Local moms offer advice and tips for successfully navigating an amusement park with your kids. Plus, what’s new at water parks!
“Mother Knows Best” is not just a song from the Disney movie Tangled. Mothers are the glue that holds families together and usually offer the best advice for family trips. We asked several moms for tips on how to make the most of a trip to Kings Island or The Beach Waterpark with kids ranging in age from 4 to 14.
Moms Know Best
With different kids of various ages, families sometimes have to act like Scooby-Doo and the gang and split up — looking for clues is optional, of course. Local mother Jamie Mack says, “I have an 18-year-old and a 3-year-old, so we do this often. You have to make some compromises and do some splitting up.”
“The best solution is finding another family with kids of similar ages, so there can be regrouping. Mine aren’t teens yet, just tween, and so they still have only a limited circle of freedom. I will walk them to a coaster and then choose something nearby for me and the little one to enjoy. The tweens meet up with me before moving on to another ride,” Andrea Herd Bell, a mother from Lebanon, says. “Or if we are with another family, one mom can hang with the tweens and one with the tots, then meet and switch. I hate to say it, but cell phones are useful for the tweens in this circumstance.”
What about parents who also enjoy the rides at Kings Island? “Parent swap! If you go to customer service they give you a card with the roller coaster rides on it and one parent can go through and wait the line and then ride a roller coaster while the other does something fun with the toddler,” Mary Edwards, a mother from Maineville, advises. “Then when the parent riding the roller coaster is done, he/she hands the other parent the paper and that parent can then enter the ride through the exit and get right on the roller coaster.”
Tiffany Noth, founder of Bloggy Moms & Bloggy Conference, offers lots of motherly tips for a day at Kings Island. She encourages families to do their due diligence before visiting the park. “Plan your day before you arrive. Throughout the season, you’ll find various shows and events that you and your children may enjoy,” Noth says. “Hop on Kings Island’s site to see what activities are happening and which events you don’t want to miss. While you’re on the site, check out the meal deals and the dining options available. Don’t forget to stop by the ice cream stands near Banshee and located in Planet Snoopy!”
She recommends parents check out the rider height requirements before visiting the park or as soon they arrive. Parents should grab a map on the way in to check out which rides their little riders are able to enjoy. Height measurement stations are conveniently located at Guest Services, just inside the front gate and inside Planet Snoopy kids’ area.
Noth gives health and safety tips, too. She says, “Wear sunscreen!” If you forget to bring sunscreen with you, Kings Island has several shops where you can purchase it.
“Stay hydrated,” Noth urges. “Our favorite method for staying well-hydrated has been purchasing a souvenir bottle and rotating the refilling of it throughout the day with our favorite drinks, including water.”
Kelly Ralston of Mason grew up in Northeast Ohio and has plenty of fond memories of visiting Cedar Point. “When my husband and I first moved to Mason 15 years ago, we were thrilled to have a theme park so close to our back door.” Ralston soon discovered visiting the park with four little ones didn’t give the grown-ups much opportunity to enjoy their favorite rides, but trips to Kings Island were still on the calendar. As the kids grew older and more independent, Ralston says they enjoyed more of the park and bought season passes, especially once all of the kids were ready to ride. “As they get older we go more often, or now just drop the kids off and the grown-ups stay home and relax. My kids love this park so much that the two oldest now work there. It’s possible to enjoy the park with multiple aged kids going in different directions,” she says, “you just need to find what works for you.”
Kings Island is now in its 44th season. The park, which is most famous for its 15 roller coasters and award-winning children’s area, is expanding its Soak City Waterpark. Soak City, which opens on Saturday, May 28, will debut its latest attraction, Tropical Plunge — a 65-foot tall complex featuring six waterslides. Three of the slides require guests to climb inside an Aqua-Launch chamber, where they wait for the floor to drop out from underneath them. The slides will send the thrill-seekers into a high-speed, almost vertical free fall through a series of flat loops and S-curves in a translucent flume. One of the six slides will send guests twisting and spiraling through an enclosed chute featuring four 360-degree loops across 449 feet of slide before splashing into a pool of water. The other two water slides are dueling 337-foot long tube slides sehding riders through a series of drops and turns.
Kings Island is even more family friendly with the introduction of Family Care Center, built by Fischer Homes on International Street near the Eiffel Tower. The facility was designed with the style of a Fischer Home and features a covered porch. Family Care Center is a private and comfortable place where mothers can nurse, change diapers or relax. The facility is equipped with restrooms, electrical outlets, charging stations, Wi-Fi services, televisions, refrigeration and ice, and hot water.
Tech-savvy guests will appreciate that Kings Island’s mobile app features a series of enhancements to help them plan their visits to the park, like the FunPix plan ($29.99 for a single day, or $39.99 for a season pass), which allows you to be professionally photographed throughout the day on rides or with characters, and find all your photos gathered into a single collection at the end of your visit.
The Beach Waterpark will open for the season on Saturday, May 21. Beach-goers can soar high above the wave pool on a zip line and enjoy thrill-inducing slides or just chill by the pool. A kids’ play area, a heated wave pool, birthday parties, an arcade, and even swimming lessons are all part of the summer fun. Keep an eye on the web site for special events like a Mother’s Day celebration (Sunday, June 5), Father’s Weekend (Sunday, June 19), Half-Price Wednesday (June 8 and 15), character appearances and the World’s Largest Swim Lesson (Saturday, June 18)!
Coney Island debuts Typhoon Tower this year, a giant water play structure that features two waterslides, interactive play stations, and a 33-foot tall Hydro Storm that will soak visitors with more than 1,300 gallons of water.
No matter the age of your gang, you’ll find plenty to do at area parks to keep everyone satisfied all summer long!
The Beach Waterpark
2590 Waterpark Drive
Mason, Ohio • 513-398-7946
Season begins Saturday, May 21 and is open through Sunday, Sept. 11. Regular season passes are $72.99 ($90.99 to add parking); additional packages with upgrades like cabana rentals, and Bring-A-Friend Day are available and range from $159.99 – $299.99.
Birthday parties at The Beach Waterpark start at $149 for up to eight children (including the birthday child), along with two free adult tickets and a decorated table for one hour, as well as pizza, popcorn, drinks, goodie bags, online party invitations and $3 in arcade tokens per guest. Party packages can be upgraded for additional fees. Book online at thebeachwaterpark.com/groups-birthdays/birthday-packages.
Daily tickets to Sunlite Pool and Classic Rides are $13.95 ages 2 – 4, and $25.95 ages 5 and older ($16.95 after 4 p.m.). Print online for extra discounts.
Coney Island offers discounted rates for groups of 15 or more. Call 513-232-6701.
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, Ohio
513-754-5700 • visitkingsisland.com
Open now – May 7 weekends (except May 17 closed for private event), May 13 – August 21 daily, August 26 – 28 daily, September 2 – 5, September 23 – 25, September 30, and October 1 – 30 (weekends including Friday night). Regular season passes cost $111, gold season passes are $102, and platinum passes (which grant access to all Cedar Fair parks) cost $206. Buy tickets online for $42.99 and save $21.
Birthday parties at Kings Island start at $299 per party and include a party room, pizza, juice, cupcakes, a character appearance and parking passes for up to 15 guests (park admission not included). Add-ons like party bags, a face painter or tattoo artist are available for additional fees. Call 513-754-5308 to RSVP.