A Golden Celebration: Kings Island's Turning 50
Blog by Stacha Yundt
In the spring of 2022 Kings Island — Warren County's beloved and world-renowned amusement and water park - will be celebrating not only the start of another awesome season, but a very, VERY big birthday.
As we (im)patiently prep for the park's 50th anniversary, let's take a quick glance back at its incredible history, and an excited look forward at what visitors can expect in the momentous year ahead.
How KI Came to Be (a Very Abridged History Lesson)
The original concept of Kings Island began waaay back in 1964 when flood waters submerged historic Coney Island, a popular amusement park located near downtown Cincinnati and just a short drive South of Warren County. Hoping to avoid a repeat dilemma, Coney Island's crew considered moving their park to a new location further away from potential flooding hazards. While the move made sense, it wasn’t taken seriously until a few years later in 1968 when rumors of a rival park potentially popping up in nearby Northern Kentucky began to surface. One year later in July of 1969 the Taft Broadcasting Company acquired Coney Island and purchased a plot of land in our neck of the woods - Warren County - for a new theme park.
When construction first began in 1970, a public contest was held to determine the name of this new park. The winner (Kings Island, of course) was the most popular choice because it not only acknowledged the nearby neighborhood of Kings Mills, but also paid tribute to the park that came before it - Coney Island. In fact, even to this day, one of Kings Island's most longstanding entertainment areas (Coney Mall) still pays tribute to its Cincy-based predecessor.
Less than two after the park got its name, Kings Island officially opened its gates for the first time on April 29, 1972.
KI's Rides Have Made History (and Memories)!
Believe it or not, there was a time when roller coasters weren't all the craze. In fact, following the Great Depression, only about 200 coasters remained in operation across the globe. That all changed though, with a little ride called The Racer.
One of Kings Island's original rides, The Racer was the talk of the town - even the country - as soon as it opened. An instant hit, The Racer's popularity helped usher in the “second golden age” of roller coasters. It was so popular in fact, that even the "The Brady Bunch" kids took a spin on it in an episode of the classic TV sitcom!
Still in operation today, more than 107 million guests have now ridden the Racer — making it the most historical ride in the park. In a fitting tribute, the park has repainted The Racer ahead of this 50th anniversary season to match its original color scheme: a red track, white structure, and blue handrails.
The Racer, though iconic, is far from the park's only record-breaking wonder.
43 years after it was first unleashed, The Beast still holds the record for the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. Over its lifetime, in fact, the beloved wooden wonder has also held world records for the tallest wooden coaster, the wooden coaster with the longest drop, and the fastest wooden coaster.
Another record-crusher in KI's coaster lineup, Banshee debuted to the public in 2014 and is still one of the longest inverted coasters in the world.
Finally, the park’s newest addition, Orion, flaunts a ridiculous 300-foot drop, making it one of just 7 giga coasters on the globe.
Come Join the Celebration!
An anniversary this big takes a long time to celebrate — an entire season to be exact - and Kings Island's pulling out all the stops to make sure every guest who comes through its gates this year is part of that celebration.
Original, live shows reminiscent of those the park first put on back in the 70s will once again take the stage. New and throwback food and beverage options will be served throughout the season. Even the park's legendary nightly firework shows will have an extra special kick this season - especially on April 29th (the park's official 50th B-Day).
To put it simply, there's never been a better time to cross Kings Island off your theme park bucket list!
Plan your KI adventure - and all of your Warren County fun - today, right here on OhiosLargestPlayground.com!