Folks living in the Midwestern United States needn’t make a long trek to Florida or California to get their amusement park fix. Opening its gates in 1972, King’s Island, located just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been thrilling visitors of all ages for almost 40 years. With its well-kept grounds, an arsenal of top-notch roller coasters, and numerous movie and television tie-in attractions, King’s Island has been putting smiles on the faces of locals and tourists alike, who visit the park each year by the millions.
Upon opening, it didn’t take very long for King’s Island to receive national exposure, thanks to the park being featured in two popular television series in the early 70s – The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. Both shows just happened to be produced by Paramount, who was also an investor in the amusement park. The Brady Bunch offered the most extensive look at King’s Island, with the entire Brady clan accompanying dad on a business trip to an (unnamed) amusement park. You might recall that, thanks to a mix-up, the kids managed to lose a cardboard tube containing their dad’s important architectural drawings. While they frantically searched the park for this tube, television viewers got a detailed look at the new tourist attraction. Two years later, in 1975, celebrated daredevil, Evel Knievel, successfully jumped his motorcycle over 14 Greyhound buses at King’s Island which was viewed by millions on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
While this national exposure certainly put King’s Island on the map, it is the extensive collection of roller coasters that has brought millions of visitors through the gates over the years. Considered the fastest roller coaster in existence in the 70s, the twin-tracked Racer has been turning the stomachs of riders for over three decades. Other coasters soon followed, including The Beast, which opened in 1979 and still holds the record as the world’s longest wooden roller coaster. Currently there are 14 coasters in the park, including recent additions such as Firehawk (a flying roller coaster), Diamond Back and Flight Deck, a suspended coaster themed around the movie Top Gun. Other coasters include Vortex, Adventure Express, Invertigo, Flight of Fear and the Backlot Stunt Coaster. For roller coaster enthusiasts around the globe, King’s Island remains high on the must-visit list.
King’s Island has extensive ties to the film and movie industry. For many years, younger visitors spent their time in Hanna-Barbera Land, which later became Nickelodeon’s Splat City, and was recently replaced by Planet Snoopy, featuring all of the favorite Peanuts characters. In addition, numerous rides have been linked to movies over the years, such as the aforementioned Top Gun, as well as The Italian Job, Tomb Raider, Days of Thunder, Congo and Drop Zone. And for fans of Saturday morning cartoons, Hanna-Barbera Land paid homage to numerous retro cartoon characters including Atom Ant, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Quick Draw McGraw, The Flintstones, and many others. In 2001, the park introduced a roller coaster geared towards younger kids, called the Flying Ace Aerial Chase.
With a reproduction of the Eiffel Tower as the park’s centerpiece, the 364 acres of rides and attractions at King’s Island have been entertaining guests of all ages for decades, with no signs of slowing down. Sure, one could pack up the family and head to one of the Disney parks on either coast, but King’s Island will always have a steady stream of loyal fans and coaster enthusiasts, who see no need to travel great distances when they have a jewel right in their own backyard.
If you one of the millions who have enjoyed a day at King’s Island, we’d love to hear you share your memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this thrilling theme park that has been delighting guests for almost 40 years.