Officials made the announcement Friday afternoon at the Mason amusement park ending a week of speculation by park enthusiasts.
Teasers on the park’s website earlier this week read, “Millions of years in the making, something big is coming to Kings Island.”
Dinosaurs Alive!, which opens to the public May 26, will feature more than 60 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs along a 4,000-foot walking path on more than 12 wooded acres.
The previously unused site is situated in the Coney Mall area, near the Vortex exit and behind the Racers.
“It was a perfect setting,” said Kings Island Public Relations Manager Don Helbig of the site. “The Jurassic forest setting adds to the authenticity. It will be like you’re in a different world.”
Move over T-Rex — the highlight of the family-friendly exhibit is the Ruyang Yellow River dinosaur, which measures 72 feet long, 12 feet wide and 30 feet high. T-Rex will still be there, along with Irratator, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and the flying Pteranodon, among other dinosaurs.
Six main scenes and nine thematic exhibits tell the stories of the dinosaurs featured, including what scientists believe they ate, who they battled and why they went extinct.
Four of the dinosaurs will have interactive consoles, which allow guests to move dinosaurs themselves. Other attractions include a replica of an excavation site, a paleontological dig site for kids and a gift shop.
Dinosaurs Alive is a “natural fit” for the amusement park, said Helbig.
“Not everyone is a thrill seeker or wants to go to the waterpark,” he said. “When you come here, it will be fun, thrilling and now educational.”
The “universal appeal” of dinosaurs and the family-friendly aspect of the exhibit should draw in spectators, says Greg Scheid, KI’s vice president and general manager.
Still, park officials didn’t expect its exhibit to become the world’s largest.
“Before we knew it, it was the world’s largest,” said Scheid with a laugh. “It just grew into that.”
Entrance to the exhibit will cost an additional $5 on top of regular park admittance.
“Other dinosaur parks charge $12.99 and up and they’re not even a third of the size,” explained Helbig. “[Dinosaurs Alive!] is a massive project and a unique experience you won’t get anywhere else.”
Kings Island officials say the new exhibit will complement the park’s other new attraction, WindSeeker, which will debut when the park opens April 30.
The $5 million “swing ride” will spin riders 301 feet to the top of its tower, giving expansive views of the area in the process.
The new thrill ride is located in the Coney Mall section, which is also undergoing an expansive renovation.
“People will not recognize Coney Mall this year,” said Scheid. “It’s a new area. We can’t wait.”