The sky’s the limit at Coney Island this summer

The Island Wheel at Coney Island, the largest mobile Ferris wheel in North America, will soar 155 feet over the park along the Ohio River for six weeks starting May 26.

Coney Island, which is marking its 132nd season, says the Island Wheel will offer passengers a unique 360-degree view of the park and surrounding Ohio River valley.

The Island Wheel, featuring 36 six-person gondolas, will be located adjacent to the popular Sunlite Water Adventure area, near the Riverbend Music Center. Each ride will take about 10 minutes with the observation wheel making four rotations per session.

“The Island Wheel at Coney Island is an extraordinary structure, taking family playtime to new heights with state-of-the-art technology,” says Sally Derrick, Coney Island marketing director. “It is the tallest ride of its kind in Ohio and is a great way to launch an exciting 2018 summer.”

The Island Wheel is transported on 12 semi-trailers and takes four days to erect and four days to dismantle with a crew of 16. It includes six miles of electrical cable. The Wheel is coming to Coney Island from Florida and will go to the Wisconsin State fair after leaving here.

At night, the wheel will be illuminated with more than half a million LED lights, visible for miles, the park says. Admission for the ride, which ends its run on July 8, is $5.

Also new for 2018, Coney Island is partnering with ThinkTV and CET to create a “beyond broadcast” experience that combines popular PBS Kids characters with a “play and learn” environment. It will include interactives that have been chosen specifically to align with the PBS Kids mission of building imagination and curiosity.

It starts with the PBS Kids Backyard, a playground for kids to climb, slide, play and learn. The PBS Kids Backyard will be in a park setting next to the carousel across from the games in Coney’s Moonlite Square.

When it’s time to cool and calm down, parents and their kids can head to the new Quiet Place area, across from the paddleboats on Lake Como.

Friday Night Dance Parties
This season’s schedule for Moonlite Garden’s Friday night dance parties is:

June 8, Soul Pocket

June 22, Bluestone Ivory

July 6, Soul Pocket

July 20, The Cincy Rockers

Aug. 3, The Company

Aug. 24, All In

Oct. 12, Halloween Party, Bluestone Ivory.

The Quiet Place will provide a cool, quiet place to step away from the sun and crowds for a break. The room is equipped with two private breastfeeding stations, changing tables, a private restroom and a quiet space for kids to relax.

Also new this year at Coney are three live shows, a renovated mini golf course and new paddleboats on Lake Como.

The three new live shows include: Circus Mojo, where kids can join the cast for a chance to perform new circus tricks; Love My Country, a new country music show with contemporary and patriotic hits; and a ‘90s Mix show of greatest hits.

The mini golf renovations will feature nine Cincinnati landmarks such as the Brent Spence Bridge. The new paddleboats on Lake Como will include graceful swans and daring dragons.

“Since last year’s renovations at Sunlite Water Adventure were so well received by our guests, we’ve brought that same sense of excitement to the rides and attractions side of the park,” Derrick says.

“Guests will see new theming, bright colors, fresh paint and new signs creating a playful atmosphere for families to enjoy together.”

A number of rides have been updated including a new look for the popular Python rollercoaster.

Special events at Coney Island this year include:

- Mother’s Day, May 13, guests can treat their moms to an unlimited brunch buffet in historic Moonlite Gardens, including a carriage ride around Lake Como and admission to Coney Island and the Appalachian Festival. A second buffet option in the Moonlite Pavilion includes admission to Appalachian Festival. Information at

- Memorial Day weekend is the official kick off of the season with the opening of Sunlite Water Adventure with the world’s largest recirculating pool, Coney’s rides and attractions and the Island Wheel.

- The annual LaRosa’s Balloon Glow will be July 3. Hot air balloons of every color will illuminate the night at dusk followed by a spectacular Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display over Lake Como to end the evening.

- Fire Up the Night, Coney’s annual international fireworks competition, will be Sept 22. Three countries will compete for international bragging rights and the evening will end with Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks over Lake Como.

- Fall-O-Ween will return for the first three weekends in October featuring rides, shows and pumpkin throws. Activities include a trick or treat trail, hayrides, pumpkin launching, Apple Pie School, live shows, a petting farm, pony rides and more. Coney’s rides also will be open during the event.

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