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May 6, 2014
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Hampton, VA USA
Anyone else visit during the park's 1974 preview year?  Do you remember hot air balloons and parachutists?  I was 6 in 1974 so my memories are fuzzy.  I remember driving through Lion Country Safari and riding the Scooby Doo coaster (which I loved and returned to ride many times).  I found the two photos below in family photos with other KD shots.  I sort of remember seeing hot air balloons and parachutes.  I am starting to wonder if my parents and I were present on opening day.  They are both deceased so I cannot verify.

 

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Jan 8, 2011
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My Mom and aunt drove through Lion Country Safari in 1974 when I was 12 years old. The by-pass hose on the car broke while we were in with the giraffes and zebras. Park personel came and fixed the car and did not charge us anything. The giraffes where poking their heads through our open car windows. I remember riding the Scooby Doo roller coaster. There was also a film of Kings Island and what we could expect at Kings Dominion. I also think that the Bird Show as going on.
 
Feb 9, 2013
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My Mom remembers the preview year, she went through Lion Country Safari, and rode the Scooby Doo Coaster. She also went to the Hospitality Center where concept art and pictures were set up to give people an idea I what the park would look like. Also, there was a video playing that simulated what would soon be Rebel Yell.
 
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Apr 29, 2011
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I went once during preview year but I have no recollection of it. Mostly because I was being pushed around in a stroller all day and slept through most of it! :p
 
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Nov 1, 2012
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GeoUSA said:
Anyone else visit during the park's 1974 preview year?  Do you remember hot air balloons and parachutists?  I was 6 in 1974 so my memories are fuzzy.  I remember driving through Lion Country Safari and riding the Scooby Doo coaster (which I loved and returned to ride many times).  I found the two photos below in family photos with other KD shots.  I sort of remember seeing hot air balloons and parachutes.  I am starting to wonder if my parents and I were present on opening day.  They are both deceased so I cannot verify.

GeoUSA, Those Air show photos were taken from the International Street entrance plaza just inside the park's main gate. I don't think that area was open to the public in 1974. From my understanding, only the area around the Scooby Doo coaster up to what is now Outer Hanks restaurant was open for folks. There was a preview building(s) that you could walk through to see what the park was supposed to look like when it opened the following year (1975).

Very little remains of the Old Safari drive-through entrance and ticket booths. There is a gate, between the back of Dominator and the picnic pavilion area, that leads to the existing parking lot. That used to be the entrance to the drive-through Safari in 1974. I think the original bathroom building, (entrance is within the picnic pavilion area), as well as a couple ticket booths still remain. The ticket booths were African themed, were round and had a conical roof.

I don't know if any flat ride was open other than the Scooby Doo. The scrambler was originally located where the Boo Blasters entrance plaza is now. That might have been open as well. Keep in mind I did not visit in 1974, I went for the first time in 1975. I am just relying on what others had told me when they did the drive-through Safari.
 
May 6, 2014
365
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Hampton, VA USA
mwhinva said:
GeoUSA, Those Air show photos were taken from the International Street entrance plaza just inside the park's main gate. I don't think that area was open to the public in 1974. From my understanding, only the area around the Scooby Doo coaster up to what is now Outer Hanks restaurant was open for folks. There was a preview building(s) that you could walk through to see what the park was supposed to look like when it opened the following year (1975).

Thanks, MwhinVA.  My parents were fun-loving and cool adults.  They were mightily impressed with KD during the preview and became theme park enthusiasts.  I suspect we were present on opening day in 1975. Thanks again for helping fill in some blanks for me.
 
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Mar 15, 2014
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Nashville
My family and I rode through Lion Country Safari in 1974. I have vague memories (I was only 4 years old) of animals around our car. The Scooby Doo was the first roller coaster I ever rode but I don't believe I rode it until 1975. We went on opening day but sadly we were some of the unlucky ones who were turned away because they were at full capacity. We had that LONG drive back home to Chesapeake or at least it always seemed really long back then. We did go back later in the season which is when I rode Scooby Doo.
 
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