Summer is here and as glad as I am to have my kids around all of the time (really, I am), I know I could do a better job of actually playing with them. I’m sure I’m not alone as a parent in putting work, chores, and other obligations before playing around with my young kids, and it’s a habit I’m desperately trying to kick this summer. In the theme of more play and more quality time together, I was thrilled to take my 5-year-old and 3-year-old to Coney Island this summer. If you visit their website here, you’ll see the words Come Out and Play at Coney Island on almost every page and it truly is the ultimate playground for Cincinnati-area families.
Since we are just beyond the nap stage, I planned an entire day of fun at Coney Island so we could really take advantage of all the park has to offer. In case you hadn’t heard, right now Coney Island is hosting a gigantic 155-ft. tall Ferris wheel that’s open for rides daily, now through July 8th. The Wheel opens at 11 am, so we decided to start our day of fun there. You can purchase tickets to ride the wheel online, at the main ticket booth, or at a booth right next to the wheel. It’s only $5/person to ride and it’s really a one-of-a-kind experience that I’m so glad we did. I have to admit, I was a little nervous, especially when the enclosed six-person gondola started to slightly rock, but I was able to relax and take in the views with my little ones. They loved seeing the tops of the water slides and just how big the pool really is, and I appreciated the sweeping views of the river and the surrounding area.
After a ride on The Wheel, we went to check out a few closer-to-the-ground rides in the nostalgic section of Coney Island. If you haven’t been to the park in awhile, you’ll notice that the rides have been given a bit of an upgrade with new, enticing signage and while the overall atmosphere is still classically fun, it also now has a more modern vibe. Coney Island offers rides for all ages and my kids loved that they could ride so many on their own. I loved that we could ride favorites again and again and I also appreciated the friendliness of the staff, who always made sure to wish us a “fun day.”
After a lunch break, we headed to Sunlite Water Adventure, which may just be the best water park for young children in our area. Typhoon Tower was the perfect place for all three of us to play, splash, run around and stay cool. You’re surely already familiar with the enormous pool, which has a very large shallow section, perfect for little ones. And you know those ridiculously large floats that come in shapes like unicorns and donuts? Well, you can bring those to Sunlite Pool, so you may want to hit up Amazon Prime before you visit!
A sign of a good day is when the kids have to be bribed with a sweet treat to get them to leave, which is exactly what I resorted to when we had to head home. After some ice cream and Kona Ice, we packed up for the day. On the drive home I realized that I had only used my phone for pictures, and I hadn’t smiled or laughed that much in awhile. The smiles on my kids’ faces in those pictures were also proof that we played hard and not just had fun, but had a blast.
If you have young kids, or kids of any age for that matter, add a visit to Coney Island to your summer bucket list. Come out and play, relax, and enjoy classic family fun with rides, water attractions, and for a limited time, the Coney Island Wheel. This park is a Cincinnati tradition that may have updated its look, but is still the most charming place in the city for fun-filled, quality time with family.
For more on Coney Island, Sunlite Water Adventure, and The Coney Island Wheel, visit the park’s website here.
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati (and, ahem, Kentucky!) publications and brainstorming ideas for her next children’s book! With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.