Just found a link through Macaroni kid that lets you print out a buy one ticket get one free for mothers day. Check it out here. This must be used with a full price admission so you can’t do this in the boy scout discount for Mom and Dad but you CAN use the boy scout discount for any other tickets you may need.
Traveling to amusement parks with small children can be a great deal of fun or it can be a disaster, sometimes it is both in the same trip!
A good rule of thumb for children between the ages of 3 and 7 is that they can handle one hour of an amusement park for every year of age without a nap or significant rest. Kids under 2 are often stroller-bound and will nap while being pushed so they can actually go longer than their walking toddler, pre-school and elementary school siblings. Children over 7 pretty much work like adults but will need a breather in the afternoon.
While there isn’t much you can do to change your young child’s age or attention span, there are things you can do before you leave for your trip and while you are in the park that will help you have a more pleasant day.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
- Review the website for the park you will be visiting to gain as much information as possible before you leave. Things like ride minimum heights, outside food policy, breastfeeding policy, swim diaper policy, hand-held infant ride policies and the like can really affect your day.
- Measure your child in the shoes they will wear to the park to determine actual height.
- Have a rainy day plan in case the weather turns poorly and you can’t go – kids will be let down if there isn’t an alternative.
- Pack the night before to make sure you have everything. Allow the child to take one small toy with them if there is room.
- If the park has a lot of costumed characters or people in face paint, try to get your kids used to that before they go at a local carnival or festival. Toddlers especially are afraid of large costumed characters – it is better to know this in advance.
DURING YOUR TRIP
- Keep everyone hydrated with water and covered in sunscreen (including baby feet and heads sticking out of strollers!) Hats and shoes with full foot covering are preferred attire.
- Make sure nobody gets too hungry and choose familiar food for children. Amusement park trips are not the times to try new foods, stick to those nuggets folks.
- Find and remember places with shade for a cool spot to rest.
- Mix your day with high and low thrill activities such as rides and feeding the ducks.
- Never force your child to ride something. This can lead to a lifetime of fear of amusement rides. If they are mildly interested but not sure, let them watch the ride a few times. Do not lie to them about how scary something is. They won’t trust you a second time even if you are telling the truth.
- If possible, have your child nap in a stroller or in your lap in a shaded spot. Even just getting off your feet on a train ride or to see a show may make the difference between a tantrum and a peaceful afternoon.
- Know when to leave. Sometimes it is just best to call it quits and head home.
This seems like such a simple thing and yet every trip I make to an amusement park I see women in high heels teetering their way around kiddie land, people of all ages in too tight shorts trying to ride a carousel or endowed women wearing tube tops who have to constantly pull them up lest their assets be on full display.
There are always folks who are overdressed or underdressed at amusement parks and I really don’t understand why. Did they not know they were coming? Have they never been to an amusement park before? I suppose those might be reasons.
At any rate, when chosing clothes for you and your family, think about the following things:
- Will your feet hurt if you wear those shoes ALL day?
- Do your shoes protect you from hot pavement and sunburn?
- Do you need to wear socks with those shoes?
- Will your shoes fall off if you go up in the air?
- Can you confortably sit, stand, walk, run and straddle a horse in what you are wearing?
- If you experience G-forces or wind from rides will anything be exposed that shouldn’t be?
- Will you have enough skin covered to not get sunburned?
- Will you be too hot without layers to take off?
- Does your t-shirt cover you if you raise your arms?
- Do you need a hat?
- Do you need pockets?
- If your clothes get wet, will they dry quickly?
- If your clothes get wet, will they be ruined?
These are just some of the things to keep in mind. Dress sensibly for the weather and the activities you will be doing and your family will be much happier than if they have burning feet and dripping wet clothes.
You know the rules on when to beat the crowds at an amusement park, but for some reason the only day you can visit the world’s greatest amusement park is on a Saturday in August. Yep, crowds and more crowds. Lines and more lines. Knowing that going in, how can you help your family still have a good time? Make a family must-see list.
Make a Top Three List
Review the park’s website a few days before your trip and have each family member make a top 3 list of things they want to do with #1 being the thing they most want to do. Make it a goal to hit EVERYONE’s #1 and as many #2s and #3s as possible. That way the whole family feels like they got something out of the trip.
Make a Plan of Attack with a Map
Did you know that the #2 time waster during an amusement park trip is criss-crossing through the park to get from ride to ride?
Save your family time and hit more of your favorites by making a game plan for attacking the park so you hit as many “must-see” attractions for the family with the minimum of walking. Use your online park map and your family’s favorites list to make sure you make the most of your steps and your time.
Sometimes it makes more sense to split up and then meet back later. Do that if it helps everyone get more out of the trip. No sense dragging Mom to the coasters if she and Aunt Jodie want to see the show.
(Just in case you are wondering, waiting in line is the #1 time waster. What is #3? Eating.)