UPDATE 8/5/2021: 24 hours after this story was first posted, Google responded to our inquiry and has now corrected their driving directions to Kings Island. This mean Google Maps is now leading drivers to the correct park entrance.
The story that follows below is here is no longer up-to-date, and remains only for archive purposes:
Many people use Google Maps when going somewhere for the first time, but a glitch in the app is sending Kings Island visitors to an employee gate instead of the official front entrance.
A large sign at the back entrance to the Mason theme park says, "Attention: This is not a guest entrance." But dozens of cars heading to Kings Island try to get in that way every day.
Two confused women said, "The navigation got us here."
Starting on July 1, Google Maps sent them, and hundreds of other cars, to the wrong entrance, park spokesman Chad Showalter said.
"About the beginning of July we noticed something weird," he said. "Many of our guests were coming in through our employee entrance."
He said park employees asked confused guests why they came that way, and guests showed them the directions from Google Maps.
"Right there on Google Maps it gave directions to enter the associate entrance, almost like they are going to our Human Resources department," Showalter said.
The sign is very clear that the narrow two-lane street is not a guest entrance, especially with a major four-lane entrance, and a sign right off I-71. Most people tend to follow their phone, though, when it tells them to go a certain direction.
The park has since added extra security guards at the employee entrance to turn guests around. The extra security has turned away hundreds of out-of-town visitors.
"They told us we have to turn around," a carload of out-of-town visitors said.
Park officials beg for correction, but no luck
Park officials have contacted Google several times in the past three weeks, but the tech giant hasn't done anything.
"That's not how we want our guests to start their day," Showalter said.
Luckily, most of the lost visitors are understanding.
"Siri does that all the time, sends you to the wrong place," one driver said.
WCPO has reached out to Google's press office and asked if they could correct their maps.
For now, tell out-of-town friends to look for the big Kings Island sign so they don't get lost and you don't waste your money.
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