Kings Island is Ohio's attendance champ, ranking says

CLEVELAND (AP) - Paramount's Kings Island eclipsed Cedar Point in 2004 as the Ohio amusement park with the highest attendance, according to a trade magazine's rating.

Kings Island, located near Cincinnati, was the 15th busiest amusement park in North America in 2004 with attendance of about 3.5 million, while Cedar Point near Sandusky fell to 17th with attendance of about 3.2 million, according to the ranking of 50 parks by Amusement Business.

Kings Island spokeswoman Maureen Kaiser said park officials are thrilled with the ranking, which also placed it at the top of the list of seasonal parks.

All of the higher-ranked parks were year-round operations in such sunny locales as Florida and California. Kings Island stays open 130 days a year.

The park benefited from many of those days being sunny and warm, and its expanded waterpark also attracted visitors, Kaiser said.

Cedar Point spokeswoman Janice Witherow said a lack of a new major attraction and unpredictable weather contributed to the park's drop in the rankings. It rained during more than a third of the park's 146 days of operation.

Northeast Ohio's Geauga Lake, meanwhile, didn't make the top 50 with attendance of 700,000.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)