Cedar Point and Kings Island, Ohio

Ohio has two great amusement parks; one in southwesterly Mason, and one in north-central Sandusky. These parks are only three-and-a-half hours apart, and each took a Golden Ticket Award from Amusement Today for 2014. Cedar Point took Second Place for Best Amusement Park (Europa-Park, in Rust, Germany took First Place) and Kings Island won the top spot for the Best Kids Area.

Cedar Point is 364 acres of fun perched on a peninsula on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. It had earned Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best Amusement Park for 16 years on a row. This is the front gate; the blue rails belong to none other than the GateKeeper roller coaster that was installed in 2013. It will come flying overhead in just a minute.

Kings Island first opened in 1972 and the front gate has largely remained the same. New in 2014, however, is the Banshee inverted steel roller coaster, which measures 4,124 feet. (It replaced the Son of Beast.) Both Kings Island and Cedar Point are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. Kings Island currently sits on 364 acres in Mason, Ohio, which is northeast of Cincinnati on I-71.

The Cedar Point Sky Ride opened in 1962 and is one of the first attractions encountered along the Midway. It takes viewers up 92 feet and runs a half mile to another terminal, where riders debark. Riders can then get in line for the return trip, or head to another part of the park. The view of Lake Erie, the marina, and the entire park is amazing from up there.

Kings Island's Eiffel Tower replica stands at 315 feet tall, which is one-third of the original in Paris, France. The Tower was one of the first attractions at Kings Island. Visitors can take one of two air-conditioned cars to the viewing platform, which is 265 feet up, and remain there as long as they like. The view is tremendous.

The Sky Ride runs both east-to-west and west-to-east on these cables. At the top of the closest Sky Ride tower in this image is a wind-speed monitor. The Sky Ride was closed for most of the day on Saturday, August 30th, 2014, due to high winds. Kings Island had a Sky Ride from 1972 until 1979.

This is the view of the Kings Island fountain from the Eiffel Tower replica. International Street runs on either side of the fountain; the bandstand is at the bottom center and the front gate is in the top center. The International Restaurant has a commanding view of the fountain also; it is located atop the main gate. This image was taken Labor Day 2014.

Cedar Point's Ferris wheel, known as the Giant Wheel, is located just to the right of Main Street and provides an excellent view of Lake Erie and Cedar Point's own beach. (The Wicked Twister is on the right in this image.) This attraction opened in 1972 and stands at 136 feet tall. Kings Island had the Oktoberfest Ferris wheel from 1982-1991.

The Woodstock Whirlybird copter ride is the closest comparison to Cedar Point's Sky Ride. The little bubble copters sit two people, who then glide through Planet Snoopy. This elevated ride was first called Yogi's Sky Tours and opened in 1998, and was renamed Lazytown Sportacopters in 2006. In 2010, it became Whirlybirds. According to a Kings Island web page, this attraction has had over 4 million riders since it opened.

The GateKeeper is Cedar Point's newest roller coaster. Its entrance is near that of the Giant Wheel. GateKeeper, according to Cedar Point, is the tallest, fastest, and longest wing roller coaster in the world. It has a drop of 170 feet and runs 4,164 feet at 67 miles per hour. The ride lasts for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

The Banshee opened in 2014 to tons of media hoopla and record crowds. The first riders on opening day got commemorative t-shirts. This is the Banshee in a northwesterly view from the Eiffel Tower. The level-five thrill ride has seven inversions and goes up to 68 miles per hour. B&M Consulting Engineers is the designer; they also created KI's Diamondback coaster.

Continued on Cedar Point/Kings Island Kid Fun...

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