Summer Weekend Travel Suggestion – Cedar Point in Ohio

A family-fun destination for more than 110 years, Cedar Point located in Sandusky, Ohio is preparing to open for yet another fun-filled summer season. The self-described Roller Coaster Capital of the World has big plans for its 2011 season, including plans to open yet another thrill ride. Here are some highlights of the coming season and guides to plan your visit.

The historic amusement park is packed into a natural peninsula jutting out into Lake Erie. The general flow takes a visitor into themed areas, each highlighted by roller coasters and thrill rides. Cedar Point boasts the world’s largest collection of roller coasters, including coasters for all ages and risk tolerances. In 2011, there are 75 rides for family fun.

Cedar Point opens for the season on May 14, 2011. During May, the park operates with abbreviated hours during the week, opening at 10 am and closing at 8 pm. On Fridays and weekends, the park is open 10-10 and after June 2, the park moves to the 10-10 schedule daily. July through mid-August, the park has an 11 pm closing time on Saturday nights and special hours on July 3 for the holiday. As the school year approaches, the park’s hours again shorten and after Labor Day, the park is open on Fridays and weekends only through October. Go here for a complete schedule and see below for information about extended admission times for guests of the hotel properties.

Cedar Point can be manageable within a day if you plan properly. First, early arrival is necessary (see below for early admission options for those staying in the hotel properties). Second, plan for all weather conditions. The park is located almost within the lake. Weather can be cool and breezy at times and can change rapidly. It is not unusual for the lake area to be up to 10 degrees cooler than inland cities like Columbus. Early in May and June, the lake is also quite cool keeping the air moving across the lake cooled. Third, plan to stay as late as possible at the park. Many visitors are day-visitors meaning they drive in and out on the same day. They tend to arrive later and leave earlier than those staying at nearby hotels or in the hotel properties. If you come as a family including young children who will want to ride the kiddie rides, it will take away time from the thrill rides, so do not be disappointed that in your case, the park is probably too much for a single day. Finally, if you are a die-hard thrill ride enthusiast, be prepared to wait in lines. Drink a lot of water, avoid the alcohol, and be prepared to be in the sun and heat for extended periods. Sunscreen is also a must and reapply frequently. Many underestimate the nearby lake’s influence on the sun you will receive while moving about the park.

Cedar Point dates to 1870 when local businessman Louis Zistel answered the community’s need for amusement activities along the peninsula’s shoreline. He opened a beer garden, bathhouse, and dance floor, setting the stage for 140 years of fun at Lake Erie. In 1892, Switchback Railway was opened. The 25 foot high, 10 mph train was the park’s first roller coaster. This set the stage for what would become a destination for thrill seekers for the next 110+ years! Today, Cedar Point is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Fair Entertainment Company owns 11 amusement parks and 6 water parks throughout the US and Canada.

In 2010, Cedar Point unveiled Shoot the Rapids, its third water ride. It is located on Frontier Trail. In 2011, the amusement park is scheduled to open WindSeeker, a 30-story tall swing ride. The 2-person swings provide riders a spectacular view of the park area, the lake and its shoreline and the beach area.

There are also high-energy music shows, encounters with characters from the classic Peanuts comic strip, and the Hot Summer Nights family nighttime show. Many of the shows will help shield you from the daytime sun and will provide shade or air conditioning. Visit here for more information and be sure to get a daily schedule of events as you enter the park.

The park also provides a number of food choices from its well-known restaurants to themed sports spots to a one-price buffet. There are also picnic options. Visit here for more information.

Cedar Point has sister-parks located adjacent to the amusement park. Soak City is an 18-acre water park requiring separate admission. There are 14 body, raft, and tube rides and a wave pool with a half million gallons of water. Perfect for a hot afternoon. Challenge Park provides four additional activities. There is mini golf, Skyscraper, Skycoaster, and Challenge Racing. Challenge Park also has separate fees depending on the activity you select.

Cedar Point is accessed via daily admission tickets that can be purchased at the gate or online in advance. Travel agencies and agents like AAA are also ticket sellers and may offer discounts. Daily admission is $46.99 for individuals 48″ or taller. Junior and Senior rates are $21.00 applicable to admissions of persons under 48″ tall or 62 years of age or older. There are military discounts. The onsite purchase price is $36.99 with proper ID. A number of nearby companies use a day at Cedar Point as a fun activity for its employees and their families. There are group ticket rates. In addition, there are online promotions offered periodically and special pre-season and post-season deals and events. Season passes are also available. For more admission information, go here.

Staying at one of the affiliated hotel properties will get you admission discounts and additional admission privileges, such as early entry – an opportunity to get ahead of the long lines for the most popular roller coasters. The hotels include the historic Hotel Breakers opened in 1905, Sandcastle Suites, Lighthouse Point, Camper Village, Breakers Express, and Castaway Bay. The variety of hotel options gives families a number of price points in order to make your visit to Cedar Point a weekend getaway opportunity. And a visit to Cedar Point can be easily combined with a second day at Soak City and/or Challenge Park as well as a visit to the nearby Lake Erie shoreline and the nearby islands. Each hotel is located within minutes of Cedar Point. Visit here for more information about the Cedar Point hotel properties.

Cedar Point is located on the shores of Lake Erie. The park is located on a peninsula and is about 60 miles west of Cleveland, 62 miles east of Toledo and about 115 miles from Detroit and 120 miles from Columbus. Access can be gained via the Ohio Turnpike, flights into Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Greyhound bus or by train. Visit here for more travel information and directions.

The historic Cedar Point remains a family fun destination on the shores of Lake Erie. The amusement park opens soon for the summer season. Make your plans to visit the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.