Southwest Ohio is a great place to raise a family and I can say this confidently with plenty of firsthand experience. I grew up in the Queen City as the quintessential Cincy kid and I’m now raising my own two children in the Cincinnati area. It’s so fun to take my little ones to the same places I went during my own childhood and to create a whole new set of memories. Just a stone’s throw from Dayton, Cincinnati is the ultimate city to treat like a vacation and Warren County may just be the best area to do so. We find ourselves up in “Ohio’s Largest Playground” quite a bit and most recently with a fun-filled trip to Kings Island. We are so incredibly lucky to have the largest amusement park and water park in the Midwest, and we had an amazing day there with our two young children.
When you think of amusement parks, you think of thrill rides and all-day excitement, and Kings Island definitely delivers both. But even with very young children, Kings Island is the perfect place to enjoy a day of family fun.
Our kids are five and almost four and I was amazed at the number of rides and activities that were geared toward them. If you’ve ever considered a trip to Kings Island, but perhaps decided against it because your kids are too young, you may want to reconsider!
Since we live about 50 minutes from the park, we decided to make our visit an all-day excursion. When planning your own visit, the first thing you’ll want to do is visit the park’s website here. We did this as a family to preview all of the rides that we’d be able to do as a family and pick out our must-do attractions. You can also purchase tickets and find answers to all of your questions on the site. After we parked and lathered on the sunscreen, we headed straight to Planet Snoopy. This is the area of the park that is designed just for the youngest visitors. We stopped at a booth so both kids could get measured, so we knew which rides they would be able to do. We had a 44” kid and a 40” kid – don’t forget this step during your visit! It makes things a lot easier.
One of my absolute favorite things about Planet Snoopy is that we were able to ride quite a few rides as a family. Many “kiddie” areas have small rides that are just for kids, and while there are some of those, if you have a child who is a bit timid to get on by themselves, you’ll be able to ride with them for many of these. Even on a very crowded day, we didn’t have to wait long for any of the rides in this area and we actually rode several of them more than once. My 44”- tall son loved the roller coasters and the Woodstock Express and the Flying Ace Aerial Chase satisfied his need for speed (and my husband could ride with him). While they rode those, my daughter and I checked out Snoopy’s Barnyard Friends. This was an adorable farm-themed area with many live animals including goats, sheep, rabbits, horses, and more. You can feed them and take a pony ride (for an extra fee), and even get up close to many friendly farm animals.
After quite a bit of time in Planet Snoopy, we stopped for lunch (and air-conditioning!). If you haven’t been to Kings Island in awhile, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many amazing choices there are for a good meal. We chose to sit down and relax for a bit at the Reds Hall of Fame Grill, and you can also find Larosa’s Pizza, Skyline, Chick-Fil-A, Tom + Chee, as well as mouthwatering barbecue, Mexican, and of course the famous blue ice cream. It’s impossible to go hungry at Kings Island! We took it easy for a bit after lunch and walked around the park. My husband and I reminisced about our days there growing up, our son picked his next ride (the train), and our daughter napped in the stroller (thank goodness).
The rest of our visit involved hanging out with the characters from Charlie Brown, more rides, and as we left, talking about when we can return. We lasted eight hours at the park, and I honestly think we could’ve done more. We considered a visit to Soak City and hanging around for the fireworks, and will very likely give that a try next time. As I said before, there’s so much fun for all ages at Kings Island.
There’s a reason #KIBestDay is such a popular hashtag on social media – because you really do have your best day ever at this amazing amusement park. It may look a little different than when we were kids, but the memories made are the same and this was a day I know I won’t soon forget.
To begin planning your visit to Kings Island, head on over to their website here. Keep in mind that tickets are discounted if you buy them ahead of time online, and children under 48 inches are also less expensive. Children under three are free! The park is very family friendly, so don’t forget your stroller and there are also water bottle filling stations and plenty of restrooms all over the property. Don’t save a visit to Kings Island for when your kids are older; I highly recommend you start making those memories right now!
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati (and, ahem, Kentucky!) publications and brainstorming ideas for her next children’s book! With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.