The weather and traffic gods were on our side last Saturday. A sunny, non-rainy and nearly straight stretch down the highway were the backdrops for the day. I braved a short, less-than-two-hours trip to Doswell, Virginia with three tweens and Ian, to visit the themed amusement park called Kings Dominion.
It has been years since I have attended Kings Dominion. After I grew ill from riding all of the park's thrilling roller coasters awhile back, I vowed never to set foot (or bottom) on another ride again.
I kept that promise...somewhat.
We arrived at the park around noon. The parking lot was halfway full. It cost $15 dollars to park at Kings Dominion. Because I am so frugal, I will always complain about any additional costs that may accumulate over the course of a trip. However, this is cheaper than other theme parks that I have been to and you can leave the park and come back (some restrictions apply). This is great if you want to grab a bite to eat off-site and save a few bucks there.
We checked in at Guest Services, just near the main gate. There was a bit of confusion when we arrived. Instead of there being five tickets waiting for us, there were only four (we were given complimentary tickets as a form of compensation). Most likely an honest mistake, but having to tell three tweens to "be patient" is easier said than done. Finally, after waiting a bit, our tickets were set to go, along with SnoopyCON backpacks to carry. Inside of them was a Snoopy balloon, a map and other goodies. These came in handy during the trip.
After going through security, we were immediately greeted by a large skull. This set the mood for all of the Halloween happenings that were taking place at Kings Dominion for the month of October.
The children wasted no time planning their stops. They were eager to get the day started. First stop was Planet Snoopy.
This area is geared toward younger children. It features 18 rides, with many of the rides designed for families to experience together. You will notice that the lines for these rides are much shorter than the rest of the amusement park. That is one of the reasons why we chose to start here first and ride the infamous Woodstock Express (formerly called "Scooby-Doo") to get our thrill-seeking juices flowing. To settle down after the roller coaster ride, the kids decided to test Linus Launcher out as well.
For September 28 - October 27, Planet Snoopy will be deemed Planet Spooky and feature all of the treats (but no tricks) for the little ones to enjoy! Some of adventures include a pumpkin painting patch, petting zoo, foam pit, pedal tractors, a hay maze, live shows and more. During Planet Spooky, all of the rides in Planet Snoopy will be open.
Planet Spooky will feature Halloween family-favorite activities, including a hay maze, pumpkin painting, the chance to get behind the wheel of a pedal tractor, live entertainment and more. Children are encouraged to wear their favorite costume to Planet Spooky and take part in the PEANUTSTM Costume Parade at Snoopy’s Moon Bounce. Children will march in the parade with America’s favorite Beagle Snoopy and the PEANUTSTM gang through the park each day, leading up to the start of the PEANUTSTM Rockin’ Party live show.
As I mentioned before, I was with three tweens. They really did not want to stay in this section for very long, so we did not check out a lot of the rides. There are, however, other local bloggers that attended who checked out the park and wrote about it. Read about their experiences at Planet Spooky here and here.
We continued on more rides, mapping out the easiest routes to take along the way. The kids did a great job of working together and compromising on things to do. We hit a bunch of rides.
As you can see, we kept the rides fairly simple and on a low level of thrills. My cousin, Saniyah, and Ian were the ones who were up for anything, but we decided to make the trip fair to everyone and chose rides we could all enjoy.
Ian anticipated riding some of the park's more daring coasters. Our particular crew wasn't quite ready for a day of Level 5 thrill rides, so Ian chose to watch us have fun. He was a good sport about it, although I would have liked it if we ALL rode together. In the end, it all worked out. Did I mention he makes an excellent bag holder?!
To take a break from the sweltering sun and constant walking, we decided to visit the newest attraction at Kings Dominion, known as Dinosaurs Alive! It cost an additional $5 with park admission.
The group of kids with me were probably not the best fit for this attraction. Although they stopped to read some of the information on each dinosaur, they were not wowed by it. I think it was too "kiddy" for them. We all enjoyed the dinosaurs being dressed up in Halloween costumes though. A few of them were hilarious.
I think the kids were excited to go trick -or- treating as we walked along the path. I mean, who doesn't like candy? **I am sad to report that I accidentally left the bags handing on the fence at one of the rides. I was suppose to be the bag holder and failed miserably. I was side-tracked by the frozen lemonade stand. Oops!
Planet Spooky and Trick or Treat with the Dinos at Dinosaurs Alive! will operate on Saturday’s and Sunday’s from September 28th through October 27th from 12 – 5 p.m. Guests can get the most up-to-date hours of operation by visiting www.kingsdominion.com/daytime. Planet Spooky is free with park admission. Trick or Treat with the Dinos at Dinosaurs Alive! is just $5 with park admission.
While we are on the subject of lemonade, let me talk about prices. They are ridiculous. A bottle of water cost $4 at most locations. The frugal side of me purchased a bottle of water and kept refilling it with water from the fountain. I had to find some way to justify this purchase.
The kids also shared a large cup of Boardwalk fries. Along the way there was a cotton candy purchase, a stop for a slice of pizza and as mentioned before, frozen lemonade. We decided to eat after we left the park, so we ate snacks on the car ride there. Believe me, it saves a lot of money.
To wind down, the kids played a few games before leaving the park. We were even spectators for a few of the games.
Six hours in and we were beat. We all decided it was time to head home. I also had to get back to my littlest guy at home.
If we had more time on our side, I think we all would have enjoyed the night time festivities. There was so much to see during the daylight at the park. I can only imagine what the darkness brought.
If there is one thing I would have liked to have on this trip, it would have been a Fast Lane wristband. The price is a bit steep for my liking, so consider it an investment if you decide to visit Kings Dominion. It may be worth the price when you factor in a few things. The lines started growing longer and longer as the day continued. This really ate up a lot of our time to get on rides. Be sure you pack a lot of patience to wait in line for some of the more popular rides.
I will have to say that my favorite part of the day was riding the Windseeker. This ride consists of swings which rise 300 feet in the air and give you an aerial view of the park. I really felt like I was flying.
Overall, the trip was a blast. I was able to escape from all the chaos back at home and relish in the simplicity of fun. I got the chance to spend time with my family, and that is always a plus. I love that we created new memories together. I also had the opportunity to meet one of my blogger friends at the park. I like when that happens.
Thank you, Kings Dominion, for inviting us.We will definitely be visiting again.
Kings Dominion is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FUN.” In addition to Kings Dominion, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, four water parks, one indoor water park, and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract.
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My family and I were provide complimentary admission to Kings Dominion and Dinosaurs Alive! There was no monetary compensation. The opinions and views are my own.