After sitting dormant for 5 years Mr. Ed Hart and his team of investors have pulled off a improbably task and reopened the theme park he originally developed by investing over 40 million dollars into the park he opened himself in the early nineties. Kentucky Kingdom is once again alive and well today with packed lines at water park attractions as well as the usual theme park staples too. It’s also nice to see some of the original rides be resurrected as well as several new additions to make for a nice assortment of family and thrill rides.
I grew up going to this park, so I have seen it in good times and in bad. From opening day of a new coaster or ride. To the day it closed for good and Six Flags started to remove rides and shipped them off to other parks. Never could I have imagined this park ever turning back into one of the largest tourism draws for the city and state, but I think once I explain below you can see exactly why.
First of all how do you replace one of the largest stand up roller coasters (Chang) in the nation that was removed ? Why none other than doubling the size of your existing water park. They have added several slide complexes as well as a kiddie type wave pool. One of the slides added is “Deep Water Dive” which is the tallest body slide on the continent. Coming in at a whopping 121ft tall, riders enter a capsule style chamber and are given a quick countdown from 3 and whoosh down you go! They have also refurbished all of the original slides and wave pool that the park had.
Secondly, you have to replace 2 other coasters that were in the park previously and removed (Greased lightning and Roadrunner Express) with some other sort of ride that is visible while driving into the parking lot and could be the parks most talked about addition. That is where “Lightning Run” comes in. This is a new coaster from Chance rides which had been primarily know for its assortment of various theme park rides but a roller coaster was not one . This ride does not disappoint! It’s very compact, but packs a BIG punch! For starters the 1st hill is 100ft tall and drops the train at 80 degrees. After that it’s airtime city from that point till the final break run. The coaster has already ready created a lot of talk in the ACE community as well as I get ride! Defiantly a winner all around.
Thirdly, let’s talk about general improvements. Most of the park got a fresh coat of paint in the refurbishment. Thunder Run( one of the parks original rides) is running amazing. The pirate ship still swings, the movie theatre still shows movies and the Giant Wheel still turns showing its riders a panoramic view of the park and sounding areas. But the one thing this park for missing the past 5 years the most……… People! Laughter! Fun! You can’t have a park without them. I can honestly say that now I am I father and have a family of my own it is a wonderful thing that I can see my children ride the same exact rides that I did when I was a child and we can enjoy them together. That my friends is what it is all about!
Sure anything new has it’s growing pains. I have heard some moaning about long lines at food stands, not enough of this or that. But, what we need to keep in mind here is that everyone is learning. It won’t be perfect all the time. Heck it may be far for it most of the year. Just realize that this park will one day return to the gem it once was and it will soon be on all park goers maps and become “the place” to hit on summer vacation. So next time you are planning that trip to go to Kings Island or Holiday World. Spend an extra day to make the extra drive and visit this park!
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Reporting for BPARCS.com Jason Slone