One of our favorite annual fall traditions is to take the kids to Kings Dominion for The Great Pumpkin Fest. Guests of all ages can join the PEANUTS gang for amazing fall fun including: pumpkin painting, hay mazes, ghostly games, not-so-scary live entertainment and more! This scare-free festival makes for the perfect fall/ Halloween activity for littles and everyone in the family. Here’s why you don’t want to miss out on The Great Pumpkin Fest at Kings Dominion…
WHAT IS THE GREAT PUMPKIN FEST
Many readers are probably wondering why I’m recommending to bring small children to a Halloween event at Kings Dominion with such enthusiasm. Most of the time, scary is what comes to mind when associating Halloween and a theme park! However, Kings Dominion has designed their featured fall event The Great Pumpkin Fest to be all fun and no fear!
Through out the fall every Saturday and Sunday September – October 30, 2023 from 11PM to 5PM, Kings Dominion celebrates the ultimate fall festival, The Great Pumpkin Fest! In addition to everyone’s favorite family rides at Kings Dominion, Guests can participate in a collection of scare-free Halloween activities including: venturing through a hay maze, decorating the perfect pumpkin, watching Halloween-themed live shows and more! Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls are thrilling to adults and some older kids but absolutely terrifying for the little ones! I love that Kings Dominion makes it easy for the entire family to enjoy a Halloween event together no matter what age.
PLAN OUT YOUR DAY
The first thing you want to do after getting through the gates is make your way to the Planet Snoopy entrance and stop by The Great Pumpkin Fest headquarters to get measured for rides, grab a goodie bag and pick up a map. We spent most of our day in Planet Snoopy since the kids in our group are between ages 3-6. We enjoyed riding all the rides and seeing the shows.
- Rides- Some of our favorite rides that go great with the Halloween theme are the Great Pumpkin Coaster, Boo-Blaster and the Kite Eating Tree. I love that Planet Snoopy is decorated in festival fall fun… As the kids ride on PEANUTS Turnpike and Road Rally the pass by inflatables and other adorable decorations.
- Trick or Treating- It’s so fun to get dressed up and go from station to station collecting candy.
- Special Activities- Some the awesome activities only available at The Great Pumpkin Fest include: Halloween-themed live shows where you can jam out to classic music like Monster Mash. At Sally’s Pumpkin Painting Patch you can pick our the perfect pumpkin, decorate it and take it home. Get lost in a mini straw maze at Franklin’s Scarecrow Hollow. Jump on into Pig Pen’s People Washer where your little one can scope and play in a giant corn pit.
- Photo Opportunities- Be sure to stop in front of the festival decorations for a picture. There are dozens of cute places to capture moments.
When the day is coming to an end, we leave enough time for two last stops. The second to last stop you should make is stopping by Pig-Pens People Washer, located by the Kite Eating Tree ride. This giant foam pit is a lot of fun. The down side is you do get a little soaked with suds. We usually keep spare clothing to change into in the car. I personally like to end the day by picking up a pumpkin before 5 PM. I suggest picking your pumpkin up last, so it’s not a pain to carry around the park all day. We usually do not paint ours and save it as an activity to do at home. If you don’t want to stay for “The Haunt” Kings Dominion scary event than you will want to exit the park around 6 PM. At 7 PM things turn terrifying really fast! The music changes, fog comes over the ground and creepy things appear.
TRICKS TO MAKE YOUR EXPERIENCE A TREAT
- Keep in mind the fall festivities at Kings Dominion are being run differently this year. The park is only open 11AM-5PM for the Great Pumpkin Fest. Kings Dominion closes down for an hour and than re-opens the park at 6PM for the Halloween Haunt. This means you will need to purchase a separate ticket or have a season pass to get back in.
- Speaking of season passes. I highly recommend purchasing seasons passes. Kings Dominion has something fun each session. The summer of course has a full water park open to season pass holders, fall highlights Halloween and last but not least Winterfest in winter is a great way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Season passes include entry into the park all year round, as well as free parking. Adult season pass holders are also eligible to sign their children ages 3-5 up for a FREE pre-k pass! It’s definitely a bargain.
- Kings Dominion is the first theme park in Virginia to become ADA certified. Be sure to check out The Playful Parent Family Guide to see all the accommodations and tips for visiting this theme park.
- Be sure to take to time to stop and get pictures with the Characters and decorated photo spots so you capture some fond memories.
- Dress up in costume when you go. Going in costume will make the experience extra special.
- Don’t forget to pick the perfect pumpkin. It’s great that the cost of admission includes a small pumpkin for the kids.
- Visit the family center if you have infants and toddlers or even a little one who gets sensory overload. Did you know the family care center has changing tables, wipes, a nursing room with rocking chair and even bottle warmers? Not to mention two calm down rooms. The calm down room has comfy chairs and doors that close to those with sensory needs. There are also family style bathrooms in the family care center that aren’t usually busy because no one really knows about the center.
- If you plan on staying late (after 6 PM) be sure to get a 2023 No Boo! necklace to give yourself scare immunity from the monsters lurking inside the Halloween Haunt. Wearing this necklace significantly reduces the likelihood of being scared by monsters in scare zones. Cannot be used in any of the mazes.
Address: 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, VA 23047
Hours: Great Pumpkin Fest is every weekend September – October 30, 2023 11AM – 5PM
Cost: Day Pass start at $49/Season Pass Available/ Children 3 and under FREE
Playful Parent Guide: Visiting Kings Dominion with Kids Guide
***The Playful Parent was not paid to promote Kings Dominion, sharing information and my unbiased opinion about our family’s favorite spots around the DMV area is an honor. I want to thank Kings Dominion for inviting us out for the day, so we could get all the information to write this guide and help parents plan their trip to The Great Pumpkin Festival. All content and photos from the article are intellectual property of The Playful Parent protected by the DCMA.***