The Fun Returns to Warren County as Tourism Attractions Prepare to Reopen
WARREN COUNTY, OH (June 9, 2020) – Tourism, the number one industry in Warren County, Ohio, looks toward significant recovery in the weeks ahead following Governor Mike DeWine’s recent orders allowing amusement parks, water parks, racinos/casinos and more entertainment facilities to once again welcome visitors in the near future.
Forced to close or delay their openings in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Kings Island, Great Wolf Lodge, Miami Valley Gaming and other popular Warren County attractions will soon reopen under new health and safety protocols. Some major tourism drivers in Warren County, however, are still awaiting approval to reopen. Warren County welcomed a record 12.3 million tourism-related visitors in 2019 and was on pace for another record-setting year in 2020 before the COVID-19 crisis brought the tourism industry to a near halt, according to Phillip S. Smith, President & CEO of the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau (WCCVB).
“The disastrous effect of COVID-19 on tourism in Warren County cannot be overstated,” Smith said. “Nationally, COVID-19’s effect on tourism has been estimated to be nine times worse than the attacks of September 11. Here in Warren County, we are excited beyond measure to begin the steps necessary to welcome guests back to Ohio’s Largest Playground.”
Kings Island – The largest attraction in Southern Ohio, Kings Island will reopen its gates to season pass holders July 2-11, before reopening entirely July 12. The park will be introducing a new online reservation system, touchless temperature screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures and more safety measures, according to General Manager Mike Koontz.
“We are ready to welcome our guests back to Kings Island for some long-overdue fun,” said Koontz. “The safety of our guests and associates has always been and will always be our top priority. The park’s new health and safety protocols align with CDC recommendations, and have been shaped by information from company and industry health and safety experts, along with our state and local government officials.”
Orion, the park’s new 300-foot steel roller coaster, will make its long-awaited debut on July 2. Due to the park’s shortened operating schedule, season passes purchased for its 2020 season will also be honored in 2021. Learn more at VisitKingsIsland.com.
Great Wolf Lodge – Having completed an $8 million renovation just weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak, Great Wolf Lodge will welcome its first guests back June 26. Increased cleaning protocols, strict social distancing guidelines, limited guest capacity and more precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of lodge guests and staff at the 401-room waterpark and resort. Learn more at GreatWolf.com.
Miami Valley Gaming – Miami Valley Gaming will reopen to patrons June 19. The racino will limit its parking and guest capacity, encourage guests to wear masks, space out its gaming floor to allow ample distance between patrons, increase its cleaning protocols and take additional measures to ensure guest and staff safety. Learn more at MiamiValleyGaming.com.
Western & Southern Open – While both the men’s and women’s professional tennis circuits have suspended play due to COVID-19, the Western & Southern Open – played each August at Warren County’s Lindner Family Tennis Center - is still scheduled to take place at this time. Should the event be held from August 15-23 as planned, it will be among the world’s first professional tennis events since both the ATP and WTA suspended play in mid-March. Learn more at WSOpen.com.
Opened Already – The following have opened to guests already and will continue to adhere to State health guidelines:
Caesars Creek State Park
Morgan’s Outdoor Adventures
Rivers Edge Outfitters
Little Miami Canoe Rental
The Little Miami Scenic Trail Numerous golf courses
Other outdoor attractions including Bonnybrook Farms
Trampoline and indoor family fun centers
Plans Pending – The following are still reviewing plans to reopen:
Ozone Zipline (Ozone has announced plans to update its zipline course on its website, but has not yet announced a reopening date)
Ohio Renaissance Festival (scheduled to kick off September 5)
Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve
The LM&M Railroad
Numerous museums and performance venues
Owned and operated by the WCCVB, The Warren County Sports Park at Union Village (WCSP) also was forced to suspend all activity in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. Since March, the WCSP and other Warren County athletic venues lost events which would have welcomed more than 110,000 people and generated an estimated $38 million in economic impact. Just one of those events – billed as the largest youth soccer tournament in the nation – was scheduled for the WCSP and was projected to generate $14.3 million in economic impact for the area.
Currently, the WCSP is hosting baseball events and training for other sports only, but in the coming weeks the WCCVB expects to add events and activities in additional sports, such as soccer, lacrosse and ultimate.
However, some governmental action is required before that can happen.
“In order for the WCSP to fully fulfill its potential as an economic impact generator the area, Governor DeWine must act to lift the ban on contact youth sports,” said Smith. “We urge him to do so as soon as possible for the sake of both the athletes and their families and for the sake of our region. In Warren County, tourism spending means jobs, and we’re losing that spending to states that are now open for contact sports. The WCSP and other athletic venues in Warren County can and will operate safely. Action is needed now or Warren County will continue to lose millions of dollars in visitor spending.”
For more information on the WCSP, visit WCSportsPark.com.
About the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Warren County is Ohio’s Largest Playground®! With easy access from Interstates 71 and 75, visitors to Warren County can enjoy more activities within a 30-mile radius than anywhere else in Ohio. The Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a professional destination marketing and management organization whose mission is to strengthen the community by advancing economic growth and vitality through tourism, overnight stays, and encouraging significant participation by visitors in the local tourism economy. Tourism is the leading industry in Warren County. More than 12.3 million yearly visitors drive an economic impact of $1.2 billion and 11,666 tourism-related jobs. For additional information, visit OhiosLargestPlayground.com, call 800-433-1072 or visit the WCCVB on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Warren County is Ohio’s Largest Playground!®