Cool Yule Review: Kings Dominion Winterfest

You might be familiar with the Virginia theme park, Kings Dominion. Located in Doswell, Virginia, just outside of Ashland and about 20 minutes from Richmond, VA, the theme park is transformed into a winter wonderland called Winterfest for evening visits only from late November to New Year’s Eve (see 2022 dates and hours below). I highly recommend a visit this holiday season.

Winterfest Schedule

November 25 – December 18 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) – 5 pm – 10 pm

December 19 – 30 (Monday – Friday) – 5 pm – 10 pm

(Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

December 31 (New Year’s Eve) – 5 pm – 12:30 a.m.

I visited Winterfest with my family on New Year’s Eve last year. I found a diverse crowd where everyone seemed to be having a good time and no one acted up or was obnoxious.The Kings Dominion staff were friendly, too.

Things to see and do —

  • Strolling around to look at the lights and decorations.
  • Ice skating. We didn’t do that but the ice rink was huge and not crowded at all. I think I would try that next time.
  • Watching and dancing to live music.
  • Watching the modest but fun parade (it still went on even though it was raining!)
  • Viewing the Nativity and visiting the nativity animals in the petting area.
  • Shopping – really decent shopping in the boutiques. Lots of sales. If you are a Snoopy fan, you’ll be very happy. A terrific assortment of Snoopy plush dogs and holiday items.
  • Seeing shows and walk-around characters. Because of Covid, we opted out of the indoor shows but I have heard they are very good, especially the Peanuts progam. There were plenty of entertainers outdoors to see.
  • Riding some of the rides that were open.
  • Reading letters to Santa displayed at the North Pole post office (warning: you may get emotional!)
  • Fireworks (may be just on New Year’s Eve). The best place to watch the fireworks, my sister discovered, was near Candy Apple Grove next to the funnel cake stand there. No crowds and a great view!
Tips
  • Wear good walking shoes! You’ll be covering a lot of ground.
  • Get a gingerbread funnel cake with ice cream (I think it will take 3 people to finish it).
  • If it’s in your budget, splurge on an igloo rental (heated plastic transparent enclosures). If it rains, you have a private heated enclosure that is yours for the night. But there are only a few so you have to reserve them for your date.
Where to Stay
  • KOA Campgrounds offer space for RVs as well as roomy, large cabins. They have also offered shuttle transportation to Kings Dominion. We didn’t stay there because it was sold out.
  • There are lots of hotels in nearby Ashland, which is a quick drive to Kings Dominion.

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