The above photo is of a game building that has looked pretty much the same for as long as I can remember. So many things have changed at Kings Dominion that it's nice to see this old fashioned, Country Fair-style building still standing. Behind the building sits a huge arcade that's always been a favorite spot to be trapped in when it rains.
There was a time when landscaping was almost as big of an attraction as the rides and shows at an amusement park. Over time, space becomes more valuable and maintaining a piece of property just to look at becomes no longer cost effective. Why spend money grooming a nice flower garden when you could just tear it up and slap down another Dippin' Dots stand and make some money. This waterfall, located in whatever they were calling Hanna-Barbera Land that year, was just about the last bit of decoration squeezed in between all the kiddie rides.
Cave Kids was a very brief Flintstones spin-off from 1996 which featured the preschool aimed adventures of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm along with Dino. The show only lasted 8 episodes and aired on a handful of PBS stations. It's an odd choice for a reference in a theme park, but for a while the Infant Care Center at Kings Dominion was connected...in name only...to The Flintstones. (According to Kings Dominion's website, the name is still in effect!?)
When Paramount owned the park, they brought in alot of movie and television properties for almost no reason at all. They added the Happy Days Diner layover to an eatery originally built as Stan Mikita's from the Wayne's World movie. In fact, the park had a whole Wayne's World Land for a short while, but that was a silly idea that was dated from the moment in opened. The Happy Days Diner is now cleverly named The Juke Box Diner.
Here's another bizarre choice for a property to name a restaurant after: Tomb Raider Grill. They had a Tomb Raider ride which had nothing to do with the game or movie Tomb Raider, and it is now rethemed as well. The dining spot is now called Trail's End Grill. While it was Tomb Raider Grill you could dine on overpriced hamburgers and chicken strips while listening to the sound track of the Tomb Raider movies at very loud levels. Also, the fixins' bar had like lost treasures on top of it, or something like that. Whatever...it's all gone now!
In the original layout of Hanna-Barbera Land there were three Yogi Bear themed attractions grouped together in one spot. Yogi's Cave, Boo-Boo's Tree Swings, and Ranger Smith's Jeeps all sat together. Yogi's Cave closed a long time ago, but the swings and this jeep ride still hung on. I always loved the design of this jeep ride, which used Ranger Smith's Park Ranger uniform hat as it's inspiration. The Hanna-Barbera element has been completely removed from Kings Dominion this year and the kiddie section will be rechristened as Planet Snoopy. According to the website, this little ride will now be simply known as just Jeep Tours. I have a feeling the hat will remain.
Kings Dominion's 2010 season kicks off Friday, April 2.