King’s Island

King's Island

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.

3 Responses to “King’s Island”

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  1. Jason says:

    My dad grew up in Ohio, and every year, up until we moved to Cincinnati in 1996, we went on vacation there(Cincinnati). Every year, the big highlight for my brother and I was the Cincinnati Zoo and King’s Island. My dad would give us some spending money, tell us what time to meet under the Eiffel Tower(usually for lunch and then again later on in the day), and send us off with our cousins. Up until I was about 12, I didn’t like roller coasters that had loops in them, my brother loved them. When the Vortex first opened my brother went on and my dad bought him these Vortex sunglasses(they looked like the old ones Bret “The Hitman” Hart used to wear), and he wore those like a badge of honor. It wasn’t long until I started to ride the coasters, and I still ride them and love to ride coasters to this day.
    I went to my family reunion last year in Cincinnati, and was able to take my wife to King’s Island for the first time. It had been at least 15 years since I was last there. Although names change, and new attractions pop up, I still knew my way around the park(I also worked there for a week during the year I lived out there). It’s still a lot of fun, and I would highly recommend going if you love roller coasters or amusement parks in general.

    Here’s the link to the post I wrote after we returned from Cincinnati last year(I got a lot of nice pictures).
    http://jasonvorhees.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/cincinnati-vacation-part-1/

  2. Never been to King’s Island, though would love to check it out–have been to most of the other parks, including Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom (used to be called Walt Disney World), Valleyfair (in Minnesota), and Cedar Point–my all-time fave. It has its share of great rides, including the Mean Streak, Millenium Force, Corkscrew, Iron Dragon and Gemini. If you’re into coasters, go this summer, you’ll love it!

  3. Shelly says:

    I grew up around Kings Island – had a season pass every year as a kid and worked there (UGH- *really* not as fun as it sounds) as a teen. I still love it and go when I can when I visit my family in the summer.

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