Theme parks can be the perfect day trip for families. They provide a fun and thrilling break from everyday life and often have attractions to suit a range of ages. However, as many families know, showing up to the wrong park or arriving on the wrong day can lead to a far less pleasant experience than you expected. Follow these tips to make your day out one to remember.
Consider Your Timing
Weekends and summer vacations tend to be the worst possible time to head to any theme park. Many parks get packed full of visitors, leading to long lines and overwhelming crowds that can be especially unsettling for smaller children. If your children are below school age, take advantage of quieter weekdays and head to amusement parks on a Thursday morning. If your options are restricted due to work and school dates then try to arrive as early as possible in the morning to avoid the rush and crowds.
Pick The Right Park
While teenagers will be desperate to head to the country’s largest rollercoasters, small kids may not get much out of the experience. If you have children that span different age ranges then big theme parks tend to be a good choice- they will have rides and amusements aimed at a wide range of age groups. For smaller kids, a local amusement park with rides that are designed for little kids will be a better choice. These parks tend to be much cheaper, less crowded and not as over-stimulating as a huge coaster park.
Hunt Down A Bargain
All parents know how pricy theme park tickets can be, especially if you’re paying for the whole family to go in at once. There are usually ways to find cheaper tickets without going to much trouble. Check the theme park’s website for specials and discounts. If you’re on a family vacation and staying in a hotel, the hotel concierge may be able to direct you toward coupons for discounted entry to local parks and attractions.
For theme parks in your area that you visit a few times a year, season passes can work out cheaper than paying for individual entry every time you take the kids there. Ask at the ticket office for season pass prices, and work out whether it could end up saving you money in the long run.
Even the most highly anticipated theme park visit can be spoiled by a lack of preparation. If you’re visiting a park with water-themed rides, make sure that you bring a change of clothes, swimsuits, waterproof sunscreen and clothes that dry easily (definitely not jeans). Sun hats, extra diapers and plenty of snacks are also must-haves for any day out, so pack everything into a lightweight, comfortable backpack that you can easily carry around.
If you’re heading to the theme park with a small child, you might want to consider bringing a stroller along, even if they’re usually happy to walk. Once your child has been standing in a long line for a while and packing around the park in the sun, they’ll probably be happier taking a rest in the stroller instead.