Located near Mason, Ohio, Kings Island is a 364-acre amusement park operated by the Cedar Fair corporation, offering a variety of high, mild, and family thrill rides along with a 33-acre water park.
Kings Island, Ohio was initially conceived as a theme park in response to the 1964 flooding of Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park, which caused significant damage to the park’s rides and attractions. Discussions of relocating the park led to the proposal of a new theme park by Gary Wachs, the son of Coney Island’s president and CEO. Plans for park development were stalled until 1968, with the announced development of a new theme park in the northern Kentucky region that would serve as a major competitor for Coney Island. Wachs entered into a business deal with Taft Broadcasting Company, the owners of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon franchise, to purchase a 1,600-acre plot of land in Warren County, Ohio near the suburb of Kings Mills. Though Coney Island’s proposed competitor park in Kentucky was never developed, construction on the new theme park began in 1970, with a community naming contest dubbing it Kings Island. Rides from the former Coney Island park were transferred to the park site over the following two years, with the new theme park officially opening to the public in April of 1972.
Throughout the early 1970s, the park gained national prominence after it was featured in episodes of the family sitcoms The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. Several world-record-breaking events were recorded at the park during its first decade of operation, including a 133-foot Harley Davidson jump by famed stunt artist Evel Knievel. The park’s Beast roller coaster, opened in 1979, also made headlines for breaking wooden coaster height and length records. The park experienced a downturn in the 1980s as the result of several management sales and the high-profile failure of its Bat roller coaster, but in 1992, the park was purchased by Paramount Communications, Inc. and rebranded as Paramount’s Kings Island, including a rebranding of its Hanna-Barbera Land children’s area to incorporate Nickelodeon characters and themes. In 2006, Paramount disbanded its theme park division following the split between its parent corporations Viacom and CBS, and the park was sold to Cedar Fair, the owner of Ohio’s Cedar Point and Geauga Lake theme parks.
Rides and Attractions
Today, Kings Island is owned and operated by Cedar Fair and is the second-most-visited amusement park in the United States behind Cedar Point, receiving an annual visitorship of over 3.38 million visitors. It has won a number of major industry amusement awards throughout its operation, including the Amusement Today Golden Ticket Award for Best Kids’ Area for 17 consecutive years between 2001 and 2017. More than 100 rides and attractions are offered throughout the park, including 15 high, mild, and family thrill roller coasters.
Major roller coasters at the park include The Beast, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. The coaster’s 7,359-foot-long track spans 35 acres of densely forested terrain and reaches maximum speeds of up to 65 miles per hours. The park’s newest coaster, Mystic Timbers, was voted as the Best New Ride of 2017 by Amusement Today and reaches top speeds of 53 miles per hour along its 3,265-foot track, while the park’s tallest and fastest coaster, Diamondback, offers a 215-foot initial drop at a 74-degree angle, reaching speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. The park’s classic Racer wooden dual-track coaster features forward and backward rides on a track designed by legendary coaster designer John C. Allen and was awarded the Roller Coaster Landmark award by the American Coaster Enthusiasts. Steel coasters at the park include the six-inversion Vortex coaster, the suspended Firehawk and Banshee coasters, and the indoor dark coaster Flight of Fear. Family coasters include the mine-train-themed Adventure Express and the Backlot Stunt Coaster.
A variety of high thrill rides are offered at the park, including the Delirium giant pendulum ride, the 315-foot Gyro-style Drop Tower, the largest of its kind in the world, and the WindSeeker giant wave swinger ride. Water rides include the flatboat Congo Falls ride and the White Water Canyon whitewater rafting ride, while classic midway rides include Zephyr wave swings, Monster and Scrambler rides, and the 80-foot-arc giant Viking Boat. The park’s replica Eiffel Tower, a ?-scale replica of the Paris original, serves as a regional landmark, offering elevator rides to an observation tower deck. A Planet Snoopy children’s ride area features a variety of miniature coasters and family rides themed around the classic Peanuts characters by Charles Schulz, while more than 50 water rides and attractions are offered at the park’s Soak City water park.
Live entertainment is offered daily at the park, including a variety of stage shows featuring local and regional talent and nightly fireworks shows at the park’s closing. Dining options throughout the park include a large Oktoberfest-style Bier Garten and local Cincinnati food chains La Rosa’s Pizza and Skyline Chili. Annual special events at the park include a Fourth of July Spectacular, a Great Pumpkin Festival at Halloween, and the holiday WinterFest celebration. The park is also the host of the annual Spirit Song festival, a three-day contemporary Christian music festival.
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