At first glance, King’s Dominion may appear to be a theme park built for adults with its thrilling roller coasters and sky-high water slides. With a closer look, you’ll discover there is just as much to keep toddlers entertained as the adults. Toddlers at King’s Dominion will likely have just as much fun, if not more, than older kids and adults.
I grew up in the northern Virginia area, just over an hour from Doswell, the home of King’s Dominion. I remember when Anaconda was first built and remember holding hands with a boy in the dark for the first time on Flight of Fear. Throughout high school, King’s Dominion was where my family had season passes. We’d head to tis amusement park over and over again throughout the operating season.
It wasn’t until I went back a month ago with my parents, siblings, and my own son that I realized how much more there is to King’s Dominion than I ever realized. Amusement parks change when you’re looking at them from the perspective of a 3-year-old rather than a high school girl just looking for a cute boy and fun time with her friends.
What to Do with Toddlers at King’s Dominion
Rides for Toddlers at King’s Dominion
Like any other amusement park, the number of rides your toddler can ride will be completely dependent on his height. In the past three months, my son hit the magical 36″ mark, and it was a game-changer for our visit to because it opened up an entire new world of rides. There are at least 10 rides that anyone can ride and if your toddler is 36″ or taller, they can add in things like the Great Pumpkin Roller Coaster and the Shenandoah Lumber Company log flume.
King’s Dominion recently renovated their popular Planet Snoopy kids’ area into a toddler’s wonderland. They offer everything from kiddie bumper cars to airplanes and even a Boo Blaster Ghostbusters shooting ride similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride at Walt Disney World. Just be warned that the Boo Blaster ride is a little creepy and while young kids can ride, they may be scared on the ride. My son was.
In addition to the plethora of rides in the Planet Snoopy area, there are additional rides throughout the park for toddlers who are 36″ or taller. This is perfect for anyone who wants to take advantage of the child swap and ride their way through the impressive list of roller coasters at King’s Dominion without forcing the kids to stand in line.
Child Swap Policy at King’s Dominion
If you have young kids who are not tall enough to ride something, two members of your party can stay and wait (or go on other rides) while the rest of your group stands in line. Once the group finishes riding, the two people who were waiting can come up the disabled entrance, hand over the kids, and get right on the ride. We did this on most of the coasters and one additional perk is that often the child swap riders are actually put in the front or back of the car, places you might wait extra time for if you were standing in the regular rider line.
Soak City with Toddlers at King’s Dominion
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, King’s Dominion offers complimentary admission to their water park Soak City with any park admission. We went on one of those days that was nice and cool when we arrived at the park but by noon, we were ready to be soaked.
Soak City has not only one but two large water play areas that toddlers will love. There is a smaller area called Lil’ Barefoot Beach that is designed specifically with the littlest ones in mind and seemed like a nice calm place to let your toddlers play. My son took one look at his options of playing in Lil’ Barefoot Beach or the larger and crazier Soak City Splash House and immediately headed to the Splash House.
Traveling Mom Tip: The Soak City Splash House is awesome, but I wouldn’t recommend letting your toddler play alone. It can be hectic, crowded, and very slippery. And when the bucket of water comes splashing down, it can actually be a painful experience. I’d recommend climbing up with your toddler and steering clear of the soaking bucket.
We spent the rest of our afternoon split between the two wave pools and lazy river. The lazy river was fun but crowded, and they made us get out of our tubes and get back in line after every loop around the river. One of my favorite things about lazy rivers is being able to just stay in the tube and float around for as long as I want, so having to get out was a little disappointing for everyone.
Traveling Mom Tip: Bring water shoes for your kids and either water shoes or flip flops for yourself. There is quite a bit of space between each of the water attractions and the ground gets extremely hot.
Dinosaurs Alive at King’s Dominion
In the very back of the park, King’s Dominion has set up a fun walkthrough exhibit called Dinosaurs Alive. It’s free for season pass holders and $5 for one-time guests. If you have a dinosaur fan in your family like I do, it’s definitely worth the $5 to walk through and look at the life-like dinosaurs and enjoy the digging for dinosaur exhibit.
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Dining with Toddlers at King’s Dominion
Amusement park food is like heaven to young kids who would pick chicken tenders, ice cream, pizza, and corn dogs for dinner every night if given the option. King’s Dominion provides all of those amusement park favorites but also throws in some name brand family favorites like Chick-Fil-A (not open on Sundays), Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and Subway.
Traveling Mom Tip: Don’t miss the Dole Pineapple soft serve at the Island Twist kiosks throughout the park, it’s just another name for the iconic Dole Whip so many people go crazy for at Disney World.
Other Helpful Tips for Visiting King’s Dominion with Toddlers
- Guests under the age of three are free
- There’s an air conditioned family care center located in Planet Snoopy where you can take a break, put little ones down for a nap, feed your kids in AC, and even microwave a bottle if desired
- Kids can be measured at height measuring stations to get a height wristband, but they’ll likely still be measured at each ride if they’re close to being too short to ride
- If you’re worried about losing your children, you can sign up for a service called Kid Track that’s designed to help kids find parents if they get lost. You can sign up at the front of the park.
- Free life jackets in various sizes, including ones that fit toddlers, are provided in Soak City