If the start of the work week (or the end of summer, back-to-school blues, and/or general Monday doldrums) has you down, let’s make a plan for the weekend that’s sure to please everyone in your family:
If you haven’t been to Coney Island this summer, you still have time! Did you know that Coney Island is the fifth oldest amusement park in the U.S.? This park has rides for the young and old — without the long lines and hassle of larger theme parks. Coney Island has 26 classic rides for adults and kids of all ages, plus live shows, carnival games, festival food, picnic areas — and, of course, Sunlite Pool.
Sunlite Pool is the largest flat-surface swimming pool in North America, measuring 200 feet wide, 401 feet long and holding more than three million gallons of water. There are designated areas just for little kids, plus four different water slides for the adults and older kids.
We spent our Saturday at Coney Island — and the kids had a blast! With my kids being 4 and a half, almost 3, and just 13 months, I’ll admit I was a little nervous about what to expect from an amusement park. Would my kids be old enough to ride anything? Would the pool be too big for them? Where would we eat lunch/change for the pool/take the kids potty?
As usual, all of my worrying was unnecessary: all three of my kids had a great time — and there was plenty for each of them at Coney.
Of their 26 rides, there are 7 “Kiddie Rides” that are just for the littlest kids. These rides have a maximum height, making them perfect for older toddlers and preschool-aged kids. At 43″ and 36,” Julian and Mary were the perfect size for these rides — plus many others (which they rode with my husband, who is a great sport!).
Harvey was obviously too small to ride, but enjoyed watching his siblings. By the Carousel (which, of course Mary needed to check out), there was a small playground with swings and a slide, where he, Julian and I played while Mary rode with Daddy.
Julian: the “biplane!” (AKA: Airplane)
Mary: the “Mare-go-round!” (Grand Carousel)
When you think of Coney Island, you probably think of Sunlite Pool. It’s Coney Island’s main attraction, and it’s truly something to experience!
I wasn’t sure what to expect; but, as a parent of small kids, was very satisfied by the setup. There’s over an acre of shallow water, which was perfect for my older two to splash around in. There were lots of lifeguards on duty and the mood was very calm (AKA: no horse play or anything dangerous was happening).
Photo credit: Coney Island.
The slides were obviously little intimidating for my crew — but would definitely be fun for older kids! So, if you have younger and older kids, there are plenty of things to keep everyone happy in the pool area.
Sunlite Pool is open until Labor Day — so make a point of checking it out this season!
Family Friendly Amenities
In addition to the rides and pool, Coney Island offers the following family friendly options:
- Mini Golf
- The EuroBungy Dome ($6.00/ride for non-members; $5.00 for members. You get strapped into a harness and can jump on your own trampoline! Open to kids 20″ and taller.)
- Kid Western Town (this was really cool and great for Harvey — lots of miniature houses for kids to explore)
- Arcade games
- Paddle boats
There are also ample restrooms, lots of picnic areas (so you can bring your own lunch and save money!) and lockers available for renting (so you don’t have to haul all your stuff everywhere).
After riding all the kiddie rides, we found a table in the shade to eat lunch.
It just so happened that we picked a table with front-row seats to Captain Coney & Friends. My pirate-loving kids absolutely loved this show — and it was a really nice break in between the rides and pool!
Plan a Visit
If you’re able to make it to Coney Island before Labor Day, you’ll get the full Coney Island experience: Classic Rides and Sunlite Pool! Tickets can be purchased ahead of time and printed at home, which will save you $4 off adult admission for the pool/rides pass. You can also purchase pool- or ride-only tickets, which are less expensive and even cheaper if printed at home.
Looking ahead, there are two Friday Family Nights at Sunlite Pool: Friday, August 14 and Friday, August 21. After 4 pm, families can enjoy discounted admission to Coney Island, kids entertainment and $1.00 items from Sunlite Grill!
The fun doesn’t stop at Labor Day, though. In October, there’s Coney Coney’s Fall-o-Ween Festival, which includes Trick or Treat Trail for kids, Fright Lights musical light show, Coney’s Classic Rides, musical entertainment, farmyard friends and more! This event happens October 10-11, October 17-18 and October 24-25 from 1:00 – 7:00 pm each day.
So, make a plan to visit Coney before the end of the summer! It’s guaranteed to be a hit with even the youngest, pickiest or “teenager-ist.”
Coney Island is located at 6201 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45230. Parking is $8.00 per vehicle.