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Published: Thursday, 5/13/2010

Splash into summer!

BY MIKE KELLY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

SANDUSKY - Cedar Point amusement park has long reveled in its reputation as the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World," and with 17 of the hair-raising rides on its grounds, the self-bestowed title is well-deserved.

But the big news at the Point for the 2010 season is not another coaster, but an 85-foot-high water ride, scheduled to open May 29.

Called Shoot the Rapids, the new attraction is the third water ride at Cedar Point and the most expensive ever built there, with a price tag of $10.5 million. The ride had been planned for last season, but was held up because of financial constraints imposed by the park's owner, Cedar Fair.

Located along Frontier Trail on the northwest edge of the park, the new 2,100-foot-long flume ride will include a pair of steep hills, a long tunnel, canyon walls with spraying water, and splashing whitewater rapids at the end. The ride will last about three minutes, and passengers will sit in 10-person boats.

Cedar Point will begin its 141st season on Saturday and will be open daily through Labor Day, Sept. 6. Regular admission is $45.99, up $2 since last year, and the price is $19.99 for juniors (age 3 and up, under 48 inches tall) and seniors (age 62 and older), the same as last year.

Guests staying at one of Cedar Point's resorts can buy admission tickets for $29.

An adjacent 18-acre water park, Soak City, has a separate admission charge of $30 for adults and $17 for juniors and seniors.

Info: 419-627-2350 or cedarpoint.com

After adding a giant new roller coaster called Diamondback in 2009, the 38-year-old amusement park in Mason, Ohio, north of Cincinnati, has throttled back considerably this year, with two much tamer additions for this season - and both of those are little more than re-themed versions of existing attractions.

Planet Snoopy is the new name for Kings Island's award-winning children's area, which had previously featured rides and characters from TV's Nickelodeon channel. The rebranded area will have new, Peanuts-themed names on the rides, and young visitors are likely to run into Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang while wandering around the area.

The other re-themed attraction is an interactive ride called Boo Blasters. Riders will travel through dark corridors, dungeons, and graveyards - wearing optional 3-D glasses if they choose - and they'll use laser guns to shoot at "Boocifer" and his army of ghosts along the way.

The "dark ride" will be very similar to an attraction called Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, which formerly occupied the same space in the park.

One ride park visitors won't see at Kings Island this season is Son of Beast, a major roller coaster that has had problems ever since it opened in 2000. Once billed as the world's tallest and fastest wooden coaster, the ride has caused dozens of injuries. It was closed down last summer after a woman reported suffering a burst blood vessel in her brain as a result of riding it.

Kings Island, which has been open on weekends since mid-April, will begin daily operations on May 21. Adult admission is $48.99, up $1 since last year, and the price is $31.99 for juniors (age 3 and up, under 48 inches tall) and seniors (age 62 and older), up $2 from last year.

A 15-acre water park, Boomerang Bay, is free with park admission.

Information: 513-754-5700 or www.visitkingsisland.com



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