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Kings Island celebrates 45 years of world class thrills, fun and family entertainment

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In the fall of 1971, Coney Island, an amusement park on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, closed its gates for the final time, ending an era in entertainment.  The following spring, another era began when the turnstiles began spinning in Kings Mills, Ohio at the new Kings Island Amusement Park.  When the gates opened April 29, 1972, the stage was set for the next 45 years of world-class thrills, fun and family entertainment.

Although roller coasters like the Racer are still speeding up and down the tracks and the Grand Carousel still spins as it did 40 years ago, the park has gone through many changes.  When opened, there were just over 60 attractions for the public to enjoy. Now, after 45 years of capital investments in excess of $300 million, there are more than 100 attractions. 

In 1972, five themed areas were highlighted. Today there are seven. The employment opportunities have changed dramatically as well.  Where it once took 1,300 employees to operate the park on any given day during the season, it now requires approximately 4,000 to keep the 364-acre facility in operation. The changes have not been limited to the park itself. The area surrounding the park, once farmland, now thrives with commercial and retail businesses, as well as the incredibly increasing population of homes.

During the past 45 years, an annual visit to Kings Island has become tradition for millions of people. Since 1972, more than 135 million visitors have experienced the park’s thrills making Kings Island one of the most celebrated amusement and theme parks in the world.  

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Don Helbig

As public relations area manager at Kings Island, I oversee the park's news media and social media efforts. My Kings Island career began in 2007 with the marketing team. I grew up visiting Kings Island, which makes it incredibly special to be part of the team to celebrate 45 years of providing world-class fun, thrills and quality family entertainment.

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