These Are The 7 Best Amusement Parks And Water Parks In Ohio For 2018


We used science and data to determine which amusement parks and water parks in Ohio are the best to spend a day or weekend with the family.

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Just imagine:

You get off your favorite ride, jazzed up by the excitement, and on your way to get a uniquely American snack at your favorite amusement park.

Alright, now, open your eyes and come back to me for a moment as we go into where best to have that same experience in Ohio. These are the water parks and amusement parks in {state} that have everything you could hope for in a day out with the family.

Using data from The Park DB, we were able to take a look at over 250 amusement and water parks across America, which includes Ohio of course. After pouring over reams of data, Kings Island emerged as the best park in the Buckeye State by a hefty margin.

Here’s a look at the best amusement parks and water parks in Ohio for 2018:

  1. Kings Island
  2. Cedar Point Shores
  3. Zoombezi Bay
  4. Cedar Point
  5. Geauga Lake
  6. Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure
  7. Great Wolf Lodge

There are a whole lot of smiles and good memories wrapped up in those parks. Not to mention corn dogs, popcorn, roller coasters, and water slides.

Before you go out and buy your ticket to {first}, let’s take a look at how we ranked the parks on this list and what each of the top dogs has to offer.

If you’re looking for other family friendly things to do, check out the best farmers markets in Ohio or the best cities for families in Ohio.

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How We Ranked The Best Amusement Parks And Water Parks In Ohio

If you haven’t check out The Park DB, we recommend it. It has all kinds of data on amusement parks big and small throughout the world.

Fortunately for us, they opened up their data set and let us take a look. So how do you rank the best amusement park in Ohio? We looked at the following criteria:

  1. Size (How big is the park and how many rides are there)
  2. Price (Perhaps counter-intuitively initially, we did the higher the price the better. More on that)
  3. Age of the park (The newer the better)

We know your probably thinking ‘why is more expensive better?!’

Well, we believe in supply and demand and a higher price means that people must really want to go to the amusement park. It normally also means there’s either a strong brand associated with the park and/or plenty of things to do.

We also recognize that many water parks and amusement parks get renovations and additions throughout the years, but we still think newer is generally better.

If you disagree with our criteria, no offense taken. We are just trying to get the ball rolling on great places to spend a day or weekend in the Buckeye State.

So, with that out of the way, we ranked each park from best to worst for each of these criteria with one being the best. (If a park was missing criteria, it got the lowest score for that criteria).

We then averaged the rankings of each criteria to create an amusement park score and normalized it to 100.

For Ohio, Kings Island took the top spot with a score of 43.3.

Here’s a bit more on what the top parks have to offer.

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1. Kings Island

Kings Island

Score: 43.3

Kings Island is a 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park located 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. Owned and operated by Cedar Fair, the park first opened in 1972 by the Taft Broadcasting Company in an effort to move and expand Coney Island, a popular resort destination along the banks of the Ohio River that was prone to frequent flooding. After more than $275 million in capital investments, the park features over 80 rides, shows and attractions including fifteen roller coasters and a 33-acre (13 ha) water park.

Throughout its history, Kings Island has appeared in popular sitcoms and received widespread recognition for its record-breaking attractions and events. One of the park\’s most well-known attractions, The Racer, is often credited with reviving worldwide interest in roller coasters during the 1970s. Others, such as The Beast and Banshee, have set several world records some of which are still standing. The park has also suffered through times of negative publicity, particularly surrounding the early demise of roller coasters The Bat and Son of Beast.

Kings Island is divided into several themed sections. The seasonal amusement park is open from early spring until Labor Day in September, and then reopens for several weekends in the fall for Halloween-themed events. In 2017, the park revamped the holiday-themed event, WinterFest, which is open after Thanksgiving to New Years. In 2016, Kings Island was the second-most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States behind Cedar Point, with an estimated 3.38 million visitors. It was third overall for seasonal attendance in North America, which was led by Canada\’s Wonderland. In addition, Kings Island has won Amusement Today\’s Golden Ticket Award for having the ‘Best Kids\’ Area’ in the world for seventeen consecutive years (2001\xc2\x962017) and \xc2\x93Best New Ride\xc2\x94 in 2017.

2. Cedar Point Shores

Cedar Point Shores

Score: 26.7

Cedar Point Shores, formerly Soak City, is a water park located adjacent to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. It is owned and operated by Cedar Fair.

3. Zoombezi Bay

Zoombezi Bay

Score: 26.7

Zoombezi Bay is a 22.7 acre water park owned by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium near Powell, Ohio just north of Columbus. The park sits on the site of the former Wyandot Lake Amusement Park, which was purchased by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 2006. Zoombezi Bay opened to the public on May 26, 2008, and currently ranks as one of the Midwest’s most popular water parks, attracting more than 400,000 visitors annually.

4. Cedar Point

Cedar Point

Score: 16.7

Cedar Point is a 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio. Opened in 1870, it is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States behind Lake Compounce. Cedar Point is owned and operated by Cedar Fair and is considered the flagship of the amusement park chain. Known as ‘America\’s Roller Coast’, the park features a world-record 72 rides, including 16 roller coasters \xc2\x96 the second-most in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain. Its newest roller coaster, Steel Vengeance, is set to open in May 2018.

Cedar Point\’s normal operating season runs from early May until Labor Day in September. The park then reopens only on weekends until the end of October or early November for a Halloween-themed event known as HalloWeekends. Other attractions near the park include a one-mile-long (1.6 km) white-sand beach, an outdoor water park called Cedar Point Shores, an indoor water park called Castaway Bay, two marinas, and several nearby resorts.

The park has reached several milestones. It is the only amusement park in the world with five roller coasters taller than 200 feet (61 m) \xc2\x96 Magnum XL-200, Millennium Force, Wicked Twister, Top Thrill Dragster, and Valravn \xc2\x96 and is the only park with roller coasters in all four height classifications. Cedar Point also received the Golden Ticket Award for ‘Best Amusement Park in the World’ from Amusement Today for 16 consecutive years from 1997-2013. The park is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States with an estimated 3.6 million visitors in 2016. The park also has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

5. Geauga Lake

Geauga Lake

Score: 13.3

Geauga Lake is an abandoned theme park in Bainbridge Township and Aurora, Ohio, United States. Established in 1887 in what had been a local recreation area adjacent to a lake of the same name, the first amusement ride was added in 1889, and the park’s first roller coaster \xc2\x96 later known as the Big Dipper \xc2\x96 was built in 1925. In 1969, the park was sold to Funtime, Inc., and was expanded over the years with additional rides and amenities. Further expansion occurred in the mid and late 1990s after Funtime’s acquisition by Premier Parks in 1995. Prior to the 2000 season, soon after Premier Parks acquired Six Flags, the park was re-branded as Six Flags Ohio and four new roller coasters were added. A year later, Six Flags bought the adjacent SeaWorld Ohio and combined the two parks under the name Six Flags Worlds of Adventure.

The park changed ownership again in 2004 after a purchase by Cedar Fair. The park’s SeaWorld portion was transformed into a water park in 2005, and together they became known as Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom. On September 21, 2007, Cedar Fair announced the closing of the amusement park in 2008, and that the property would operate solely as a water park under the title Wildwater Kingdom. Cedar Fair announced Wildwater Kingdom would not reopen after the 2016 season.

6. Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure

Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure

Score: 13.3

Geauga Lake is an abandoned theme park in Bainbridge Township and Aurora, Ohio, United States. Established in 1887 in what had been a local recreation area adjacent to a lake of the same name, the first amusement ride was added in 1889, and the park’s first roller coaster \xc2\x96 later known as the Big Dipper \xc2\x96 was built in 1925. In 1969, the park was sold to Funtime, Inc., and was expanded over the years with additional rides and amenities. Further expansion occurred in the mid and late 1990s after Funtime’s acquisition by Premier Parks in 1995. Prior to the 2000 season, soon after Premier Parks acquired Six Flags, the park was re-branded as Six Flags Ohio and four new roller coasters were added. A year later, Six Flags bought the adjacent SeaWorld Ohio and combined the two parks under the name Six Flags Worlds of Adventure.

The park changed ownership again in 2004 after a purchase by Cedar Fair. The park’s SeaWorld portion was transformed into a water park in 2005, and together they became known as Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom. On September 21, 2007, Cedar Fair announced the closing of the amusement park in 2008, and that the property would operate solely as a water park under the title Wildwater Kingdom. Cedar Fair announced Wildwater Kingdom would not reopen after the 2016 season.

7. Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge

Score: 12.0

Great Wolf Resorts is a chain of indoor water parks. The company owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand. In addition to a water park, each resort features specialty restaurants, arcades, spas, fitness rooms, and children\xc2\x92s activity areas including Yoga and bowling. Great Wolf Resorts is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Closing Out The Souvenir Shops In Ohio

There you have it — a look at some of the best amusement parks and water parks that Ohio has to offer. The Park DB constantly updates their data, so we’ll update the data as they update theirs.

Now go out there and have as much fun as humanly possible — your favorite ride is always waiting for you.

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