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50th Anniversary Series: The day Kings Island got its name

Chad Showalter

Director, Communications - Kings Island

Twitter: @ChadShowalter

It was on today’s date, October 15, 1970, that word spread throughout the country that the new amusement park north of Cincinnati, Ohio would be called Kings Island. A press release was distributed by owners, Taft Broadcasting, the day before announcing the news.

Officially, the park was named by Carroll, Ohio resident, Rebecca Richards.

Richards submitted the winning entry in a “Name the Park” contest held during July which received more than 15,000 entries. She received and won the grand prize – a free weeklong trip to Hollywood for up to four people. There were 25 runners-up in the contest, all submitting different names and all winning free tickets to Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park.

Taft executive Gary Wachs announced the selection, and simultaneously petitioned Warren County commissioners to rename Columbia Rd., immediately in front of the park, to Kings Island Rd (now Kings Island Drive) to help address communications concerns when advertising directions to the new park.

According to news reports, Taft’s executives mulled the contest’s winning entry over for nearly five weeks before they decided they could not come up with a better name. One company representative suggested that they were searching for a name suitable for a series of similar, future parks in different parts of the country. The company would ultimately open or purchase seven other amusement parks, including Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia – the only other park with “Kings” in its name. 

Park fans acknowledge that the name represented the park’s roots as well as its future. “Kings” for the location of the park near Kings Mills, Ohio, and “Island” in reference to the company’s Coney Island roots.

As Kings Island approaches its 50th Anniversary season in 2022, keep an eye on the Kings Island blog for more park history.

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Chad Showalter

Director, Communications - Kings Island

Twitter: @ChadShowalter

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