Kings Island's Soak City, 2022

Kings Island’s Soak City waterpark is a great place to beat the heat during hot Cincinnati summers, and the water fun can be mild or wild. Soak City has expanded and modernized since opening in 1989, and that change continues into 2022. There are exciting new food offerings and cashless payments for this year’s experience, plus changes to Soak City’s original wave pool, Breakers Bay.

The front gate of Kings Island Soak City in the early

Soak City is in Mason, Ohio, located at 6300 Kings Island Drive #2, in Kings Mills, Ohio, and opens at 11 am. The parking plaza for Kings Island as a whole usually opens one hour before the main park opens at 10 am, enabling Soak City early birds to get a good parking spot at the waterpark front entrance. At the main parking plaza, it is a good idea to go thru the far right lanes if visiting Soak City, as traffic cones are used to direct the flow of cars.

Breakers Bay in the early morning; the pool is empty

One benefit of having a Gold or Platinum season pass is early admission. After going through Security, which includes walking through a metal detector and a bag search, pass holders are able to go into Soak City well before the 11 am start time. Early entry is a great way to find a lounge chair under an umbrella. Breakers Bay also has cabanas available for rent starting at $164 and they include lockable storage.

There are a variety of USGI-approved life jackets here.

Breakers Bay, the original wave pool at Soak City, has a new user experience. Up until 2019, the entire Breakers Bay “beach” was open with no seaside rope or pylons. Soak City was closed in 2020 due to the worldwide Covid pandemic. For the first half of the 2021 summer season, Soak City required reservations to get in.

This is the new entry point for Breakers Bay.

Breakers Bay wave-seekers now go through the life jacket station at the center front of the attraction to get into the pool. Prior to this change, visitors would just stroll onto the beach and into the zero-depth entryway. As of 2022, a life guard will now measure young guests for the height requirement of 42 inches (106 centimeters) in bare feet.

This young guest at Breakers Bay is wearing a life jacket

It’s high tide right now at Breakers Bay. This wave pool is listed as a Level 4 attraction in terms of intensity, with Level 5 being the highest. Breakers Bay is somewhat less intense than nearby Tidal Wave Bay, which like Breakers, is designated as a Level 4 family attraction. Waves at both pools come in five-minute intervals. Breakers is centrally located to more amenities.

This is the single exit point for Breakers Bay.

Just like the Breakers Bay entrance, the exit also goes through the life jacket station. The rope netting shown to either side of the station goes on for the entire length of Breakers Beach. There seem to be two emergency exits on either end, however. The waves seem to be fairly strong even this far out, so be careful as even exiting beach-goers may get lapped in the legs.

These are the lounge chairs near Breakers Bay.

These beach loungers were all filled up by 11:15 am. There are chairs set out in this area that can be moved closer to Breakers. It’s best to get a chaise longue directly under an umbrella, as it provides the best protection as the sun moves across the sky during the day. To save a chair, just put a beach towel over it.

These are the lockers near Breakers Bay.

Soak City has two locker stations; this station is near Breakers Bay. This is a safe place to store items while enjoying the park. In past, visitors could use cash to rent a locker; now a credit card must be used. A standard locker is $22, a large locker is $27, and a jumbo locker is $32. Lockers are discounted after 5 pm. (There is an ATM near the Soak City main entrance.)

This is the Mondo Monsoon inner tube ride.

Mondo Monsoon is a Level 5 aggressive thrill ride. Riders must be 48 inches (122 cm) tall and climb up wooden staircases before settling into a cloverleaf inner tube. The inner tube races through the enclosed chute and falls into the funnel on the left side of this image. The riders land in a catch basin and are helped out of the ride by a lifeguard.

This is Soak City's Island Smokehouse.

LaRosa’s pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken tenders. There are new food offerings at the Island Smokehouse, however. There are the fried green tomatoes to recall the Green Slime Zone and the slow-smoked Viking Fury Roast of Pork meal with Norseman’s Glaze named for the ride in the Oktoberfest area.

This is the interior of Island Smokehouse.

The Island Smokehouse has several tasty food offerings in addition to the 50th anniversary dishes mentioned previously. This eatery is also a great place to get out of the sun for a few minutes as the floor is very kind to bare feet and there is air conditioning. There are drinks, salads, and desserts here. Kings Island first opened in 1972.

Fried and breaded shrimp are delicious.

The chicken tenders, fried shrimp, and chicken wings are three of the entree choices. A cost-effective strategy to eat is to purchase a meal plan online. Drink and snack plans are also available. Soak City has its own Subway sandwich location at the Train station entrance and a Skyline chili dog stand at Tidal Wave Bay.

This is the main covered patio at Island Smokehouse

The Smokehouse pavilion will soon be full with the lunchtime crowd. This area is great for larger groups, and there are smaller tables around the other side that also has a condiment bar. The weather in Southwest Ohio can turn from sunny skies to rain at a moment’s notice, and the ceiling fans can keep this area cool. The temperatures reached 91 deg F (32.7 C) today and this covered patio provided welcome relief.

Smoked chicken wings and cowboy beans are delicious.

The smoked chicken wings are a new food item at Soak City in 2022. Kings Island has an executive chef, James Major, who’s been crafting meals here since 2018. He began his professional training in the United States Navy as a Mess Management Specialist 3rd Class on an amphibious assault ship. He and his team would place grills on the flight deck to cook hamburgers and hotdogs for a “Steel Beach Picnic” for the crew.

This is the Burnt Ends beef barbecue meal.

The Smokehouse wasn’t crowded today, which is Friday, July 1st, 2022, the first day of the four-day Fourth of July weekend. Folks moved through the line quickly and there was a lot of open seating to either side of the cafeteria. Shown here is the Burnt Ends meal option, which is barbecue beef, with creamy, cheesy macaroni. The beverage is a Coca-Cola product, vitaminwater, the acai-blueberry-pomegranate flavor.

Fried shrimp and fries eaten near Breakers Bay.

This is the shrimp entree platter at the Island Smokehouse. The shrimp entree is six breaded-and-fried shrimp with a side dish, shown here with French fries. The breading can be hit-or-miss, as is shown here. There is a large, well-maintained soft drink station inside the Smokehouse. Outdoor drink stations, like the one near Breakers Bay, attract bees during the summer months, unfortunately.

This is the Coconut Cove Cafe food stand.

Coconut Cove Cafe has quite a few food offerings, such as the standard amusement park fare like hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, etc. There is covered seating to either side of the Cove. To the left, there is the Coconut Cove Bar, with draft and bottled beer, plus frozen alcoholic beverages. Patrons can sit at the bar or use the covered seating.

This is the Seaside Supplies knick-knack shack near Breakers

There are two knick-knack shacks at Soak City, and Seaside Supplies is the one closest to Breakers Bay. There are the typical beach sundry items, like sunscreen, waterproof phone pockets, flip-flops, and apparel. Kings Island is cashless now, so everything must be purchased with a credit card.

This is the sundry shack near the train station, Sandals.

This is the train station entrance at Soak City, which takes guests from Soak City to the other train station located in the main park, which is the Losantiville Station in Rivertown. The two cash-to-card kiosks are located to the left of Sandals, shown inset here. (They are in the old Guest Services space.) Guests can load cash onto a Visa-branded credit card. This Visa card works inside and outside Kings Island.

Soak City shown at 5 pm on July 1, 2022.

This is the Soak City main entrance at 5 pm. This waterpark will close in two hours. Guests who are stepping out for a few minutes can get a hand stamp if they’d like to return. Soak City has a shorter season than the main park, running from Memorial Day through Labor Day. When it first opened in 1989, Soak City was known as WaterWorks, and was only 12 acres and now it is 30 acres. Before that, it was a softball field.

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