A Day at Kings Island


When I was raising my first three children in Cincinnati in the 1950s and 1960s, our amusement park was Coney Island on the Ohio River, east of town.  There were rides including a gorgeous merry-go-round and an exciting Shooting Star roller coaster, shady picnic groves, a huge swimming pool, and a big lake for paddle boats.  It had everything we needed and the kids loved it.

By the time my fourth child was a toddler in 1972, things had changed.  Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, became the place to go.  We didn’t get to visit that often because it was expensive for a big family and a long drive from our house, but it’s the place that my youngest daughter remembers fondly.

Coney Island has remained in business and we visit a couple of times a year, but now we all live about 10 minutes from Kings Island and my daughter buys season passes for everybody.

Last week, I went along for the sights and sounds of Kings Island with my daughter and two grandchildren, known here as Jellyfish (age 10) and Dolphin (age 6).  I don’t get on any of the rides but I come in handy sitting with one of the kids while the other is on a favorite ride with mother.  The Beast is one of Jellyfish’s favorites.


Dolphin has a lot of exciting rides to choose from like the Dodgems, the Scrambler, Shake Rattle & Roll, a kid-sized roller coaster ….


sydwaterA ride I like to watch is the old 1926 merry-go-round which was moved from Coney Island.



It has 48 beautiful horses….


Jellyfish is a very good photographer and took the pictures in this post (except this one).  This is a view from the top of the Kings Island Eiffel Tower, a 1/3 replica of the one in Paris.


We all had several hours of fun and then drove the short distance to my house for lunch.  Just like in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, I have a chance to enjoy going on a summer outing with some cute kids.

A Picnic at Cincinnati’s Coney Island

For generations, Cincinnati families have been going to Coney Island on the Ohio River for picnics, rides and swimming.  Until the mid-1940s, there was a beautiful boat which made the trip, bringing people from the public landing in downtown Cincinnati to this lovely spot just outside Coney’s old riverside entrance.

Then, up the hill and through the stone entrance to a day of fun.

Everyone enters  Coney Island these days by car, coming in the main front gate, but it’s still a fun way to spend a few summer hours.  I came along with my youngest daughter and her two children to see Lake Como….

….try out the ferris wheel….

…and bounce up and down on The Frog.

The best feature of this old park is the abundance of big, leafy trees and lots of shade.  We picked a shady spot to eat the picnic lunch I had prepared – chicken sandwiches on foccacia bread, brownies and our favorite Broccoli Salad.  Here’s the recipe for the broccoli salad which is a little lower in fat than the original:


  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Blend mayonnaise, granulated sugar and vinegar and refrigerate until ready to mix with vegetables.

Blanch broccoli by steaming for just a few minutes – just until the broccoli turns bright green.  Place broccoli, bacon, cheese, onion, pecans and raisins in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to mix.

AT LEAST ONE HOUR BEFORE SERVING, mix mayo dressing with salad and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Yield:  4-6 servings.