Two local moms tell how to make the most of a trip to Kings Island with the kids.
Local mom Karen Talley’s been going to Kings Island since 1985. She’s a roller coaster aficionado who has gleefully soared the Diamondback more than 5,000 times and The Beast more than 8,000! But Talley says take the park slowly at first with little kids, and enjoy the simpler rides.
Parents with children 10 and younger should head to Planet Snoopy, the children’s area, says Talley. Bring extra snacks, water and a spare outfit for each of your children in case of spills or water ride soakage.
Start little children on the smaller rides. After they’re old enough and comfortable with Woodstock Express — the area’s biggest children’s coaster — they can be introduced to the park’s tamer adult coasters, but be sensitive to kids who are anxious about riding the bigger rides.
“I would never force a child to ride a ride if they didn’t want to,” Talley says. “Don’t do it. I’ve seen parents do it and it’s disastrous. Kids become afraid. Ask them. If they say no, don’t push them,” Talley says. “They will do it when they get older and when they see other older kids do it.”
Local mom Lesley Chambers also visits Kings Island regularly with her kids. She says the best time to avoid long lines is early in the summer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can also avoid crowds on drizzly days when many families stay away from the park.
Chambers has a few time and money saving strategies of her own: “Have your kids measured and get them wrist bands when you first arrive at the station by the entrance,” she says. She recommends that parents spring for the souvenir cups because the discounted refills make drinks much cheaper. Feed the kids before going, then bring healthy snacks with you, especially for toddlers and babies waiting for older kids on rides. You can opt for the All Day Dining Plan that lets you choose from one of several entrees and a side item at participating locales in the park (cost is $29.99 per person) but be aware it does not include drinks!
Chamber’s family loves the dry park, but they love Soak City, Kings Island’s water park, too. Wear bathing suits under your clothes, Chambers says — and check little one’s swim diapers often!
Plan on making a day of it and staying at the park for the fireworks show that takes place after closing.
For late riders still trying to get in just one more ride before closing, Chambers suggests a timing game: have the different older people in your group get in different lines just before closing, she says. “Because everyone in the line gets to ride even after they close!”
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason • 513-754-5700
• The 2014 season runs April 18 thru November 2. Operating hours and more are available online.
• Admission tickets are available for different pricing based on day and time that you go. Pricing starts at $36.99 a day for a child; $43.99 a day for an adult. Fast Lane passes (the wristband that allows you to bypass regular lines) is available for an additional $55 (most rides) or $70 (all rides) per day, per person.
• Season passes are available in Regular ($106 or $84 depending on age/height); Gold ($117 or $90 depending on age/height) or Platinum ($192 or $132 depending on age/height). Different levels of season passes include different perks — see what you get and purchase passes at visitkingsisland.com.
THE BANSHEE! (pictured above) The world’s longest inverted roller coaster has 4124.1 feet of track, seven inversions, a 167-foot lift, a curved first drop of 150 feet, and runs up to 68 miles per hour. The ride layout features the elements of batwing, carousel, curved drop, dive loop, in-line-roll, looping interacting with the lift, outside loop, spiral, and zero-gravity roll.Charles Infosino is a local writer.