In Ohio there's two big players in the Amusement Park category: Cedar Point and Kings Island. Then there are water parks both indoor and outdoor, zoos, wildlife parks, and safari-like locations. Cedar Point is the oldest in the state, and perhaps the best known nationwide, even world-wide. Every year Cedar Point is ranked as one of the top-ranked amusement parks in the world. Kings Island is ranked as the largest amusement and water park in the Midwest.
At one time there were many regional amusement parks located throughout Ohio. Competition, unfavorable economies and costs forced most of these regional parks to permanently close. Today there has been a transformation of the traditional amusement park into combination water-park / amusement park / zoo or some combination of the three. Most amusement parks are open through the warmer months and most have expanded their season by offering some type of Halloween related events.
The new smaller scale amusement attractions are water parks which have been springing up across the state in a variety of shapes and sizes, some indoors, some out. Some are combined with other attractions. <see Ohio's Water Parks >>
Dating back to the 1800s Cedar Point has been one of Ohio's North Coast gems even without the amusement park attractions. It had a natural beach, beautiful views and a wonderful lake shore climate. Then in 1892 the first of many, bigger, and better roller coasters arose from the point. Today, Cedar Point has achieved stellar status in the world of coasters and amusement parks. Any coaster fan will know that you haven't ridden a coaster till you've done the point.
In comparison to Cedar Point, Kings Island is just a kid. Ohio and the country got its first glimpse of the new park in the spring of 1972 with the highlight being what has become the iconic image of Kings Island, its Eifel Tower and the twin-track Racer roller coaster. In a few years Kings Island grabbed the roller coasting world when they introduced The Beast, the biggest, fastest, and not to mention the longest wooden coaster in the world. A lot has changed since those warm spring days back in 72, but what hasn't is the attractions that just keep on coming year after year.
Coney Island is one of Ohio's oldest amusement parks that has transformed itself several times over the last 100+ years. Today it is part amusement, part water park, and part arcade. The name was originally Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West a salute of sorts to New York's Coney Island. Although today's Coney Island is not quite on the same level as the two big parks, it is still a great place for the family to relax on a summer day.
Other lesser known Amusement Parks in Ohio
Everybody knows about Ohio's 2 monster amusement parks, but did you know the Columbus Zoo also has amusement park. In fact there are several other lesser known amusement parks in Ohio that might fit your family needs better than the flamboyant big guy up north or his twin brother in Cincinnati, but for folks with little ones and on a budget, you might want to consider these as good alternatives.
Jungle Jack's Landing
The Columbus Zoo is one of the world's premiere zoos, but it also has a much lesser known amusement park which helps round out Zoombezi Bay water park, an entirely separate section of the zoo. There's also throughout the zoo a number of amusement rides including a train ride, a beautiful and historic merry go round, pirate island boat ride, and several animal rides. Each of these items are in addition to regular zoo admission.
Jungle Jack's Landing is located inside the zoo and tickets can be purchased for individual rides or a single Zoo-it-All wristband can be purchased that will include all the park rides for one low price.
Tuscora Park, New Philadelphia
Located just of Interstate 77 south of Canton, the Tuscora Park Amusement park has something for just about everyone. The little ones will enjoy the many rides designed especially for the younger set. Adults can enjoy the swimming pools, fishing in the pond, or listening to live entertainment.
Memphis Kiddie Park
Memphis Kiddie Park is an Ohio Amusement Park with a tradition dating back to the 1950s when amusement parks were all the rage across Ohio. Most of these amusement parks have long since closed, but Memphis Kiddie Park remains providing generational entertainment. This amusement park is really for the kids. It features 11 amusement rides, an arcade and miniature golf course and is still a Cleveland landmark. Most of the rides are restricted to children about 4' tall or less.