Park offers Peanuts

Known for its hair-raising roller coasters, Cedar Point this year is brushing up its credentials with an age group that'd rather ride in teacups.

Planet Snoopy is the newest attraction at the 138-year-old park in Sandusky, Ohio. The Peanuts-themed area has seven new rides, games, and wandering Peanuts characters to charm youngsters ages 3 to 8 who aren't ready for the big kid rides.

“We'd certainly like to start a tradition with younger families and get them to visit Cedar Point every year,” says Robin Innes, Cedar Point spokesman. “We also know we have to be balanced. We can't be all roller coasters.”

Planet Snoopy offers a teacup ride, a mini-train, plus tame rocket ship and balloon rides.

The 1.25-acre area also has a family center with changing stations and quiet areas for baby feeding. Its Joe Cool Cafe offers kid food, including dog bone-shaped cookies. It's the fourth family-themed area in the park.

Cedar Point – a sister park to Charlotte's Carowinds – was ranked in 2007 as the world's best amusement park for the 10th year in a row by industry journal Amusement Today.

It has the world's No. 2 rated steel roller coaster in Millennium Force – plus the No. 5 in Magnum XL and No. 9 in Top Thrill Dragster.

So Snoopy will have to do a lot of barking to take way attention from the thrill rides that captivate visitors. But the 4-year-olds? They'll be thrilled by their own little corner of Cedar Point.

Here's what else is new:

With 75 rides, including 17 coasters, the park slightly increased its attendance last year to 3.1 million visitors.

Ticket prices rose about $1-$5 this season — it's now $42.95 for people over 4 feet tall and $15.95 for ages 3 and older if less than 4 feet tall. Season passes cost the same as last year, $109.95. Parking is $10.

If you want to do both the park and the big water park Soak City, Ride & Slide tickets are $71.95 if over 4 feet tall and $33.95 for ages 3-up if less than 4 feet tall. (Look for discount tickets through AAA.)

Visiting Cedar Point can be a family vacation in itself. There are four related resort hotels – Castaway Bay, Hotel Breakers, the newly renovated Sandcastle Suites and the Breakers Express – and a luxury RV campground with cottages and cabins. Other resorts like Kalahari and Great Wolf Lodge also have locations near Cedar Point.

The park is open now through Labor Day, then weekends in September and October for Halloween-themed days. It opens at 10 a.m.; closing times vary.