We’ve had a few beautiful spring days in Southern Ohio. The temperature has been close to 80 degrees. I cautiously embrace the coming summer and the coming theme park season.
I say cautiously because, over the past week, I have awoken to frost and temperatures in the low 30s a few times. And it was just a few weeks ago I woke up to a dusting of snow! If fact, we recently celebrated a make-up neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt that was cancelled by rain and cold just two Sundays ago. Mercifully, I hope, what are officially referred to as “calamity days” are behind us. These are school days cancelled by some sort of heinous act of Mother Nature: snowstorm, ice storm, even a windstorm back in 2008. With these days tentatively behind us, I await the sounds of coasters, the smell of cotton candy and the warmth of a summer day.
All seasonal amusement parks have opened or are about to open. Here are the opening dates of a few:
Alton Towers, United Kingdom, Now Open
Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, V.A., Now Open
Canada’s Wonderland, near Toronto, Canada, May 2
Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C., Now Open
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio May 15
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Now Open
Hershey Park, Hershey, Penn., open spring break, but not again until May 1
Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind., May 1
Kennywood, West Mifflin, Penn. (Pittsburgh), May 8
Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, April 17
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas, April 24
Six Flags America, Baltimore/DC area, Now Open
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J., Now Open
Six Flags Great America, Chicago, Ill., April 24
Six Flags Over Georgia, Atlanta Ga., Now Open
Thorpe Park, United Kingdom, Now Open
Now most of these parks, even after the stated open date, are open limited schedules and limited hours. Call or check the park’s Web site before arriving.
What happens at parks over the winter? Some sites are busy with new construction of that next great attraction or other area improvements. Unfortunately, some parks closed last season never to reopen, i.e. Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and Freestyle Music Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Some parks, like people, lay in waiting all winter. Here is a glimpse of a few parks, no doubt dreaming of a hot, humid summer day.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. Out of the Loop keeps you up-to-date with attraction news outside of Central Florida. Andy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.