This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.
If you've been following our adventures this summer, you know we love theme parks. Last week, we were able to cross another theme park off our list – Kings Dominion.
I remember coming to Kings Dominion in my teens and it was all about the coasters and water slides. It's been at least 12 years since I have been and I was super excited to bring our boys for the first time. Of course, seeing it with little kids is very different, but just as fun! Honestly, it's more fun.
It's about a 3 hour drive each way for us, so it's doable for a day trip. But to really make it easier on us with the little ones, we opted to stay in a nearby hotel and I'm so glad we did.
As soon as we arrived, Charlie wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower. Of course, I thought this was a great way to see the whole park before really exploring.
Eiffel Tower at Kings Dominion #ad #kdfirsttimer
Posted by Mom's Messy Miracles on Sunday, July 10, 2016
After the Eiffel Tower, we decided to grab a bite to eat. After looking over our food options before we left the house, I knew we were going to take advantage of the awesome All Day Dining Plan. With this plan, you receive a barcoded wristband and you can enjoy an entree and side as often as every 90 minutes throughout the day. Not all of the restaurants throughout the park are included, but there are plenty on the list offering a great variety.
Your drink is not included, but we bought a souvenir cup (all refills are free the first day you buy it and just $1 each refill when you return to the park later in the season).
Personally, I think this worked great for our family with little kids. It ensured no one was overly hungry throughout the day and that no one ate too much at one time. We all know little ones are not going to sit down and really eat an entire meal at one shot in the middle of a theme park anyway.
We were at the park for about 9 hours. We could have taken advantage of the meal plan 4 times during the day, but did it just 3 times and it was definitely still worth our money. We had pizza and breadsticks, chicken tenders and fries, and tacos and chips. Honestly, the tacos were definitely my favorite and I will for sure be eating at Border Cafe again!
Planet Snoopy is the perfect area to spend the day with your little kids at Kings Dominion! With over 14 acres of Peanuts themed fun – from rides and shows, to meeting your favorite Peanuts character, your kids are guaranteed to have a great day!
This is where we spent the majority of our day. There are plenty of rides that the kids, even Owen, can do by themselves here. I love rides they can do without Mommy or Daddy. I think it really helps build confidence and independence.
Sometimes, the kids even rode together! I really do love this age they're at right now. They can ride the little fun rides and it's just them, together. They may fight like crazy, but they really do love being together.
Of course, Planet Snoopy also has family rides to enjoy together. Charlie and I even rode a small coaster!
Some of the rides in Planet Snoopy were too big for Owen, but Charlie loved being a “big kid” and doing things his brother could not. Something Charlie was super psyched about was Joe Cool's Driving School. I love the concept of driving around in a little town. Honestly, Charlie was probably a bit too little for this because he had a hard time making his car go. I fully expected him to complain when it was over, but he didn't. He still seemed to really enjoy it.
And we all know little kids (and parents) need a break from all of the rides at an amusement park. We caught a couple of shows while hanging out in Planet Snoopy. Our favorite was a camping show with all of our favorite camp songs! Tom and I sang right along with our favorite Peanuts friends.
One of the things I was most excited about though is the Family Care Center! I'm pretty sure that's a sign I'm officially a mom of little kids, but seriously, this place is such a blessing!
The Family Care Center is an 1,100 square foot building located in the middle of Planet Snoopy. This is the perfect place to feed your little ones (high chairs available), nurse or nap in a private room, change diapers, or just enjoy a few quiet minutes in air conditioning.
There are changing stations, sinks, a microwave, bottle warmers, rocking chairs, games, a TV playing Peanuts all day, and more!
Although we are no longer nursing and my baby is closing in on 3, we definitely took advantage of this awesome space! Charlie was having a bit of a meltdown over ice cream because you know… he's 5. We ducked in here for a little bit of quiet time. We were able to change Owen, everyone used the bathroom, finish the ice cream that was causing such a big problem, Charlie and Daddy played a couple games of checkers, and Owen chilled watching Peanuts on the TV.
If you can spend multiple days at Kings Dominion, do it! You can definitely spend an entire day at Soak City. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy in this 20-acre water park.
Soak City offers water slides for big kids and grown-ups, play areas for children, water areas for babies and toddlers, dining options, shopping, and more!
I absolutely loved the giant changing rooms. There are wooden fenced in areas that have four rooms in a cluster. We were able to roll the stroller right in and get everyone changed all together. For parents of little kids, you know the struggle of changing at a public place. We usually have to divide and conquer or leave one parent outside with the stroller, while the other takes one child in and changes while said child tries to run out of the building. Anyway, this worked out great because we all went in at the same time and kept Owen contained until we were ready to change him.
The first place we hit at Soak City was Lil' Barefoot Beach.
The boys liked this area, but the slide here dumped into a little more water than we thought. We quickly found the life jacket station and suited them up before heading back there.
Both boys went absolutely crazy at Soak City Splash House! This is a giant water-powered play house with more than 50 water-filled attractions, including a swinging bridge, water slides, and a 40-foot-high buckets that tips a crazy amount of water every few minutes!
I did have some panic attacks watching the boys play on this though because it is so big and there are so many kids on it. It was actually really difficult trying to keep track of him. Either Tom or I were with Owen the entire time he was on it, but we did let Charlie go off on his own (still at the Splash House).
Later, we did come across Splash Island and it was absolutely perfect for the younger kids! This is where I would recommend spending most of your time if you have babies and toddlers because it's not actually in a pool. Splash Island is more like a playground with water features.
Sorry about my lack of pictures while we were in Soak City. I was busy having a blast and getting soaked right along with the boys! We took a ride on the lazy river, caught some waves in the Big Wave Bay and Tidal Wave Bay, and climbed like crazy in the Splash House.
Tips for Visiting Kings Dominion with Little Kids
- Bring a stroller – You may think you won't need it, but it comes in handy! I'd rather have it and not use it than the other way around.
- Measure kids – Before we rode any rides, we had the kids measured. They received bands, which made it easier for the attendants and us to know if they were able to ride the ride.
- Get a dining plan – Kids need to eat often throughout the day and I think splitting meals worked great.
- Get a souvenir cup – Refills are free the first day you purchase your cup and you'll definitely refill it several times!
- Take breaks – Little kids need breaks, whether it's a nap or just a quiet rest. Head to the Family Fun Center for an air conditioned break or just hang out on a bench found throughout the park for a few.
- Pack extra clothes – With little ones, you never know if you'll need extra clothes, so I always pack some just in case I need them.
- Don't forget swim stuff – Diapers, swim suits, etc. are all a must if you intend on visiting Soak City (which you definitely should)!
- Sunscreen – Remember to apply sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. Kiddos getting sunburn is no fun for anyone!
- Take pictures – Sometimes it's hard to remember to snap a family picture when you're in the thick of it at an amusement park, but there are photographers throughout the park willing to do just that. Just remember to stop in to see what they captured and make your purchases before you leave the park.
- Don't rush – I always have to remind Charlie that we have all day! There is no need to rush and stress out about seeing certain things, we'll have fun and see what we do.
- Breathe – Amusement parks with little kids can definitely be exhausting, but it's fun. I love seeing their faces light up when they're on a ride or watching a show. That's what it's really all about. So, forget about the meltdown and try to just enjoy your day.