When Cedar Point opens for the season May 11, it will be the first opening day in recent memory where guests are not making a mad dash for a new thrill ride.
The park is straying from its familiar record-breaking ride equals record-breaking crowds formula this season and is offering a new (at least for Cedar Point) approach that is a bit like the theme parks known for a mouse or magic wands.
There are two new family-friendly attractions — one temporary — for guests to explore this year.
Cedar Point will be the first in the Cedar Fair chain to play host to a traveling Monster Jam exhibit.
The Monster Jam Thunder Alley will be at the Sandusky park from May 18 to June 30 and will feature some pay-as-you go experiences and some free exhibits where you can get up close to the the huge trucks.
Monster Jam trucks from Grave Digger to El Toro Loco to Megalodon to Max-D to Zombie will be at the park.
Guests — 10 at a time — will have a chance to ride aboard Grave Digger and Megalodon through an obstacle course.
But the real adventure for guests this summer is tucked deep inside the park where the animated dinosaur exhibit long called home.
Cedar Point's Forbidden Frontier is set to open May 25.
Tucked in a swampy area in the heart of the park, guests will first have to decide how they want to venture into this area that harks back to a time when Ohio was still being explored and early settlers were moving in.
The park has been cagey on exact details but slowly offering clues on Cedarpoint.com on what lies within the Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island.
The stage is set before you even set foot on the so-called island.
You can join others and literally pull your fellow travelers across Snake River Swamp on a four-person raft. Or you can take a wandering path, or cross the makeshift boggy bridge, or venture through Cascade Crossing.
From there, it appears to be up to you what to do next.
The back story is that the area has been closed off the visitors for five years after settlers there began feuding. The day you arrive is Truce Day celebrating its reopening to strangers.
There is a delicate truce so it looks very likely the cast of characters you will encounter will be salty toward one another and even strangers.
Wandering around guests, if they choose, will have a chance to participate in challenges or go off on secret missions, or simply chat with those living on the frontier who are all reportedly looking for a rumored buried treasure.
One of the areas to explore is Shuckerman’s Farm where you can help Otis overcome his fear of chickens, deliver goods, decipher cryptic codes or chat with Chess Watkins and her pet emu. You might encounter a fortune teller who is seeking a fortune from the supposed buried treasure and other characters along the way.
The Forbidden Frontier is included with park admission and will be open to guests from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Sept. 2.
For more information, see cedarpoint.com.
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.