We did it.
We took the leap.
We visited Kings Dominion with our kids this weekend.
And? It was awesome.
My husband and I hadn’t been there in years, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But we were pleasantly surprised.
Not only was Kings Dominion clean and totally beautiful, it was seriously more family-friendly than we expected. There was something for everyone, and my kids (11, 9, and 8 years old) are raring for a return visit–already.
Need a few reasons to take the trip to Doswell, Virgina–20 miles north of Richmond and 75 miles south of DC–to experience it for yourself?
Here’s the skinny. . .
Kings Dominion– Family-Friendly Amusement Park in the DC Metro Area
Here are my top 5 reasons families should take a trip to Kings Dominion this season:
1. It’s beautiful and clean.
Really. Gorgeous flowers. Green grass everywhere. Fountains, shops, restaurants– and restrooms!– all super clean.
It was something that my husband and I noted multiple times–we’d look at each other and comment about how beautiful the park was.
And I don’t even think it was that we were so grateful to be outdoors on a perfect spring day; the park really, truly is beautiful.
2. The color band bracelets make ride decisions easier.
The minute we arrived, we walked into a Height Guide station almost immediately, and this sweet gal was handing out bracelets to kids based on their height.
I loved it–it made deciding which rides Maddy, Owen, and Cora were permitted to ride much, much easier.
Turns out that our kids were able to ride just about everything they wanted, which made the whole day totally stress-free.
The height guide is available on the website, so you can even measure your kids at home and plan accordingly.
3. Super-fun concert and event series.
We were thrilled that the day we went to the park, Debby Ryan (think: Jessie, from Disney channel) and her band, The Never Ending, was playing.
Our friends at Kings Dominion arranged for us to even meet her, which was an absolute treat for Maddy, Owen, and Cora.
They met Debby Ryan! And Debby Ryan was delightful. So sweet. So kind. So great with the kids.
We had a blast watching the show, and it was a huge highlight of our family’s spring break.
And honestly, the concert was free with park admission. So it was cool–everyone kind of moseyed on over around 5:30 for the 6pm concert. Great outdoor venue. So fun.
But this concert is just the beginning of the fun during the Spring Bloom Festival at the park; there’s a ton of other things planned this season:
- Choo Choo Soul – For the younger ones, Choo Choo Soul is a children’s entertainment act featuring a hip-hop train conductor and her partner, a dancer and beatboxer dressed as a railroad engineer. The concert is free with park admission. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Choo Choo Soul will perform at the Peanut’s Showplace Theater on Sunday, April 19 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Spring Bloom: An International Culinary Celebration – Take a culinary trip around the world with Kings Dominion’s Executive Chef! New food stations and restaurants will feature international food items from Switzerland, Italy, Jamaica, and many more! These delicious delicacies will be created using fresh spring ingredients from local Virginia farms.
- Live Entertainment – Strap on your dancing shoes and enjoy toe-tapping entertainment from local Country and Bluegrass bands every weekend!
- Happy Birthday KD! – Kings Dominion opened over the course of two years, with the official grand opening on May 3, 1975. Time to cut the cake and blow out the candles as the park officially turns 40 on May 3, 2015. The day will be filled with surprises, entertainment and more!
I love that there are things other than just rides to explore here.
4. Activities for all ages.
It’s no secret that Cora is not a fan of big roller coasters. She, like her mama, prefers the lazy river type of rides. So when we discovered Planet Snoopy, we were both in heaven.
Planet Snoopy is a PEANUTS™ happy area filled with 18 rides designed for entire families to enjoy together. These aren’t all ‘baby rides’ mind you; a few were rated ‘moderate thrill’ level 3, and I thought they were a little crazy. The whole area was well-organized, and I liked that after a while we started seeing the same faces of kids and parents. It gave this big park a ‘small park’ feel.
Maddy, Owen, and their dad enjoyed some crazy fast and furious rides while Cora and I were rolling more slowly, and they loved every second of it.
They rode just about every big coaster they could, and after a while all the names started to sound the same to me. All I know is that they proudly survived the Intimidator 305, the ‘tallest, fastest, and most thrilling roller coaster on the East Coast’. All I can say is thank goodness I wasn’t standing there watching them.
5. Great food choices.
Food is huge for our family. We love food.
And especially when we’re out and about, we like to have great food choices to keep us going.
Huge surprise to us was that Chick-fil-A® was there. Panda Express® and Rita’s® was there. Starbucks® and Subway® was there. There were a ton of really great options, and this is just the start–there were some super spots for sweet treats and sit-down meals as well.
Check out all of our photos from the day:
Do you want to get in on the fun, even if you’re far away?
- Check out the Kings Dominion webcams
- Test your Kings Dominion expertise with some trivia
- Take a stroll down memory lane with the Kings Dominion 40th Anniversary Celebration
- Stay connected with Kings Dominion on social media
Overall, we were impressed. It was an awesome, awesome day at Kings Dominion.
Have you been there? Have you tried it? Anything in particular that you loved or didn’t love? I’d love to hear it!
fyi: Huge and happy thanks to the team at Kings Dominion for extending an invitation to the park and the Debby Ryan Meet & Greet to our family and then asking me to write about the experience. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.