Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is heralded roller coaster capital of the world. With over 15 roller coasters, thrill-seekers from across the country flock to Cedar Point every summer. This summer alone, I have had friends from Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona travel to this roller coaster packed amusement park on the shores of Lake Erie. But is Cedar Point an appropriate adventure for younger families? My answer is absolutely!!
Cedar Point has three areas that are completely devoted to children’s rides. The first area you encounter as you enter the park is Kiddy Kingdom. This is the oldest, and probably the least-themed of the three areas. It is full of merry-go-round type rides, generally different vehicles such as motorcycles, space ships, and cars that kids ride around in circles on. These are great rides for timid riders to start their riding adventures. Don’t be fooled by the Roto Whip. This is a fabulous ride, but much more intense than it looks. My kids LOVE this ride, but I have seen many kids who do not like intense rides end up in tears on this one. Kiddy Kingdom is also home to the Kiddy Kingdom Carousel. This is a great first ride for young riders, as parents can stand next to them during the ride.
Planet Snoopy is the next children’s area and is located just beyond Kiddy Kingdom. This area is full of Snoopy and other Peanut’s characters themed attractions. This area contains a Joe Cool’s Dodgem School, a smaller version of Dodgem Cars that kids between 35″ and 53″ can drive by themselves. Although there are several kids rides in this area, there are also rides that can be ridden as a family such as Woodstock’s Whirlybirds, a ride where you can spin around in Woodstock’s nest (think a smaller version of the famous teacups at Disneyland) and Snoopy’s Express Railroad, a small train with Woodstock lighting the way.
My kids’ favorite children’s area is Camp Snoopy located at the back of the park. A giant Snoopy bounce house welcomes visitors to this second Peanuts themed area. In addition to several smaller children’s rides, Camp Snoopy houses two roller coasters that are just right for kids. Wilderness Run, formerly Jr Gemini, is a great roller coaster for young kids to start on. Parents can ride alongside their kids if they would like. The ride is quick, and if you like it you can go around twice! There is also Woodstock Express, which is a slightly more intense roller coaster themed like a train with Woodstock as the guide. Parents can also ride alongside their kids on this coaster.
In addition to the two roller coasters, there numerous Peanuts-themed family rides in Camp Snoopy including Charlie Brown’s Wind-Up, a small spinning swing ride, and the classic Tilt-a-Whirl. Camp Snoopy also has several themed rides just for kids.
In addition to the three designated children’s areas, there are multiple rides that can be enjoyed as a family scattered throughout Cedar Point. The Lake Erie Eagles, located just outside Camp Snoopy, is a classic ride that returned to Cedar Point a few years ago. This simple ride allows riders to control their level of thrill by moving the head of the eagle side to side. The Giant Wheel is a large ferris wheel that sits near the beach and offers incredible views both during the day and at night. We love to ride this as one of our last rides of the night and view all the colorful lights around Cedar Point. Another great ride offering fabulous views of the park is the Sky Ride located in the Main Midway. The Sky Ride allow families to ride 92 feet in the air for over half a mile in their own personal gondola. The Sky Ride closes often with higher winds, so I suggest riding this attraction whenever you have the chance (we have had the best luck riding early in the day). Ocean Motion, a swinging ship ride; Pipe Scream, a Snoopy-themed thrill ride; the classic Scrambler; and the Midway Carousel are some other great family rides scattered throughout the park.
Be sure to check the height requirements for each ride before entering the lines. You can find the height requirements listed in the park map and posted at the entrance of each ride. I highly suggested having your children measured after you enter Cedar Point. There is a measuring station just to the left after the entrance. After your child is measured, he or she will receive a colored wristband with their height. I have found this eliminates any questions on rides throughout the day as ride operators will refer to the wristbands and not remeasure the kids.
When the afternoon sun is beating down upon us, we love to ride the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad to Frontier Town to walk in the shade and avoid the crowds. Be sure to take the train ride back as well as the route back to the Midway Station has several western-themed scenes with skeleton cowboys. Frontier Trail is wonderfully themed in the spirit of the old west. There are numerous period shops, many of which have craftsmen doing live demonstrations. In the candle shop you can hand dip your own candles. There is also an old-time photography studio and entertainment. Be sure to stop in the air-conditioned Town Hall to stroll through some memorabilia from Cedar Point’s history.
Frontier Town is also home to The Barnyard. In this classic barnyard, families have the opportunity to interact and feed (for a small fee) a large variety of farm animals.
You can also find the Glass Academy Glass Blowing Experience in Frontier Town. This is a fabulous place to rest your feet as you sit the shade and are mesmerized as master craftsmen mold beautiful glass works of art.
Cedar Point also offers a variety of high quality-family entertainment throughout the day. This year there are two different shows featuring the Peanuts gang as well as Snoopy’s Sing-A-Long where kids can join Snoopy in a fun karaoke experience. In addition to the Peanuts Gang shows, there are also a variety of music shows and a bike/skateboarding showcase. With this wide variety of entertainment, it is easy to find something to entertain every family member.
Another great way to beat the afternoon heat is a stroll through Dinosaurs Alive! For an additional fee, your family is immersed among over 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. This highly educational exhibit takes a minimum of 30 minutes to walk through, but generally takes much longer as you take time to learn about each of the dinosaurs you pass. There is also an interactive area where kids can work to uncover fossils in a large sandbox.
Between the large variety of rides for kids and the entire family, fabulous entertainment options, and fun themed areas, Cedar Point is the perfect place for families to spend the day with young children.
Tips for a Successful Day at Cedar Point
1. Have your kids measured and get wrist bands after entering the park. This will avoid the disappointment of standing in a long line only to be turned away because they did not meet the height requirement. Height requirements are listed in the park map and at ride entrances and are strictly enforced.
2. Arrive at the park early to take advantage of the shortest lines and beat the summer heat.
3. Purchase your tickets and parking online before arriving at the park. You can often find the best ticket prices online and will avoid the ticket lines.
4. When you purchase your tickets online, also buy the souvenir cup. It will provide your family will free refills of ice-cold beverages all day (the best cup prices can typically be found online before you enter the park). We buy one cup to share with the entire family.
5. Beat the afternoon heat by heading for shade and away from the crowds in Frontier Town or Dinosaurs Alive!
6. Be sure to take advantage of the excellent entertainment. It’s another great way to relax and beat the heat while enjoying some fabulous performances.