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Kentucky Kingdom

Kentucky Kingdom
Kentucky Kingdom has assembled a great mix of rides to accompany its coasters. The maintenance is sorely lacking, and the operators tend to be bored, surly or sleepwalking. A new owner could do wonders with this collection.
For starters, new coats of paint would help, especially on several of the coasters. Second, the cleanliness of this park does not compare with its rivals Holiday World, Kings Island or Dollywood, all of which are two or three hours away on easy interstates.
Giant Wheel. One of Vekoma’s best. Ferris Wheels are becoming an endangered species, and this one shows what a mistake that is. It’s a magnificent wheel, offering great views of downtown Louisville, the airport and the park. Gondolas with facing benches give a long and smooth ride. Great photo ops from high angles. The only parks which match this are Indiana Beach and Cedar Point.
Adult Carousel. This is only a three row model, but it’s unique, with its galloping roosters (photo atop intro page) and bears, rocking sleighs, and rotating gazebos. It has intricate detail and good sound quality. Carousel hobbyists from around the country consider this one of the very best smaller versions. Bring your camera.
Rafting River. The most extensively themed rafting ride anywhere, to the motif of Penguin in Batman. Unfortunately, the land is flat here, and while the average rafting drop is 10 feet, this is only six. There’s no speed, and the only excitement is from waterfalls and water cannons. This is also a shorter run than most. They could do better. Construction techniques allow building of an elevated beginning channel, and there’s room back there for a much longer run. This theming deserves more.

Go Karts. Smaller karts but longer track and much longer ride cycle than Cedar Point or Kings Island.

Turbo Bungee. Bizarre experience. You’re harnessed to long bungee cables hanging from high poles, and step onto a large trampoline. The effect is to magnify your jumping ability. You end up soaring and flipping 20 – 30 feet in the air.

Slingshot. Two riders are strapped into a wire basket suspended from two bungee cables hanging from extremely high towers. They crank up the tension and fire you into the air. Then you bounce up and down for a few minutes, spinning around all the while. An onboard tv camera relays your facial expressions down to the crowd. For wannabe astronauts.

Scooters. The round floor eliminates corner pockets, but this is too small. Unique ceiling is a grate instead of metal plating, and transmits consistent current. Scooter Nazi (elderly woman ride op) stops the ride to lecture riders on proper techniques, shoos kids off the railings, and fusses at teenage girls who show their belly buttons. She adds to the entertainment but this is not big enough for repeat rides.

Log Flume. Tucked way in the back of the park, this is a pretty standard flume. It has the usual run through the trees and in line logs. Not long or high. Rather rough and jolting.

Drag Race. You strap yourself into a propane fueled slingshot racing car and explode down a quarter mile track in a cloud of burning rubber, while light strip compares your time to competitors. As much fun to watch as ride, and they provide the audience a set of bleachers. Car lovers will appreciate late sixties Connie Kalitta body styles.
Breakdance. A Scrambler on steroids. A smooth ride with a long cycle.
Flying Dutchman. Circle swing ride themed as wooden shoes. Cute.
Himalaya. Basic tilted circle speed ride, themed to rap music. This has become a folk happening during summer nights. The ride ops give extremely long cycles, and the riders swing and sway to the rap sound track. If you like this ride and the hip street scene, this will make your whole trip a success. If not, stay away from this ride after 5 pm.
Kiddieland. Nicely done. Our rugrat delegation thought the Pounce Bounce, Daffy Ferris Wheel and Kiddie Carousel were the best rides. Carousel (pictured at top of page) is unique in that rather than animals it has musical instruments; you can ride a violin, saxophone or sousaphone. Kentucky Kingdom may be the only amusement park in the country with two collector’s item carousels.

Water Park. As a stand alone, this would be merely average, but as an inside the park attraction, this ranks among the best, especially the wave pool. A lazy river is only 1000 ft. long, but the slides make up for it. However, it's no match for Holiday World or Kings Island.




The other rides are routine versions of those seen everywhere : Drop, Pirate Ship, Turnpike, Rainbow, Enterprise, Quake, Bus, Boat Plunge, Balloons, Skycoaster, and Climbing Wall.

Shops. Reasonable prices but very generic merchandise. all made in China.

Games. Outrageous prices for clichéd games. $6 for one game of Wacka Mole ?

Food. Kentucky Kingdom spent its money on theming restaurants very nicely, but the food is overpriced and bland.

Staff. Not professional. Mostly high school students who give little evidence of training or supervision. The coasters have the best ride ops and even they have problems.

Conclusion. This place is beginning to show some potential and justifies an annual stop. It still has problems but four good and two average coasters and half a dozen other legitimate attractions are worth the annoyances.

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