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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR following 2017

Kings Island preview 2013

New dinosaurs, full-service restaurant coming. The park opens this Saturday; daily operation begins May 10.

Each year Kings Island ups the ante on the rides and attractions it offers guests.

Last year the park embarked on a $10 million expansion and redesign of the Soak City waterpark.

The upgrades this year are no exception. The park, which celebrates opening day on April 27, is opening its first full-service restaurant on the property since the International Restaurant closed in the 1990s.

The Reds Hall of Fame Grille will be serving up burgers, chicken wings, Montgomery Inn pulled pork, baby back ribs, wraps, appetizers, salads, homemade desserts, soft drinks, draft beer and wine. The Grille, which seats more than 200, will feature authentic Reds memorabilia, framed jerseys, photos and other tidbits of the teams history dating back to the 1800s. It will also feature more than 20 big screen TVs to watch the game on.

“The excitement for the Reds Hall of Fame Grille compares to what we see when we’re opening a major new ride, said Don Helbig, Public Relations Area Manager for the park.”There are a lot of Reds fans in the region. Many of our guests grew up watching the Reds during the Big Red Machine era in the 1970’s and when they go into the Reds Hall of Fame Grille, it’s going to rekindle a lot of memories for them.”

Also new this year is the arrival of a life-size Sauroposeidon, the world’s largest animatronic dinosaur that will be added to the Dinosaurs Alive! attraction along with a pack of Albertosaurus, a scene that explores the idea that carnivorous theropods may have been social creatures.

Four new live stage shows will also be introduced: Ed Alonzo’s Pyscho Circus of Magic & Mayhem 2; Rock n’ Roll Never Forgets; Playlist, Live! and Charlie Brown’s Jungle Journey. Returning popular shows include British Invasion and Peanuts Party in the Plaza.

With millions of people expected to visit the park again this year, the park is always looking for ways to add value in what they offer. The inspiration for the Reds Hall of Fame Grille was direct feedback from guests, Helbig said.

“Kings Island has ranked as one of the top seasonal amusement theme parks in the world since it opened in 1972. We have attractions that appeal to guests of all ages. From thrill-seekers to family attractions like the Grand Carousel, Dinosaurs Alive!, an award-winning kids’ area and 33-acre water park that is included free with park admission, Kings Island truly has something for everyone in the family,” Helbig said. “Many of our guests grew up with Kings Island and visits to the park are annual summer traditions. They visited the park as young children and now bring their children and grandchildren to the park. Some of the best memories families have is of their visits to Kings Island. It’s a special place for so many people. A place where thrills connect for family and friends.”

By the numbers

1972: Kings Island opened its gates on April 29, 1972

41: Number of years in operation

364: Number of acres in the park

33: Number of acres in the waterpark

14: Number of roller coasters

45: Total number of rides

30: Water slides

4: New live show this year — Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus of Magic & Mayhem 2 (Ed Alonzo played Max in the TV sitcom “Saved by the Bell”); Rock n’ Roll Never Forgets!; Playlist, Live! and Charlie Brown’s Jungle Journey

2: Shows returning this year — “Remember When: The 70’s!” and “Peanuts Party in the Plaza”

1: Full-service restaurant. The Reds Hall of Fame Grille, which opens this season, will be the park’s lone full service restaurant. The park has not had a full service restaurant since the International Restaurant was closed in the 1990s.

20: More than 20 big screen TVs will be in the Reds Hall of Fame Grille to see the game

40: There are more than 40 locations for food, drinks and treats across the park

4,000: Number of seasonal associates hired to work at the park in 2013

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