. The park offers free cups of water at all concession stands. If you bring sippy cups for the kids from home then you can refill them with water all day.
- Rest: If you have a small one then take breaks! If your toddler is used to having a nap every day then it might even be worth it to take a longer break outside of the park for lunch. This will also save you money by not purchasing expensive park food. Another option for a break is to take in a show. Kings Island has a lot of great shows, some of which will easily entertain little ones. There is a Peanuts gang show especially for kids in the Planet snoopy area.
- Games: If your kids are like mine then they are always begging you to waste money on games. I hate it! There is a trick to winning, however. If you find one of the water gun bullseye games that has no other competitors waiting then you can have your children play against each other. It’s guaranteed that one of your children will win a prize because they’re the only ones playing. 🙂 Another option is to play the Spin-The-Wheel game which has a guaranteed winner every time.
- When to go: Weekdays will obviously be less crowded. I’ve found the Mondays-Wednesdays are the best days to visit.
- Soak City: This waterpark really deserves more than one little bullet but I’m getting tired of writing. The only thing I don’t like about it: If your child is less than 48 inches then they have to wear a life jacket in the lazy river, wave pool and some of the slides. My boys have been swimming on their own since they were 3 but they are also small for their age. They are 7 1/2 and still less than 48 inches tall. They despise having to wear the life vests and refuse to go on the things that require them (I can’t say I blame them). Other than that, Kings Island has a great waterpark. Lookout Lagoon and Aruba Tuba are great places to play if you have children of a variety of ages. The lazy river is newly remodeled and really fun, but again, my older boys won’t ride it because of the life jacket rule. Their favorite slide (and mine) is the racer slide, Rendezvous Run. The family slide, Zoom Flume, is really popular but, honestly, I don’t think it’s worth a long wait. It’s not that great compared to other family slides I’ve been on. My boys absolute favorite thing to do in the waterpark is the Pipeline Paradise where they get to surf “real” waves. It’s awesome.
- Dinosaurs Alive!: Dinosaurs Alive is the worlds largest animatronic dinosaur park. If you have a dinosaur lover in your family then this is a must see. The dinosaurs are very realistic and you can even interact with some of them by pushing buttons to move different parts of their bodies. At the end, there is a dino dig. Warning: if you have a toddler then think twice about bringing him/her. I took my two year-old through it and he covered his eyes the whole time:
I kept telling him that the dinosaurs were nice but I don’t think he believed me. 🙂 He was pretty scared. Also note that there is an extra cost for this; however, the more tickets you buy, the less expensive. $6 for 1, 2 for $4, 3 for $3, 4 for $2.50 each.
Overall, Kings Island is a fantastic way to spend a day or weekend in Southwest Ohio. We get a season pass every year and never tire of going. Lots of thrills, laughs and family memories!