A $10 million expansion of its Soak City water park isn’t the only new feature at Kings Island this year as the amusement park celebrates its 40th anniversary season.
Kings Island will unveil four new shows and food. Thrill seekers will also notice some cosmetic changes such as new colors on the Invertigo roller coaster (aqua track and royal blue supports).
Kings Island this season unveils an expanded water park with a new name and more activities, including a second wave pool.
At a cost of $10 million, Soak City will be 33 acres, more than double the size of the old Boomerang Bay with three times more chairs and open grass for lounging.
“It’s more than just a name change,” Kings Island spokesman Don Helbig said. “It’s an entirely new experience.”
The second wave pool is 650,000 gallons. Helbig said the original wave pool is kind of a mild thrill experience with the waves being just a couple of feet tall. He said the new one will have waves higher than 4 feet and it will be a much more aggressive type of wave pool. Tubes will be allowed in the new wave pool.
The park’s lazy river is no longer that. It’s now billed as an action river with new cascading rock wall waterfall features, new turbulent water effects and other features.
In all, Soak City has more than 50 water activities, including 30 water slides.
Soak City opens May 26. Hours are generally 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• “British Invasion,” Festhaus, starts opening day, songs of the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Elton John and others
• “Charlie Brown’s All-Stars,” Peanuts Playhouse, starts opening day, a baseball-themed show with Peanuts characters
• “Remember When: The 70s!” Showplace Theatre, starting in June, music from the 1970s, the decade Kings Island opened
• “Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus of Magic and Mayhem,” Kings Island Theatre, June 2 through the end of August: Magician Ed Alonzo who played Max in the sitcom “Saved by the Bell.”
“It’s like adding a new ride because not everybody will ride rides all the time. Some people come just for the entertainment aspect,” Helbig said. “So you always want to have something that’s new and fresh for those guests as well.”
Shows returning are “American Country,” “Hot Summer Nights” and “Peanuts Party in the Plaza.”
New food includes “fresh never frozen” hamburgers at the Festhaus, Juke Box Diner and Stunt Crew Grill; a new Philly cheesesteak at the Snake Pit food stand, burritos, burrito bowls and nachos at Hank’s Burrito Shack restaurant at the park’s Oktoberfest section, and gluten-free pizza at LaRosa’s on International Street.
Other new food includes a new pretzel, improved funnel cakes and a fresh-dipped ice cream bar at the Planet Snoopy section of the park where customers will be able to add their own toppings.
Kings Island will have freestyle Coca-Cola machines in the park where customers can make their own drinks. A commemorative souvenir 40th anniversary bottle will be available for purchase. Coke and LaRosa’s have been partners with Kings Island for 40 years.
If you go
Kings Island opens Saturday.
• It is closed for a private event on Sunday.
• It opens for weekend operation May 4.
• Daily operation starts May 11.