Kids’ Guide to Kings Island WinterFest

As Cincinnati’s premier holiday event, WinterFest is an unforgettable holiday experience for the whole family.

Kings Island Amusement Park is transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday lights, festive activities, and a variety of live entertainment.

WinterFest will definitely get you in the holiday spirit with so much to do during the holiday season. I’m sharing a kids’ guide with the top things for kids to do during WinterFest from tiny tots to teens.

Plan Ahead to Maximize Your Fun

If this is your first time attending WinterFest at Kings Island, a little preparation will go a long way.

Here are a few suggestions to help make the most of your time.

Kings Island app for WinterFest

Download the Kings Island Mobile App

The Kings Island app will tell you the location and start times of all the holiday shows and other holiday activiites. The app also has a park map and up-to-date wait times for rides.

Kings Island WinterFest

Dress in layers for Kings Island Winterfest

Check the temperatures before you go. You can always take off layers if you get too warm. Snowpants are really helpful in keeping both adults and kids warm on especially cold nights.

You will definitely run out of time before you run out of things to do at WinterFest! There is a great line up of live shows and entertainment both inside and out throughout the evening on top of kids activities.

live show at Festhaus at Kings Island WinterFest

Prioritize your Winterfest activities

I would suggest trying to plan out some of your priority shows and experiences before your visit. If you have a season pass, I would recommend coming more than once during WinterFest if you like to do “all the things.”

Realistically, you need more than one night to do everything offered at Kings Island WinterFest, especially if you plan on eating during your visit. Try to eat at less popular times for shorter lines or dine in the Festhaus so you can watch a show while you eat.

WinterFest at Kings Island

Purchase WinterFest Tickets and Activities Online

Kids age 2 and under are FREE.

Save time and money when you purchase tickets online in advance.

Season passholders can share the love with WinterFest Bring-a-Friend discount tickets good for up to 4 guests.

train float at WinterFest Wonderland Parade

Attend the WinterFest Wonderland Parade

Location: Parade Route (identified by white lines on the ground)

Showtime: 8:30 PM

train float at WinterFest Wonderland Parade

You’ll definitely want to plan your evening around attending the WinterFest Wonderland Parade.

gingerbread man at WinterFest Wonderland Parade

The nightly parade starts at 8:30 p.m. in Coney Elf Village (near the classic ride area of the park in the Coney Mall area).

International Street is a popular area to watch the parade that lasts around 20 minutes. I would recommend arriving about 10-15 minutes early to get your desired spot in the crowd along the parade route.

Santa Claus at WinterFest Wonderland Parade

The WinterFest Wonderland Parade is fun for all ages; it has dancing, singing, decorated floats that light up and even features Santa Claus and his reindeer.

Winterfest hot chocolate

Warm Up With a Hot Chocolate

Pro Tip: Order a hot chocolate before the WinterFest Wonderland Parade so that you can drink it while you wait.

Winterfest hot chocolate

When you purchase the 2023 Souvenir WinterFest mug you can get free hot chocolate refills during your first visit. There is a 15 minute interval between refills.

Make sure that you bring your mug back for $2 hot chocolate refills for the rest of the 2023 season. Refill stations are located throughout the park.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree Lot at Kings Island Winterfest

Visit Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree Lot

Location: Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town (in Planet Snoopy, across from Diamondback)

This activity is included with your admission.

Walk through a maze of Christmas trees and discover a perfect place for a photo opportunity with a familiar tree.

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

That’s right, you can take a picture with a tree that’s similar to the one in the movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

decorate cookies at Mrs Claus Kitchen at Kings Island

Decorate Cookies with Mrs. Claus

Location: International Street

*This attraction is an additional fee and the voucher can be purchased online.

The Cookie Decorating voucher includes four large sugar cookies and all the frosting and toppings for decorating your holiday treats.

Decorate Cookies with Mrs. Claus at Kings Island Winterfest

Kids of all ages can decorate four delicious cookie creations at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. In addition to making cookies, guests can meet and take pictures with Mrs. Claus.

Santa's mail at Kings Island

Mail a Letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office

Location: International Street

This attraction is included with admission.

Kids can write a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office. The elves have everything covered with a supply of pens, crayons, and paper to help prepare your special letter. 

Make a holiday craft at Kings Island Winterfest

Once children have written their letters, the elves will collect them and officially certify the mail, guaranteeing delivery to the North Pole.

write a letter to Santa at Kings Island

Letters will be displayed on the post office wall after Santa has looked over them so that parents and kids and see them during their next visit to WinterFest.

Sally's Christmas Crafts

Make a Holiday Craft at Sally’s Christmas Crafts

Location: Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town (in Planet Snoopy)

This activity is included with your admission.

Kids ages 12 and under can make their own special holiday craft to take home.

The little ones receive their own personal bag of crafts upon entering Sally’s holiday hangout. 

tubing at King Island WinterFest

Go Tubing at Snow Works

Location: Action Ice Zone (near Drop Tower)

Snow Tubing Times: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

This activity is included with your admission.

Guests 42 inches and taller will love sliding down this sledding hill. This is a very popular activity so take advantage of a short line if you see one.

St Nick's Pics

Get Your Picture with St. Nick

Location: Rivertown Wonderland (near Diamondback)

*There are a variety of Digital and Photo Print Packages available for an additional fee.

Picture with St. Nick at Kings Island Winterfest

Guests can share what’s on their Christmas list and take a picture with Santa Claus during their visit.

farm animals at Sounds of the Nativity

Visit the Animals at the Sounds of the Nativity

Location: PEANUTS Playhouse (in Planet Snoopy)

This activity is included with your admission.

*There is an additional fee to feed the animals.

Showtimes: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Kids and adults will enjoying visiting the live farm animals that are similar to what would have been found in the stable in the nativity scene from the original Christmas story.

feed farm animals at Sounds of the Nativity

Animal highlights include goats, donkeys, camels, and cows.

girl feeding cow at Sounds of the Nativity

For a nominal fee, the price on kids or adults faces as they feed the animals is priceless.

feed farm animals at Sounds of the Nativity

During your time with the animals, you’ll hear beautiful carols and Christmas songs from live performers throughout the evening.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular in Kings Island Theatre

Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular in Kings Island Theatre

Location: Kings Island Theater

This show is included with admission.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular Showtimes:  
Mon-Fri: 5:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 9:30 PM
Sat-Sun: 4:30 PM, 5:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM

Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular in Kings Island Theatre

Watch your favorite PEANUTS characters including Charlie Brown and Snoopy during a live holiday show that’s fun for all ages.

Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular in Kings Island Theatre

The upbeat 20-minute show also includes a cast of singers and dancers featuring popular holiday music with multiple costume changes.

ice skating at Winterfest Kings Island

Go Ice Skating on the Royal Fountain at Snow Flake Lake

Location: International Street

*There is an additional fee for this attraction.

Save time & get to the ice faster! Sign your waiver in advance and arrive early to collect your gear.

Ice Skating on the Royal Fountain at Snow Flake Lake

WinterFest Ice Skating Session Times:

  • First Session: 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Second Session: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Third Session: 9:00 – 10:30 p.m.

This ticket is valid on the date and time slot chosen at purchase for unlimited ice skating during the time session. Skates are provided free of charge.

Guests can go ice skating on the majestic Royal Fountain that’s been transformed into Snow Flake Lake.

A supervising companion must accompany all guests under the age of 10. A supervising companion is someone that is 14 years of age or older.

Snow Angel Photo area at Kings Island WinterFest

Enjoy a Fun WinterFest Photo Op

Kids and adults will actually want to stop for pictures at one of the photo areas located throughout the park.

snow man area at Kings Island WinterFest

There are special photo areas located throughout the park that make it easier to sneak in a fun family photo.

Eiffel Tower WinterFest at Kings Island

Watch the Eiffel Tower Transform Into a Magical Christmas Tree

Throughout the park you can enjoy views of the iconic Eiffel Tower that’s been transformed into a 300-foot-tall Christmas tree with Christmas lights that change colors and patterns.

bumper cars at Kings Island

Rides Open During WinterFest

Location: Throughout the park

You’ll find a variety of family-friendly rides open during WinterFest including Boo Blasters, bumper cars, grand carousel, Miami Valley Railroad, and Kings Mills Antique Autos.

Kids Guide to Kings Island WinterFest

There are several thrill rides that are still open during WinterFest including one of the roller coasters, Mystic Timbers. Just beware that it could be a chilly ride; Mystic Timbers can reach speeds up to 53mph!

*Fast lane passes aren’t valid during WinterFest.

WinterFest entrance

Season Pass Perks During WinterFest

King’s Island offers daily tickets to WinterFest, but Gold Season Pass Holders enjoy lots of perks during WinterFest, including 10% off select food and merchandise, free parking, and unlimited admission during WinterFest days of operation.

If you are looking for a holiday gift idea, season passes are a great experience gift with unlimited visits when the park is open year round.

Save on Kings Island Winterfest Tickets

You can find discounted tickets to Kings Island Winterfest here.

Lodging Near Kings Island

If you want to stay close to the park, Great Wolf Lodge is located next to Kings Island. This time of year, Kings Island Camp Cedar camping also offers WinterFest packages.

Kings Island WinterFest

Don’t miss a minute of the fun! Which Unforgettable Experience at WinterFest Do You Want to Try First?

Kings Island WinterFest Bucket List

You can save the image above to your phone or print the WinterFest Bucket List below.

I’m a Kings Island Ambassador which means that I share my love for the park and enjoy perks and behind-the-scenes access.

Kids Guide to Kings Island WinterFest

24 thoughts on “Kids’ Guide to Kings Island WinterFest”

  1. This rundown of things to do is amazing! I’d love to check this years’ out, it seems like it’s a bit more organized and more things to do since the first year they re-introduced it!

  2. I’d love to win this for my son. He is coming home from college at the end of this week and I’d like to give the tickets to him so that he can have a fun night out with some of his friends from high school.

  3. This is very helpful and informative! Thank you! Hoping to take my family to Winterfest for the first time. It looks like so much fun.

  4. Hi Nendra,

    It was a great read! Although my family is visiting me this year, and we are planning on having a quiet Christmas hosted by me, this Winterfest sounds amazing, and I have bookmarked this for later years. There are some kids in my family who will definitely adore this Winterfest. I Loved all the suggestions you gave, and I will definitely be following them when I go. I wanted to ask if this fest happens every year? Then, I will definitely make a plan with my family to attend next year.

  5. This would be such a fun family outing! I haven’t been to Winter Fest since I was a kid! I’d love to share it with my husband and kids!

  6. We have never been to Winterfest before but are planning a road trip from Columbus to Cincy this winter break! Looks amazing.

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