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12 Reasons Why King’s Dominion Is The Perfect Theme Park For Your Whole Family!
King’s Dominion is the perfect theme park or amusement park for your entire family- young kids through teens!
We were hosted by King’s Dominion in exchange for this review. However, this review represents our honest opinion.
As a parent there is almost nothing better than watching your kid’s face light up with delight. Giggling, smiling, joyful exuberance. These are the moments parents live for. Bringing your kid to their first amusement park– if you pick the right one– is definitely one of those moments. We have brought our daughter to amusement parks since before she turned 2 years old.
King’s Dominion in Virginia is definitely one of our favorite amusement parks for younger kids. But what if your family has kids of a wider age range– especially teens? Will older kids love King’s Dominion as much as their younger siblings? I think so.. and here are all the reasons why King’s Dominion is the perfect theme park for your entire family!
Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!
1. Planet Snoopy Rides
Planet Snoopy rides are perfect for younger kids. Families with younger kids can easily spend the entire day at Planet Snoopy. It is a gorgeous park within a park and the theming is really so adorable and fun. This part of the park is close to the main entrance and fairly self contained, with its own gift shops, restaurants, etc…
It even has a family care center with changing tables, a nursing mother’s area, and toys for kids who might just need a break. Oh, and it’s air conditioned. Woo hoo!
There are 19 kid friendly favorites like the Kite Eating Tree, Joe Cool’s Driving School, and Sally’s Sea Plane.
If your kids are brave they can even cut their teeth on their first, age appropriate, roller coasters.
For lunch, King’s Dominion scored major parent points because Chick Fil-A is centrally located inside Planet Snoopy. As with all Chick Fil-A locations, it’s not open on Sundays. But there are plenty of other kid friendly food options (see below).
2. Planet Snoopy Shows
These shows are adorable. There are two main shows, Franklin’s Dance Party and Space Beagle. Space Beagle is super cute. Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy himself star in this quest to have the first dog land on the moon. It goes smoothly of course… because it’s Snoopy. The show ends with a short dance party… my daughter loved hugging on Lucy. There is another, more important, reason you will want to make plans to enjoy this show… it is all under a shaded pavilion. Yeah!
Franklin’s Dance Party is a chance for kids to dance with a few of the Peanuts characters. Super fun! So, if you are melting, pop in to one of these shows to cool off a little.
3. Eiffel Tower and Fountains
I am really partial to the main entrance of King’s Dominion. As soon as you walk through the gates you are transported to another land (or that is the idea anyway). The main area is book-ended by a replica of the Eiffel Tower and you can actually ride to the top, which is really fun. We tried to see where we parked. Ha.
Pro tip: See that yellow square? That is where we parked on a Monday. We were literally in one of the closest parking spots to the entrance. Notice all the empty parking lot spaces? Guess what? On the weekend it is filled to max capacity.
King’s Dominion is super popular (and crowded) on weekends. If you want to get the most of your visit, make the time to go during the week.
4. Candy Apple Grove Games
I love the games in the Candy Apple Grove and I bet you and your kids will love them too. Many of the games are actually easy to win, even for younger kids. Plus, for some of them all you need is two players to play. It’s $5 a game. So, for $20 two kids could potentially both win a cool prize.
My daughter and her friend won these super cute emoji plushies for basically $10 each. Not a bad memento for a fun day of playing!
5. The More Traditional Rides
Once you leave Planet Snoopy your entire family will love all the traditional amusement park rides too! There are Grand Prix cars, swings, bumper cars, a gorgeous carousel, and a great Ferris Wheel with an awesome view!
6. Water Rides
King’s Dominion has two fantastic water rides (apart from Soak City). White Water Canyon is a river rapids ride and even younger kids can ride it! I have to tell you… out of all the rides we rode, this was absolutely the biggest hit! We laughed and screamed the entire time.. and yes, we got soaked.
Then, because we weren’t wet enough, we took a few turns on the water log ride, Shenandoah Lumber Co. It was such a fun ride and honestly not bad for younger kids either!
7. Roller coasters That are totally awesome!
One of the things that is awesome about King’s Dominion is families with kids of multiple age ranges can all have a blast. The park is very walkable and not overwhelmingly huge. That means, teens and older kids could theoretically ‘do their own thing’ while younger kids are having fun at Planet Snoopy. There are 10 (!!!!) major roller coasters, in addition to the two young kid friendly options. On our recent visit, my teenage nieces literally spent all day trying out these roller coasters and they loved them all!
Personally, I am partial to the Grizzly because I love wooden roller coasters.
There are other non roller-coaster thrill rides as well. The Drop Tower was a definite favorite. The teens in our group rode it 5 times in a row (another vote for mid-week vs. weekend visits).
8. Great Dining Options for Kids
So, we already established that King’s Dominion gets major kudos for scoring Chick Fil-A. There are so many other dining options though. We loved The Mac Bowl because first and foremost– Mac ‘N Cheese! But this is actually a gourmet Mac N’ Cheese Bar where you get to add delicious things like bacon to your already decadent meal. Yummy!
Other notable main course options include Panda Express, pizza, pit beef, a Country Kitchen, a diner, Subway, burritos, and more.
The dessert and snack options are also very plentiful. From Frozen Yogurt to regular ice cream, funnel cakes, boardwalk fries, pretzels, and even Starbucks. You will definitely not go hungry at King’s Dominion.
Note: As part of the event hosted by King’s Dominion we were offered the All Day Dining Meal Plan. This is what I think– if you have hungry kids and you are going to spend all day and into the evening at the park, snagging the meal plan is a no-brainer. Every 90 minutes you get an entree and side. That means you could theoretically eat more than 5 ‘meals’ during your time at the park. We had two main meals and broke even. It was nice to not have to worry about pulling out cash for everything.
Here is the downside– the plan doesn’t cover drinks or desserts.
So, if you tend to eat light so that you can ride more rides it might not be a good idea for you. Or, if you tend to– ahem– make a meal out of ice cream and soft pretzels… the meal plan might not be for you either.
But seriously.. if your kids have hollow legs, do it.
9. Special Events
King’s Dominion has numerous special events throughout the year that really enhance the guest experience. We were there during the Grand Carnivale celebration. We didn’t stay for the evening festivities but the park really did put on a great show.
Other special events include Monster Jam® Thunder Alley, Coaster Campout, The Great Pumpkin Fest, and WinterFest.
10. Soak City
If you get your fill of rides and want to cool off, Soak City is totally fun for your entire family.
Soak City is a 20-acre water park that features 2 wave pools, extreme water slides, and a child’s water play area. Plus admission to Soak City is included in your park admission!
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11. Flat and Shady
Yep, King’s Dominion clearly knows that it gets super hot and muggy in Virginia during the summer. They also clearly know that parents with young kids don’t want the fun times to get burned away by tired, overheated little ones. I love how flat the park is. It’s so easy to navigate even with a stroller. And, there are tons of places to sit in the shade and just take a break. Great planning all around!
12. Free Pre-K Pass
If you are still not convinced to drive down to Virginia to explore King’s Dominion, this last reason might convince you for sure.
Kids ages 3-5 can sign up for a free Pre-K pass for unlimited admission for the entire season. The only catch is you have to sign up and activate the pass typically by sometime in June. But then your younger kids can get free access to King’s Dominion (with you of course) the entire season.. including Fall and Winter events!