5224 E. Indiana Beach Road
Monticello, IN 47960
In general: The boardwalk along Lake Shafer in northern Indiana is packed with a mix of old-fashioned and high tech rides and attractions. Worth a trip just for the funky ambiance, especially after dark.
Cheesy stage shows: The Water Thrill and Stunt Spectacular take place on the lake every evening from June through August. Check New in 2007 for info on the latest water show. The Roof Garden Lounge features live music for dancing. The Skyroom Restaurant also features live entertainment.
Rides: Solid, if not overwhelming, mix of thrill rides, family rides and attractions. Unique to Indiana Beach is the Shafer Queen, a big ole paddle-wheel riverboat that gives tours of the lake.
Water Park: Not that big, but at least it’s on a real body of water. Six water slides, a “lazy river” and a real beach with sand and everything. Separate admission fees.
New in 2007: At the Aqua Theater will be Pirates Revolt: The Pillage of Paradise Island. This pirate-themed water thrill and stunt show will amaze onlookers four times daily along the Indiana Beach Boardwalk Funway. The show begins June 9, and runs through Aug. 19.
HOLIDAY WORLD & SPLASHIN’ SAFARI
PO Box 179
Santa Claus, IN 47579
In general: Friendly Southern Indiana destination; pleasantly unhip and easily the most “do-able” park in the heartland. Soft drinks are free and unlimited, and any theme park veteran will attest that this is a fantastic perk. Thirty SPF sunscreen (PABA-free) is provided free of charge in the water park. Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari are smoke-free except for designated smoking areas. The facility has repeatedly been voted the World’s Friendliest Park and the World’s Cleanest Park by the readers of Amusement Today magazine. Kids will love the mega-playhouse and run-through fountain.
Cheesy stage shows: Four, highlighting rock, pop, country and old-time gospel, along with a karaoke show. Also, check out the Olympic-style diving in the Diveworks show.
Rides: The Raven, The Legend and The Voyage, judged three of the best wooden roller coasters in the world, are the stars of the show in Holiday World. The park has an ever-expanding mix of thrill and family rides. Still, hard-core thrill riders should visit on a hot, sunny day, so they can keep the adrenaline pumping with a trip to the water park.
Water Park: Splashin’ Safari is a full-size water park that keeps growing, with the expected slides, a “lazy river” and a wave beach. Included with admission.
New in 2007: In Splashin’ Safari. Bakuli (pronounced bah-COOL-ee) is the Swahili word for “bowl” and that is exactly where it takes you — swirling round and round in a huge, colorful bowl! Start seven stories up and climb into a four-person cloverleaf raft. You’ll be launched into a very dark, very steep tunnel that’s full of surprises. Also, in the Thanksgiving section of Holiday World, take a spin on the Turkey Whirl, a new themed tilt-a-whirl.
P.O. Box 901
6300 Kings Island Drive
Kings Island, OH 45034
800-288-0808 or 513-754-5700
In general: This sprawling theme park, located outside of Cincinnati, is an old friend to most Hoosiers. Who doesn’t have memories of taking pictures from the top of the Eiffel Tower, chatting with friends while watching the colorful fountain lights in the evening and riding The Beast, still the best wooden roller coaster in the world?
Cheesy stage shows: But of course! Choose from five productions: Hot Island Rhythms, Twistin’ to the ’60s, Endless Summer on Ice, Dora’s Sing-a-Long and Meet the Nick Toons.
Rides: With more than 80 rides and attractions, there really is something for everyone. In addition to The Beast, coaster fans can ride Son of Beast, the tallest, fastest and only looping wooden coaster on the planet, Drop Zone, the world’s tallest gyro drop, and many more.
Water Park: Boomerang Bay, with more than 50 water activities, including 30 water slides, tropical lagoons, rushing rivers, surfable waves, three family activity areas and careening waterfalls, all surrounded by lush landscaping.
New in 2007: Kings Island celebrates its 35th anniversary by soaring to new heights with its 14th roller coaster, Firehawk. Debuting Memorial Day weekend, this innovative flying coaster propels willing test pilots 115 feet in the air and through five inversions at speeds of more than 50 mph — all while facing the ground, experiencing the inconceivable feeling of human flight.
1 Cedar Point Drive
Sandusky, OH 44870
In general: It’s a long drive to Sandusky, Ohio, located on the shore of Lake Erie, but well worth it. The trade publication Amusement Today has repeatedly voted the 134-year-old Cedar Point the Best Amusement Park on Earth.
Cheesy stage shows: More than anyone, including special material for children.
Rides: Are you kidding? Cedar Point has it all, including a record-breaking 17 roller coasters. My favorite remains the elegant Magnum XL-200, which affords a great view of Lake Erie as it gives you a heart attack.
Water Park: Soak City is a huge separate-fee water park adjacent to Cedar Point, with everything you would expect from a huge water park, plus a water bar, with underwater stools and everything.
New in 2007: Maverick is Cedar Point’s newest roller coaster. Traveling over 4,450 feet of steel tubular track, riders feel the excitement as their train ascends up a 105-foot lift hill, propelled by linear synchronous motors. From the top, the train drops 100 feet at an astonishing 95-degree angle. Throughout the experience, riders on Maverick are treated to low-to-the-ground maneuvers, three inversions and a second launch that sends each train through a dark tunnel at speeds of 70 mph!
937 Phillips Lane
Louisville, KY 40209
In general: Not exactly interwoven with the landscape, but they keep trying to make the place look greener and more hospitable. Lots and lots to do.
Cheesy stage shows: Meet the Justice League superheroes, have brunch with Bugs Bunny or enjoy the Celebration Parade.
Rides: Major roller coasters, including Superman: Tower of Power, plus an assortment of other thrill rides, along with family-friendly rides and attractions.
Water Park: Splashwater Kingdom has a water slide complex, a five-story water tree house, a wave pool, plus a play area for kids. For more, read on.
New in 2007: Deluge is a cutting-edge water coaster that uses rocket-propelled water, magnets and gravity to blast riders through high-bank turns, tunnels and hills. It’s the world’s only four-person “HydroMagnetic Rocket Booster” rafting ride that can be shared with family and friends. Plummet down roller coaster-like drops, then rocket uphill into an enclosed tunnel while getting sprayed with water from all sides.
I-44 & Six Flags Road
Eureka, MO 63025
In general: Nicely landscaped facility with all you would expect from a theme park. Considered one of the best of the Six Flags parks, it is very popular with locals. Those headed for the water park on a hot day had best arrive early.
Cheesy stage shows: Lots of them, plus the Masquerade Parade.
Rides: A number of coasters, including Batman — The Ride, Superman: Tower of Power, Mr. Freeze, the Xcalibur catapult ride and much more.
Water Park: Hurricane Harbor includes the standard water park attractions and is included with park admission.
New in 2007: Tony Hawk’s Big Spin, the first true 21st century coaster, inspired by one of the greatest action sports athletes of all time, Tony Hawk. The ride twirls you as it hurls down a 1,351-foot track. Rip through wild turns, helixes and a camelback. Experience a different ride every time. """