Park History

Park History

The idea for a family amusement park north of Richmond, VA and south of Washington, D.C., began as a dream in 1971.  A site was selected in Doswell, VA in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic to build the 400-acre park.  The design of the new park was similar to Kings Island near Cincinnati, OH, using similar rides, attractions and themes including a 315-foot-tall Eiffel Tower replica and twin-track, racing roller coaster.   On May 3, 1975, after less than two years of construction, Kings Dominion opened its gates to the public.   It didn't take long for King Dominion to be recognized as the perfect family destination location in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Park History

Kings Dominion opened May 3, 1975, offering fun and thrilling attractions that included the Rebel Yell roller coaster, Lion Country Safari Monorail, Log Flume, Steam Train and other family attractions.  The park's signature attraction was the Eiffel Tower, a one-third scale replica of the original Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.  Original themed areas were International Street, The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera, Old Virginia, Coney Island and Lion Country Safari.  In 1977, Kings Dominion added a fourth roller coaster in King Kobra.  The park was also one of the amusement parks used as a set for the movie Rollercoaster, filmed in 1977.   A campground was added in 1978 and a popular attraction known as Lost World debuted in 1979.   By the end of the decade, in just five short years, Kings Dominion had established itself as a destination place for families seeking fun, thrills and adventure. 
The early part of the decade saw two popular attractions added with the Grizzly roller coaster in 1982 and the White Water Canyon river rapids ride in 1983.  These two rides remain as popular as ever today.  In 1983, Taft Broadcasting sold its theme park division to Kings Entertainment Company (KECO).  One of the first additions the new management group installed was Berserker, a looping starship ride on International Street in 1984.   In 1986, Shockwave, a standup roller coaster, was added.  Racing Rivers, a water slide complex, opened in 1987.   Avalanche, which remains the only Mack Bobsled roller coaster in the United States, opened in 1988. 

The decade of the 90's began with the expansion of Hanna-Barbera Land in 1990.  A thrilling new ride was introduced in 1991, Anaconda, which was the first roller coaster in the world the feature an underwater tunnel.   A new waterpark addition opened in 1992, Hurricane Reef.  In 1993, a motion simulator ride featuring the Days of Thunder film, debuted.  The 1994 season saw the addition of a new themed area of the park called Wayne's World, which featured a wooden roller coaster , The Hurler.  In 1996, Kings Dominion unveiled the first LIM-launched roller coaster, The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear.  The following season, in 1997, saw the debut of KidZville, which was a re-theming of the Hanna-Barbera section.  New attractions included the Taxi Jam roller coaster.  The trend of adding launch coasters continued in 1998 when the park opened Volcano, The Blast Coaster.  Expansion continued in the waterpark area with a re-theme to WaterWorks in 1999. 

The early part of this decade saw Kings Dominion open major new rides and attractions starting with the HyperSonic roller coaster in 2001.  In 2002, Ricochet was added, followed by Drop Zone (now Drop Tower) in 2003.   The 2004 season saw the addition of a family dark ride experience, Scooby-Doo & The Haunted Mansion.  The following year, in 2005, Tomb Raider: The Ride (now The Crypt) was added.   Another new roller coaster joined the park's lineup in 2006 in Italian Job: Stunt Track (now Backlot Stunt Coaster).  On June 30 of that year, the park was sold to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.   In 2007, WaterWorks was expanded, adding a second wave pool, Tidal Wave Bay and a four-person raft ride.   Over the next two seasons, Kings Dominion added three new attractions starting with a thrilling steel roller coaster, Dominator.    The park added its first Ferris Wheel in 2009 with Americana, as well as El Dorado, a family flat ride. 

Kings Dominion's commitment to providing its guests with world-class thrills, fun and family entertainment continues into this decade.  The park built one of the top steel roller coasters in the world in 2010, Intimidator 305.   This giga coaster by Intamin is themed to the late NASCAR driver Dale Ernhardt and represents the largest capital investment to date in the park's history.  A new light show, Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular, was added in 2011.   In 2012, two attractions debut with WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall tower swing ride, and Dinosaurs Alive!, an animatronic dinosaur park that features nearly 40 life-sized, roaring, moving dinosaurs. In 2013, Kings Dominion unveiled the bigger, better Planet Snoopy, the world's largest PEANUTS-themed children's area, featuring 8 new rides (18 total), a fresh market and more.