Last week, I took Jack to Six Flags.
You can read about our great day here. The short version is, I took Jack on his first trip to an amusement park and it was tons of fun and really, really HOT. It was the first time I’ve taken a small child to an amusement park and I learned a few things along the way…and for 10 Things Thursday, I’m going to share what I learned!
Here are 10 Tips for Visiting an Amusement Park with Kids.
- Plan your route. You will get a map when you arrive (at least, that has been my experience at every amusement park I’ve visited). If you’re traveling with young kids, however, I recommend you look over a map before you visit the park. You can save time and see more attractions by routing out your course for the day before arriving at the park.
- Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s not hot, take your sunscreen. You’ll be outside for much of the day.
- Bring drinks and snacks. Check out the park’s policy in advance. Some will allow you to bring food and drink (and if you pack a lunch, most parks will have lockers you can rent so you’re not carrying your food around). Amusement park food is expensive…if you can bring your own snacks and drinks, I highly recommend it!
- Invest in a misting fan. Luckily, we had the foresight to buy a misting fan before going to the park. They sold them there, of course…but we saved a bunch of money by picking one up at CVS the night before. Word to the wise, though…get it all set up and working the night before. Ours didn’t work, and we had to take it back for a replacement. That would have been really unpleasant to discover at the park!
- Make everyone wear a hat. I was wishing for one as I was trekking back and forth across the park under the intense Texas sun.
- Bring a stroller. I was undecided on this one. I actually thought (hahahaHAHAHAHAHA) that we would walk around the park stroller-free. My son is, after all, 4.5 years old. I overlooked the fact that when it’s even a teensy bit hot out, he will whine and cry about the heat when he has to walk from the front door to the car. From the front door to the car. Maybe a 15-foot walk. I thought, “I don’t want to be pushing a big stroller all over the place all day long!” and imagined that we’d walk through the park, whine-free. LUCKILY a few of my blogger friends put me in check and recommended a stroller. Best advice ever. There was quite a bit of sitting around, a whole lot of heat, and plenty of walking between rides. The stroller made the day better.
- Don’t buy any souvenirs until you’re ready to leave. Unless, of course, you want to be one of those parents cramming a balloon between their legs on the roller coasters or dragging a giant stuffed animal around with them from ride to ride that their kid swore they’d hold but got tired of carrying ten minutes later. I let Jack look at all the fun stuff throughout the day and we bought something on our way out of the park.
- Bring a big ziplock bag for valuables that you want to keep on you, but don’t want to get wet. If you’ll be going on any rides that have water, you’ll want to keep your wallet and phone and camera dry! We didn’t go on any water rides, but we did walk through lots of misters – and our stuff got wet!
- Check out the park’s “Fast Pass” options. Most parks give you the chance to check in early for a ride…basically, you get a ticket that tells you when to return. You come back during the alotted time and wait in a much shorter line for your ride. I recommend this especially for the big, popular rides!
- Write your name and number somewhere on your child so that if they get lost, an employee will be able to find you. At Six Flags, we received a wrist bracelet when we entered the park. I wrote my name and number on this and explained – over and over and over again – what Jack was to do should we get separated. I showed him what employee uniforms looked like so he’d know who to approach if we were split up (the thought terrifies me!), and I also told him he could go up to any person working behind the counter of a store or restaurant, or operating a ride. He’s too little to find the “Missing Parents” station on his own, so I wanted him to have lots of options and to know exactly what to do!
What tips would you add to this list?