The Largest Theme Park In The Midwest Is One You Don't Want To Miss

About 25 miles outside Cincinnati, you'll find one of the best ways to spend a sunny day in the Midwest: the Kings Island theme park. Spread out over a whopping 364 acres, you'll get to explore 100 rides and attractions, including 20 large coasters for thrill-seekers, not to mention a family-friendly zone, live entertainment, an array of carnival games reminiscent of Coney Island in Brooklyn, a water park, and plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop. 

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Not only is this classic amusement park the largest in the Midwest, but Kings Islands tops the charts on many of its attractions. For starters, it boasts one of the world's few "giga" coasters, a category of rides with a drop between 300 and 399 feet. After you climb the first hill on the Orion, you'll plunge 300 feet and reach speeds of 91 miles per hour around a 5,321-long track, making it the fastest and longest ride inside the gates. Another fan favorite is The Beast, a beloved staple since 1979 and the longest wooden roller coaster in the world, with a track of 7,361 feet. The Banshee is another record-breaker as the longest inverted roller coaster in the world, meaning the 4,124-foot track will be above you as your feet dangle your legs around plenty of twists, turns, drops, and loops.

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More exciting rides and family-friendly zones

If you can't get enough of the pulse-racing rides, check out the Mystic Timbers wooden roller coaster through the woods, the indoor Flight of Fear with a dramatic launch in the dark, and the Diamondback steel coaster that ends with a big splash. There's also the Drop Tower, which takes you up 315 feet before the dreaded plunge, and the Windseeker, which is much like a carnival swing ride but lifted up about 300 feet in the air.

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Of course, not every attraction needs to be a Level 10 thrill. If you're on a family vacation, head to Planet Snoopy for age-appropriate play zones, mini rides, and a meet-and-greet with the Peanuts gang. Spring 2024 saw the opening of Camp Snoopy, a camping-themed area with new roller coasters and activities. Don't forget to stop at The Barnyard to pet some miniature horses, pot-belly pigs, rabbits, and alpacas.

When you're ready to cool off, take the train to the Kings Island Soak City water park, which opens for the season in late May. There's no need to worry about a separate pass, either. The admission is included with your regular fare, giving you the freedom to explore two parks in one. There are 36 water slides and 50 attractions for tourists of all ages, including a wave pool and a lazy river for some R&R. Top it all off with some of the park's trademark blue ice cream, a blueberry-flavored treat that's become a treasured part of Cincinnati culture.

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Ticket information and tips for visiting Kings Island

Kings Island opens for the spring and summer seasons each year in mid-to-late April. Book your tickets online for the best vacation deals and save $20 per person. If you're only planning on being at the park for a day, a single admission costs $50 for adults and $45 for juniors; kids under three can get into the park for free. Late risers are also in luck, as you can save up to $50 off admission for showing up after 4 p.m. With so much to do, one day might not be enough. In that case, a Silver Pass for the entire season costs $110 per person.

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The park has all the classic carnival foods, like hot dogs, pretzels, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, cotton candy, and funnel cakes topped with fruit and cream. Remember that no outside snacks or refreshments are allowed inside the park, so you'll want to poke around the various meal passes on the ticket website. One great deal is the Funday Bundle for $70, which includes the price of admission and access to one meal every 90 minutes.

At the end of the day, it's worth waiting around until after dark. Not only can this add a new dimension to all your favorite rides, but there's an epic firework show every night at 10 p.m. above International Street. For the best view, ride to the top of the park's replica Eiffel Tower and catch the dazzling display of lights from 275 feet up. From endless thrills for adrenaline junkies to relaxing hangouts for sun-loungers, this park has a little something for everyone. Looking for more adventures in the area? Grab your kayak and head to this underrated Midwest national park.

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