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Ohio takes having fun seriously, and when it comes to amusement parks, the state has plenty of spots to choose from. Whether you are looking for singular thrills, historic spots, family rides, or just a great way to cool off on a hot summer day, there is something here for you.
The 364-acre Cedar Point park in Sandusky is called the “Roller Coaster Capital of America.” The park has a record-holding 72 rides, including 16 roller coasters. What kinds of coasters are we talking about? There are five which are more than 200 feet tall – Magnum XL-200, Millennium Force, Wicked Twister, Top Thrill Dragster, and Valravn. Thrill rides include the Matterhorn, maXair, Monster, Ocean Motion, and Pipe Scream. When you get tired of the rides, hit the beach – you’ll find a mile of white sand nearby as well as an outdoor water park called Cedar Point Shores and an indoor water park called Castaway Bay.
Cedar Point Shores has a massive wave pool and an action slide area with three twisting enclosed tubes. Adults love the swimup refreshment center and kids go nuts for SplasH20, which is an interactive water structure. For thrills, stand in line for Riptide Raceway, where you can reach speeds of 30 mph, and the Perch Plunge, which has three body slides.
Castaway Bay has 30 water slides, five children’s area, and five pools, plus a huge game room, restaurants, and retail shops. Swimmers can body surf in the 100,000-gallon wave pool which generates 3-foot tall waves and Creature Cove is where families go to play a watery version of basketball. Top rides include Cargo Crossing (an interactive play area where you have to make your way across floating lily pads), The Grotto (two 50-person whirlpool spas), Lookout Lagoon (which includes four slides), and Rendezvous Run (a 35-foot tall, 520-foot long water roller coaster where riders actually go uphill thanks to propelling water jets).
Sandusky is home to Rain Water Park, an indoor park with water slides, bowling, laser tag, a huge arcade, and virtual golf. Also in Sandusky is Kalahari Resort, which has a huge indoor water park featuring slides ranging from extreme to tranquil. You’ll also find a huge arcade, mini-golf, bowling, laser tag, and salons for kids and adults – plus a safari animal park! The year-round safari park has both walk-through and drive-through areas. A family favorite is getting your picture taken next to a preening camel.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the state’s best spots for seeing wild animals and some of the ocean’s biggest creatures up close – but did you know there’s also an amusement park here, too? Jungle Jack’s Landing is located just beyond the zoo entrance and is open from the spring to the fall. Here you’ll find 13 family run rides plus Stingray Bay, Animal Encounters Village, and Colo’s Cove Picnic Grove. Top rides include Jungle River Falls, the 37-foot tall Sea Dragon, and the swinging Journey to Zanzibar.
Not far away, Zoombezi Bay is one of the Midwest’s most popular water parks. This 23-acre park has plenty of thrills for the older kids and lots of gentle rides for the younger ones. Wild Tides Wave Pool has a maximum depth of 6 feet and waves which can reach up to 4 feet high. Roaring Rapids is a quarter-mile lazy river that everyone loves, while Baboon Lagoon has nine water slides, 90 interactive sprays, heated pools, and a crazy 1,000-gallon tipping bucket.
Just north of Cincinnati, in Ross, you’ll find Stricker’s Grove, a 25-acre amusement park which first opened in 1924. Getting in is not easy, though – this park is open to the public just a handful of days each year (the rest of the time it’s rented out to private parties). The lucky few who do make it in will find the Tornado, the park’s largest roller coaster, and Teddy Bear, a smaller coaster perfect for families. There is also a Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl, flying scooters, mini golf, a swinging pirate ship ride, and more.
If you are strictly about family rides, make to sure hit up the Memphis Kiddie Park, in Brooklyn, a suburb of Cleveland. This park has 11 rides, including the Little Dipper roller coaster – the oldest operating steel roller coaster in North America. Other rides include a Ferris wheel, flying comets, spinning cars, floating boats, a merry-go-round, and a train which circles the park’s perimeter.
History buffs will love Coney Island, an amusement and water park in Cincinnati which first opened in the 1860s. The park started as a dining and dance hall and eventually grew into a full-fledged amusement park. The park has been a Cincinnati institution for decades, and popular rides include the four-slide Twister, the enclosed innertube slide Pipeline Plunge, and the enclosed Cyclone. There is also a carousel, tilt-a-whirl, a bungee jump, and a Ferris wheel.
Arguably the top amusement and water park in Ohio is Kings Island, which is located north of Cincinnati. This massive park has a long season – rides go through the summer, then the park takes on a Halloween theme in the fall. Visitors will find thrilling rides like the Banshee, The Bat, and Delirium. Family rides include Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Carousel. There are also plenty of restaurants, music venues, and retail outlets.
Head to New Philadelphia for Tuscora Park. Kids love the pint-sized rides and adults love the swimming pools, pond fishing, and live entertainment.
For something totally different, check out the I-X exposition center in Cleveland, which is home to the world’s largest indoor Ferris wheel. How tall is it? 125 feet!
Family owned and operated since 2007, the Bella Balloons Hot Air Balloon Company offers affordable hot air balloon rides over scenic southern Ohio near Monroe.
With multiple launch sites throughout the region, guests have many different routes to choose from that differ in scenery.
Views of picturesque farms, vast hillsides, scenic woodlands, native animal life, and much more are all a part of the balloon ride experience that can be scheduled today.
Safe and relaxing balloon flights also make great gifts – Bella Balloons offer gift certificates for purchase as well.
Opened in 1987, Cedar Point Amusement Park is an fun-filled amusement park fit for all ages, located between Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie in northwest Ohio.
The park has a variety of roller coasters, ranging from the traditional Mean Streak wooden coaster to the Top Thrill Dragster, one of the world's first "Strata Coaster".
With 15 thrill rides, 21 family rides, three water rides, and 19 children's rides and shows, it's no wonder why the park is known as the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World."
Relax and cool off in the park's Soak City, an 18-acre water park with 16 different water attractions, kids rides, and a 500,000 wave pool. Many must-do family favorite Ohio destinations await your arrival.
The largest amusement park in the Midwest, Kings Island is home to over 80 rides, shows and attractions, and an enormous water park. The 364-acre park is located in Mason near Monroe in southern Ohio – it has been open since 1972 and operates from mid-April through Labor Day.
Park attractions, each with their own rides and entertainment, are plentiful – including Action Zone, Coney Mall, Oktoberfest, Planet Snoopy, and many more, as well as seasonal events and entertainment. The park has also notably won Amusement Today’s award for “Best Kid’s Area” over 10 times.
Fun for all ages, Splatter Park is a premier paintball facility in the Midwest. Located in Mt. Gilead in central Ohio, the paintball park caters to all levels of play and offers private and public games – as well as large scheduled events for more seasoned players.
Taking its game to the next level, Splatter Park was featured in the Activision video game "Tournament Paintball" in 2004. The park has 12 different fields available for play that vary in size and style lending to the different levels of competition they provide.