You have may have heard that a certain theme park is celebrating its 50th birthday. No, we aren’t talking about Walt Disney World this time. Kings Island located in Mason, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati, just turned 50 years old in April.
Over the years, Kings Island has become one of the best amusement parks in the United States. Let’s take a look back at some of Kings Island’s history, what makes it a world-class destination today, and what celebratory offerings you can check out while Kings Island hosts its summer-long Golden Celebration.
A Brief History
Kings Island first opened its gates on April 29, 1972, following the temporary closure of the iconic Coney Island. When it first opened it was owned by Taft Broadcasting Company. The park featured a legendary coaster, The Racer. The coaster was the first modern-day twin wooden coaster and it still operates today. Guests were greeted by Kings Islands' signature icon, the blue Eiffel Tower which is a one-third replica of the Paris landmark and also appears at Kings Dominion. It also included a Hanna-Barbera-themed land complete with a Scooby-Doo roller coaster. Additionally, a land themed to pay homage to the great Coney Island was included in the park as many rides from Coney Island were transported to and installed at Kings Island.
Much has changed since the park opened 50 years ago. The park has added many incredible attractions. When the park first opened, it included 60 attractions, and now Kings Island boasts more than 100 attractions. Some have been hits like record-breaker The Beast which opened in 1979. This wooden coaster continues to be the longest wooden roller coaster and still delights fans. Personally, it is my favorite wooden roller coaster I have ridden. Other attractions have been notorious failures like the Son of Beast roller coaster that opened in 2000 and seems to have been ahead of its time and was plagued with issues during its 9-year run. Year after year Kings Island has continued to grow and add to its impressive line-up. In 1989 a waterpark was also added adjacent to the park, formerly called WaterWorks.
The park has also changed ownership over the years. Paramount purchased Kings Island in 1992 and many of the attraction names reflected this change. The coaster line-up included Top Gun and Face/Off and Nickelodeon-themed kids area. However, the ride names would change again when Cedar Fair purchased Paramount Parks in 2006 for 1.25 billion dollars and as a result acquired Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Great America (now California's Great America) and Canada's Wonderland.
Coasters like Top Gun and Face/Off were renamed The Bat and Invertigo respectively, and the Nickelodeon area was re-themed to the Peanuts. When this change occurred it was actually the first time in the park’s history that it no longer included a Scooby-Doo-themed attraction. In 2012, the waterpark known as Boomerang Bay at the time was also renamed Soak City and received significant improvements.
Kings Island's greatness has continued...