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Kings Island offering free admission for military over Memorial Day weekend

Kings Island will pay tribute to members of the military by offering free admission on military appreciation days during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the theme park in Mason announced.

The deal is available May 25-28. 

>> What’s new at Kings Island this season?

WHO QUALIFIES?

Military who qualify for the free admission ticket include active military, retired military, National Guard, veterans with honorable or medical discharge and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with government issued ID. 

>> The mouthwatering new foods at Kings Island this season

HOW TO GET DEAL:

A valid military ID must be presented at Kings Island to take advantage of this offer. 

Qualifying military personnel can also purchase discount tickets at a special price of $34/ticket for up to six family members at the park.

>> Waterpark adventures a short drive from home

MORE INFO: Website | Facebook

Thrills and chills await when The Beach Waterpark opens this weekend

MASON — There’s only one waterpark in southwestern Ohio with 2,600 tons of white sand and more than 150 palm trees — and its name says it all.

The Beach waterpark’s 2018 season starts this weekend and is sure to offer plenty of splashy thrills and relaxing trips along the lazy river.

»»RELATED: 7 waterpark adventures a short drive from home

»»RELATED: Cool off with these Dayton-area spray parks and splashpads

»»RELATED: 12 museums you must explore in Dayton

“The atmosphere that the Beach Water Park gives is the one thing that I believe makes it great. We have real sun, real fun and real palms,” said General Manager Sandra Gore, who says season pass sales are up from last year.

“The Beach Waterpark offers something for everyone … We are constantly making improvements: new seating, renovating food & beverage areas, painting and landscaping,” said Gore.

Here’s a look at some of the events and promotions slated for this summer that are coming up:

  • May 26: Opening day 2018
  • Banzai Thursday: All admission is $10 per person from 4 p.m. to close every Thursday from June 7-Aug. 2.
  • Club Splash: Teens (13-18 years old) get in for $10 Friday nights from 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Valid June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13, July 27 and Aug. 3.
  • Saturday Evening Car Load Days: Take a car in after 4 p.m. on Saturdays from June 9-Aug. 25 and receive up to 10 wristbands per vehicle with parking included for $50. All passengers must be wearing a seatbelt.
  • Reggae Sundays: Live music will be featured from 2-5 p.m. on Sundays from May 27-Sept. 2 at the Wave Rider Bar & Grill.
  • June 3: Mother’s Day celebration: Moms get in free with another paid admission.
  • *June 9-10: $16.99 ($12 off) full day admission for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, 4-H Members, leaders and families.
  • *June 11-15: Little League Baseball Week: $16.99 ($12 off) full day admission for Little League players, coaches and families.
  • * June 16-17: Church Fellowship Weekend: $16.99 ($12 off) full day admission for church groups.
  • June 17: Father’s Day weekend: Dad gets in free with a paid admission at admission window only.
  • June 21: World’s Largest Swim Lesson: Meet at 2 p.m. at the Wave Pool to participate in a huge swim lesson. Included with admission to the park.
  • August 4-5: Teacher Appreciation Day: $16.99 ($12 off) full day admission for all licensed teachers, and families, must present proof at ticket window for discount.
  • Sept. 1-3: Labor Day Weekend: Visitors can enjoy hot dogs, pizza slices, soft drinks, ice cream for $1 each
  • Sept. 8: Dog Day: The last day the park is open. Dog owners and dogs are invited to play in the Wave Pool from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. together and enjoy a day of fun in the sun.

* Note: A group leader or program administrator will need to contact Group Sales to receive a code. 513-398-7946, Ext 231 or send email to rkoch@thebeachwaterpark.com

»»RELATED: Where to paddle in Dayton and what to know before you go

WANT TO GO?

What: The Beach Waterpark opening day

Where: 2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason —located off of I-71 at exit 25-A, 20 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati and 20 minutes south of downtown Dayton.

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 26

Hours: Vary. See website for details.

More information: (513) 398-SWIM (7946) or www.thebeachwaterpark.com

THE BEACH: BY THE NUMBERS

1985: Year the park opened

145,000: Average number of guests the park sees annually

$72.99: Cost of a 2018 season pass, parking not included

3: Food areas — Wave Rider Grill, Beachcomber Café, Surfside Grill

35+: Number of acres in the waterpark

250: Number of seasonal park employees

22: Total number of slides

1: Heated wave pool

2 million+: Gallons of water

1,400 feet: Length of the Lazy River (1/4 mile)

2: Miles-per-hour, speed of the Lazy River, which wraps around the park

Kings Island begins daily operations for the 2018 summer season

There are plenty of signs that summer is on the way, but one of the most thrilling is the date that Kings Island begins daily operations.

That day has come.

Today, May 11, the popular amusement park that draws thousands of guests each day will be open seven days a week.

MORE: How is this for magic? Actor Channing Tatum spotted in our area 

OPERATING HOURS

Kings Island’s new hours will be 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursday through May 25.

Operating hours vary for the rest of the summer beginning Memorial Day weekend. The park’s operating calendar is available online.

NEW ENTERTAINMENT

The park recently announced it’s slate of live-entertainment.

This summer, Kings Island will invite guests to step inside the pages of a Charles M. Schulz comic strip and experience to spend time with the beloved PEANUTS characters in a whole new way.

MORE: 9 things you didn’t know about Kings Island history

The parks PEANUTS Celebration will take place from June 1–17 and will include never-seen-before live entertainment; new character experiences with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the PEANUTS Gang, special photo opportunities and deliciously themed-treats to top off the celebration.

“The PEANUTS gang is a big reason why Kings Island continues to be recognized for having the Best Kids’ Area in the World,” said Mike Koontz, Kings Island Vice President and General Manager. “Our guests, especially our Gold and Platinum Passholders, have told us they want more Charlie Brown, more Linus, more Peppermint Patty, and more PEANUTS. For 17 days in June, they are going to get that.”

SPECIAL EVENTS

Other special events being planned for this summer include an Island Nights Glow Party in Soak City July 13-15 and an Ultimate Stunt Show with edge-of-your-seat thrills including a Double Motorcycle High Wire act, the Globe of Fear and the Double Wheel of Destiny that takes place July 30-Aug. 19.

MORE: Here are the new foods coming to Kings Island

— — —

HOW TO GO

WHAT: Kings Island amusement park

WHERE: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason

HOURS OF OPERATION: Daily operations begin May 11. Click here for details of the date you plan to visit

SOAK CITY: Soak City Water Park will open May 26.

MORE INFO: 513-754-5700 or visitkingsisland.com

Starflyer, world's tallest spinning ride, opens soon in Orlando

The world’s tallest spinning ride, the Starflyer, will be opening soon in Orlando, Florida.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Read more trending news 

The ride will be 450 feet tall and is set to open in June along International Drive.

Developer Chuck Whittall has spent a lot of money to swing business into I-Drive. He has invested nearly a billion dollars between the Coca Cola Orlando Eye and the I-Drive 360.

The Starflyer will be 50 feet taller than the Orlando Eye.

>> On WFTV.com: PHOTOS: Starflyer set to open in June

"To the very top, it's 450 foot. Riders will actually fly at 400 feet; slightly over 400 feet,” Whittall said. "We just finished the certifications on it, and we're just making sure it's working absolutely perfectly."

Whittal said he’s also working on a second phase of I-Drive 360. He is developing a new hotel and more retail space, and putting several hundred million dollars into building apartments to get people to live on I-Drive.

>> On icFlorida.com: Would you take a swing on the StarFlyer?

"I think I-Drive is the go-to destination for conventioneers and for half-day experiences,” Whittall said. "Once you get tired of the theme parks, you still want to have fun and do things. We offer all that here."

Developer Josh Wallack told WFTV’s Jamie Holmes that he’s also sinking hundreds of millions into I-Drive.

First came Mango's and the Hollywood Plaza Complex is next. It will be a rooftop restaurant with a 360-degree view of Orlando.

>> On WFTV.com: Read more Orlando theme park stories

The biggest hurdle remains traffic on I-Drive.

The restaurant is on top of a parking garage with 880 spots.

"This is now the I-Drive entertainment district, and we are looking to make this downtown Orange County,” Wallack said.

Cedar Point rolls out record-breaking new hybrid coaster 

It seems that even roller coasters can be vengeful. 

For proof of that, turn to Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point’s new 75-mile-per-hour roller coaster. 

>> See eerie drone footage of abandoned Ohio amusement park

The Sandusky amusement park bills it as the world’s first “hyper-hybrid” coaster and calls it a “massive wooden structure with smooth, steel track.”

The park’s official opening date is May 5. 

A media preview of the coaster is happening  today. 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer shares some of the ride's memorable elements: a 205-foot first hill, a 90-degree first drop and four inversion, that twist in and out of the ride's massive wooden frame. 

The ride also features 27 seconds of airtime, the most on any coaster anywhere, the Plain Dealer shares. The ride features a new technology of restraint that uses a lap bar, not an over-the-shoulders harness, with an added element that pushes against your legs, holding your body in place.

>>PHOTOS: Cedar Point’s brand new record-breaking thrill ride Steel Vengeance

The ride replaces the Mean Streak, which debuted in 1991 and was once the tallest wooden roller coaster in the world. The park is also home to Millennium Force, which is consistently ranked among the very best roller coasters in the world.

Like Kings Island in Mason, Cedar Point is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.

Kings Island is already open for the season. 

>> Everything you need to know about Kings Island’s new season 

Here are a stats about the three train coaster: 

Height: 205 feet 

Speed: 74 mph 

First Drop: 200 feet 

Inversions: 4 

Length: 5,740 feet 

Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds 

>> New food coming to Kings Island 

>> 9 things you didn’t know about Kings Island history

You'll soon be able to cruise Pittsburgh's three rivers on a Tiki boat

When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style.

>> Read more trending news 

Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed.

According to a comment on its Facebook page, a two-hour tour will likely cost $400 or about $67 per person. That includes the cost of the boat, the captain and possibly a crew member.

Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations:

  • Carolina Beach, North Carolina
  • Exhuma, Bahamas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Islamorada, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Lake George, New York
  • Madeira Beach, Florida
  • North Miami, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums

Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

>> Read more trending news 

Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

Must-see: Niagara Falls is a winter wonderland in these stunning photos

A cold wave is sweeping almost all of North America, and as temperatures have dwindled, we’ve seen some pretty bizarre things. But one of the coolest and most beautiful sights right now has to be Niagara Falls, where Jack Frost painted a spectacular scene that looks like something straight out of Narnia.

>> RELATED STORY: Could Niagara Falls completely freeze? 

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news 

Christmas display in California sets world record

The executive director of a California holiday display said San Jose's Christmas in the Park has set a Guinness world record, KGO reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jason Minsky said the 600 illuminated Christmas trees in one location set the world record. The paperwork has been accepted by Guinness, KGO reported. It will become official after Christmas in the Park documents all of the trees on video.

According to the Guinness World Records website, the previous record was 559, held by the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas tree maze at Herald Square in New York City.

The official lighting of the 38th annual Christmas in the Park tree display in San Jose occurred Friday night. The display will remain open through Jan. 7, KGO reported.

Goodbye, Georgia Dome – thanks for the memories!

As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.

The Atlanta landmark was demolished at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The last event was held in the 25-year-old building in March, and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened next door in August.

>> Watch a video of the implosion here

>> Head to WSBTV.com for complete coverage of the implosion 

From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics, the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events

1996 Summer Olympics

The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.

On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.

The team – made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps – is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.

>> On WSBTV.com: Crews make last-minute preps for Georgia Dome implosion

On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.

The team – coached by Lenny Wilkens – defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.

Super Bowl XXVIII

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.

After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.

The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.

Super Bowl XXXIV

The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.

The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.

>> Read more trending news 

The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.

The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.

Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.

The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.

The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.

The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.

Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.

That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

2012 NFC Championship game

The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl. 

2017 NFC Championship game

In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome. 

NCAA Tournaments

Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game. 

State Championships

The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage. 

In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 

Soccer at the dome

Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome. 

In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.

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