Taking Kids to Kings Dominion for the First Time

Kings Dominion Planet Snoopy

Going to amusement parks was something I lived for during the summers. Traveling up and down the East Coast, I know I have been to quite a few. It has actually turned me into a coaster junkie!  We love amusement parks but had been on a hiatus since the children arrived. Now that they are 3 and 5, we figured that is was finally the right time to take the plunge since they are tall enough to ride on many rides either by themselves or with one of us. So we ventured out to the one and only, Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va.  If you are from Richmond or the Greater Washington, DC area, you already know it’s one of the summer’s top places to be.

Pulling into the parking lot, the kids were filled with excitement! Eyes wide open and bellies full, they were ready to conquer the day with rides and fun. Before we could get out of the car, they spotted a huge roller coaster and went off! I didn’t have the guts to tell them that they weren’t tall enough at that point because their smiles stole my heart (we talked about it later).  At that point, I knew that it was going to be a great day! Parking was a breeze, it wasn’t crowded, everyone was happy, and the smell of sweet treats brushed my nose. Like most families, we stopped for pictures in the front and then headed up International Drive. Bouncing up and down they wanted to make a quick detour to the fountains. I found it a bit strange but they just wanted to stop and take a look at their surroundings. Standing next to the gate my daughter said, “This is amazing!”

On to Planet Snoopy, I think I was more excited than they were. I barely use maps and for whatever reason I thought it would help me to “plan” but I quickly ditched it. This time I didn’t care where each ride was because I knew that we’d do it all! I didn’t expect to have to deal with kids and cars until the age of 16 but we let them test out their skills at Joe Cool’s Driving School and PEANUTS Turnpike. I said that I was a coaster junkie and with every bit of my heart, I was hoping that my kids would share that same love. AND IT HAPPENED… We started on Snoopy’s Rocket so that we could scope out the area from an aerial view. They did great and even talked about how they wished the ride would have lasted much longer. They rode on the Great Pumpkin Coaster 3 times, 3 TIMES and then it was time for the big guns. The Woodstock Express (name change) has been in the park since I can remember. It was the only kiddie roller coaster that would literally make your stomach drop and test your ability to ride an “adult coaster.” With no hesitation we hopped right in the seats, my daughter with me and my son with my husband. Hands in the air, laughing, chuckling and hearts racing, we went down the first hill, “AHHHHHH,” was all I could hear. Twisting and turning, the children yelled back and forth to each other about the ride. At the end they screamed, “let’s get on again!” The coaster kids have bloomed.

We stayed in Planet Snoopy for hours and the little thrill seekers rode each ride at least twice. As we were walking, I noticed over a dozen “Snoopy Snippets,” giving parents sound advice about raising children. The overall motto was “You are your child’s first and most important teacher.” In a nutshell it guided parents on how to make all experiences in the park teachable moments while still having fun. I must applaud the park for implementing locks on the rides that require a key. This gave us extra comfort since kids can’t just get up and jump off the rides hastily.

Since it was so early in the season, there were very few shows and we didn’t get to see Snoopy and the Gang. My daughter kept asking about Snoopy but settled for the ceramic statues around the park. Or maybe she got over it when she spotted Sweet Frog and commenced to beg for her favorite ice cream. Over in Soak City we spent about an hour playing in the water pods and hanging out at Lil’ Barefoot Beach. Before long it was almost time for the park to close. Yes, we stayed until the park closed! Since I am a junkie, we squeezed in a few more family rides like the Flying Eagles, Shenandoah Lumber Company and the Eiffel Tower.

Some of our best moments were captured, not just with the camera, but in our hearts forever:

1. My daughter nearly sprinting to Snoopy to give him a hug.
2. Familiar children’s songs  playing on the speakers causing the whole family to stop and break out into dance.
3. Almost getting sick as my husband spun us on the Woodstock Whirlybirds.
4. Defeating Boocifer with our Boo Blasters.
5. Leaving the park eating our sweet treats saying, “I can’t wait until we com back here again.”

I am the first to admit that I didn’t think the kids would last all day but they did. The 14 acres at Planet Snoopy and the extra 10 miles we walked wasn’t enough to slow them down. We will be sure to visit very soon, just hope that it’s soon enough for them.

Plan A Visit

Kings Dominion is open until Oct 30th with special hours in September and October. In addition, there are a ton of summer events including a special visit from Choo Choo Soul, the Imagination Movers, KidsFest, JoyFest and more. See the summer lineup here.

Live Close to the Park? Get Kings Dominion Season Passes!! 

Season passes include unlimited visits for 2016 (including Halloween season), free parking, early ride/early entry times, discounts on food and beverages, free admission to Dinosaurs Alive, discount days for friends and family and more. Learn more and purchase season passes.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.