Visiting Kings Dominion with Little Kids
Updated: Jul 25
I grew up going to Kings Dominion, so it was a trip down memory lane when I took my own littles for the first time this June. There have been quite a bit of renovations since I was a kid, but the best parts of the park are still the same.
We decided to visit on a Sunday since the park doesn't open on weekdays until June 18. We also opted for the Premium Parking pass because we were unsure of the crowds on a weekend. We were really glad we picked this parking option - it is just easier being as close as possible to the gates with 2 kids under 4.
We had the premium meal plan & refillable cups for the day. These cups were incredibly helpful to have - there are drink stations around the park for refills. This made it easy to stay hydrated & cool! If you're planning on spending the entire day at the park, also check out the dining plan options. It makes it easy to grab food when you need it.
For this adventure, I brought two strollers: our regular one and our umbrella stroller. These were lifesavers - the kids road in the stroller everywhere and it also held our gear. Kings Dominion offers stroller rentals in case you forget yours or you decide last minute that you need one! I also brought my backpack as a diaper bag. I've been using the same one I've had since college for all our day-trip adventures & on our rugged outdoor adventures.
We spent 6 hours in Planet Snoopy, and only left to find milkshakes! Here are the rides in the kids' area. Mister 3.5 (H) & Little Miss 23 Months (G) tried their best to ride them all, but there wasn't enough time!
1. Boo Blasters on Boo Hill: If you visited King's Dominion as a child, you would remember this one as Scooby-Doo!™ and the Haunted Mansion. It's an interactive experience in the dark, and you get to use laser guns to fight off the ghosts. Children must be 42" to do this alone.
2. Charlie Brown's Wind Up: This is the little kid take on the traditional swing ride, and it's even milder than "Flying Aces." This ride is open to everyone, but children must be accompanied by an adult if they are under 36".
3. Flying Ace: This traditional swing ride is a thrilling one. While it isn't as high as the adult swing ride in Candy Apple Grove, it was still a bit intimidating for my 2 under 4. Riders must be 44" to ride, and adults can get on this one too.
4. Flying Ace Balloon Race: Families get to sit in "hot air balloons" and spin as the balloons lift off the ground. This ride gives great views of Plant Snoopy, too! We rode this one as a family. There is only a height minimum to ride alone - children must be 42" to do this.
5. Great Pumpkin Coaster: This kids' rollercoaster if for children 36" and taller, and adults can ride this one too. H & I rode this one - it's a lot of fun and a perfect "starter" coaster.
6. Joe Cool's Driving School: These cars are so much fun - 3 year olds and older, depending on height, can drive these cars around the town. They remind me of the battery operated trucks & cars you can have at home: kids push the pedal & control where the car goes with the steering wheel. Only H could ride this, and G was pretty upset she didn't meet the height requirements. We waiting in the shade of Joe Cool's Pit Stop.
7. Kite Eating Tree: This ride takes 6 children up in a seat & then it drops down at various points. H rode this by himself, and it was a little much for him.
8. Linus Launcher: This unique ride has children lay on their stomachs to fly like a bird. It spins in a circle. My kids didn't want to try this one - it looked a little intimidating. Children must be 36" to ride and adults can ride too!
9. Lucy's Crabbie Cabbies: This ride is traditional bumper cars, but just for little ones. Both my kids loved this ride, but only H was tall enough to drive the car. We rode this one multiple times because there wasn't a wait!
10 . Lucy's Tugboat: This boat goes up & down the "waves" and it spins around. It definitely has a great thrill for children! I rode this one with H, and he loved it! The minimum height is 42".
11. Sally's Sea Plane: This plane goes up & a round in a circular motion. I rode this with H while Little Miss 23 months was sleeping. She would have liked this ride though!
12. Peanuts 500: Don't let this ride fool you! It looks like a calm, car ride that goes in a loop. It actually has a hidden thrill - it speeds up really fast around the turns. H rode this by himself & he loved it! The minimum height for this ride is 42".
13. Peanuts Road Rally: Little ones can drive monster trucks around the track. Each car goes the same speed & the wheel doesn't really steer. Both of my littles loved this ride, and they rode together & separately. The max height for this one is 54".
14. Peanuts Turnpike: Children can drive their own sports car around the track. Each car goes the same speed & the steering wheel doesn't really work. Both of my kids loved this ride. G rode with H the first time, so we could see how the ride work. Then each one drove their own cars, and they rode it 7 times in a row because there was no line! I liked this one better than Road Rally only because it had more shade on the track. The max height for this one is 54".
15. Snoopy's Junction: This train ride is for all ages, and children need to be 36" to ride alone. It's a super smooth & slow ride, but it was a hit for my kids. We rode this as a family.
16. Snoopy vs. Red Baron: This airplane ride spins riders around in a circle, and the children can make their individual plane go up and down. H rode this one alone, and G was so sad she missed the height limit (barely)! The minimum height is 36" and the maximum height is 54".
17. Snoopy's Rocket Express: This rocket ship is in the sky following an elevated track, similar to a monorail. It's for all ages, and you need to be 42" or taller to ride alone. We rode this ride as a family.
18. Snoopy's Space Buggies: These spaceships go up and down as they spin around, similar to Disney's Dumbo ride! My kids loved this one. Little ones must be 36" to ride alone & under 36" can ride with an adult.
19. Woodstock Express: If you are a veteran King's Dominion tourist, you'll remember this coaster as The Scooby Doo, the first ride built at King's Dominion. It's for children 40" and taller. Adults can ride this one too. We were so busy with all the other rides, we didn't even try this one. It's on our list to try next visit!
20. Woodstock Whirlybirds: This ride reminds me of Disney's Mad Tea Party - the tea cups that spin! Children must be accompanied by an adult on this ride, unless they are taller than 42". We rode this one as a family, and my kids loved it!
We didn't get a chance to ride Blue Ridge Tollway in Old Virginia or the carousel in Candy Apple Grove, but they are perfect for the whole family too.
Don't miss the Family Care Center located in the middle of Snoopy's Planet. This space has a play area, two family bathrooms, two changing rooms and nursing rooms. We were incredibly impressed with how clean it was!
Tips & Tricks:
1. Purchase everything you can online. Most of the tickets are discounted on Kings Dominion's website & you can bypass some of the lines at the park.
2. A daily ticket for an adult is $42 if you purchase it online (it's $70 at the gate). There are three season pass options: the Silver Pass is $75, the Gold Pass is $89, and the Platinum Pass is $202. If you are planning on visiting 2 or more times, it is worth it to purchase a season pass. All memberships include access to Soak City & they offer discounts on food, merchandise & bringing a friend. Growing up, I had friends with season memberships solely to visit the water park. They used that as their pool instead of joining a local one.
3. If you've got children, the preferred parking pass is totally worth it. It costs $25 at the gate and $20 online. Regular parking is $20 versus $17 if you purchase it online.
4. While outside food is not allowed in the park, I took emergency snacks for my 2 littles under 4. Toddlers are unpredictable, so I am always prepared. The dining plans start at $29.99, and you can get a new entrée every 90 minutes. With entrees around $15, this is worth it if you plan on eating 2 or more meals at the park. If you opt not to purchase a dining plan, I recommend purchasing the preferred parking pass, so you can make trips back to your car for a car picnic or to go to a picnic shelter. There are three shaded picnic areas in the parking lot.
5. If you have a child between the ages of 3-5 make sure to register him for the free Pre-K pass. You have to register online prior to July 4 to receive this deal. It's really easy & then you just need to bring proof of birth to the park to pick up the ticket. It took me under 5 minutes to fill out the form & under 5 minutes at the park to pick it up.
6. If you can visit on a weekday, the tickets are cheaper & the crowd is much smaller. Right now, if you book your ticket online for a Friday or Sunday, you can save on adult tickets. The crowd on a non-holiday wasn't bad at all in Planet Snoopy. The maximum we waited for a ride was 10 minutes, and most of the rides we could just right on. The more thrilling rides in the park had longer waits though.
7. Park hours are 11-7, and the gates open 30 minutes prior to opening to keep the crowds smaller at the entrance. Arrive before 11:30 so you can be the first ones in the park!
8. Bring a stroller for anyone 5 and under. You can also rent a single stroller for $14.15 or a double for $18.87.
9. Bring backup! If you have multiple children under 5, it will be so helpful to have another adult with you. Some of the children's rides have a height minimum even if an adult is riding too! During our visit, we had two adults, so we could swap out on rides with each child.
10. Bring fans, cooling towels and sunscreen. It can get really hot in the park during the summer. Our handheld fans were lifesavers! We used our cooling towels to sit on during rides, too. The seats get hot!
11. Measure your kids prior to your visit. It's good to know how tall they are & you can anticipate which rides they can get on.
12. Soak City opens on Saturday, June 19. The water park has water slides, a lazy river, a lagoon, and a wave pool!
Also, check out the Frequently Asked Questions on Kings Dominion's website for more helpful facts.
If you've visited a theme park before, what's the most helpful thing to keep in mind with visiting with children?
Don't forget to tag @thewestendmom and #thewestendmom in your adventures! I love seeing all the fun your family has!