King’s Dominion is turning 40 this year. The theme park, located about 20 minutes north of Richmond on I-95, is beginning to show its middle age but still provides lots of family fun for a reasonable theme park price. The walk up admission price to King’s Dominion is $64 and includes the theme park rides and its attached water park known as Water Works. You can purchase same day tickets on their website for $54 adult and $41 junior admission (under 48 inches in height). An even cheaper option is to purchase online 3 days (or more) in advance for $49 adult tickets.
King’s Dominion is known for its thrill rides and on that end it did not disappoint our crew of kids ages 18, 14, 10, 9 and 8. The key height for thrill seekers in this park is 48 inches. Guests below this height have few options for roller coasters or other high adventure rides. Upon entry into the park with kids your first stop should be the measurement station next to the Eiffel Tower.
Here kids get officially measured and get a color-coded wrist band to see which rides they are eligible for. King’s Dominion has a good mix of old school wooden coasters and newer high speed rides. Our group rode the Hurler, Rebel Yell, Ricochet and the Anaconda. Those 54 inches and over have even more options for roller coaster fun.
For kids who like to stay closer to the ground King’s Dominion offers a few “low thrill” family rides. Bumper cars, old time cars for driving, a log flume, carousel and Ferris wheel are scattered throughout the park. If you want to get soaked without venturing to the water park, White Water Canyon is a must. You can pay $5 for the “family dryer” at the exit if you get wetter than planned!
For the youngest visitors the park offers Planet Snoopy. This area has rides for kids 36 inches and over to ride alone and several rides with no height limit that parents and kids can ride together. This area also has Peanuts themed shopping, character greets and entertainment. There is also a Family Care Center located near the restrooms in Planet Snoopy where parents can have a comfortable spot to feed infants. The center is air-conditioned and has a microwave for warming up bottles.
On a hot summer day Water Works is a welcome respite from the heat. The water park opens daily (through September 1) at noon. For kids and adults over 48 inches there are a variety of water slide options (most of them enclosed tube type of slides). Younger kids and those less adventurous can cool off in the lazy river, wave pool or 2 water play areas. There are changing areas, lockers, beach chairs and cabana rentals available in the Water Works area. Life jackets are available and are required for kids under 48 inches. So be sure to bring your bathing suit and take advantage of this fun piece of the park.
One more area within the park with its own additional fee is Dinosaurs Alive. This trail has more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs and hands on activities for your budding paleontologists. We did not venture here so I cannot speak from experience on its worth. Adding Dinosaurs Alive to your admission ticket if you purchase online can be very economical. Normal admission is $6, but online you can buy packages of 3 admissions for $3 each or 4 or more passes for $2.50 each.
King’s Dominion has many chain restaurants within its borders. Chick-fil-a, Sweet Frog, Panda Express, Subway, Rita’s and Starbucks are all found here with significantly increased prices from their normal locations. The majority of non-chain food options are typical theme park items – pizza, burgers, chicken fingers and ice cream abound. No outside food or drink is allowed in the park and they do check bags upon your arrival at the front gates. You can leave the park and eat food from home in the picnic area outside the gates and return as long as you get your hand stamped. There are plenty of water fountains so you can bring in an empty reusable water bottle to fill up throughout the day to cut down on food costs.
Parking at King’s Dominion is $15 for normal parking and $20 for priority parking. We paid for normal parking and had no trouble getting a close in spot shortly after opening on a Saturday morning. If you want to avoid the lines for parking you can prepay for this online and use the Express Lane upon your arrival. Cash and credit are both accepted for the parking fee onsite.
Discounts and Hours
In addition to the online deals mentioned above there are several other ways to get reduced admission to King’s Dominion. Military personnel can purchase tickets for themselves and up to 6 family members for $39 each. Reserve Williamsburg offers $40 tickets for various dates online and the Virginia Parks and Recreation Society has prices as low as $33 for select summer dates.
King’s Dominion is open daily through August 10th from 10:30am to 10:00pm. Beginning on August 11th, weekday hours are 10:30am to 8:00pm with weekend hours extending to 10pm. The park is open on weekends only from September through Halloween.
King’s Dominion is a great summer day trip from the Washington area. Make the trip down 95 for a day of roller coasters and water slides that the whole family will enjoy!