Last week we went with my family to an amusement park. We had a great time. It was so much fun to watch my children’s faces and hear their giggles of delight (my daughter Alysta is a screamer and alternated between screaming and laughing). I also learned a few things about kids and amusement parks that I had not realized before so I thought I would pass on my newly acquired wisdom.
Lines and toddlers do not mix. Honestly I don’t know how many times I had to grab Kelsey’s arm and stop her from butting her way to the front of the line. Or the numerous times that I saw other children’s attempts foiled. When we first got to the Kiddie Land my children wanted to go on the Puff the Magic Dragon ride but the line was I felt too long for my girls. So my sister and her son got in the line, while my daughters and I got in a shorter line for a different ride. We rode the other ride three times while my nephew waited in line for Puff. After that I chose the rides with the shortest line. My children didn’t really care they were just happy to be riding rides.
Go with other adults. The nicest thing about going with my entire family was that there were other adults to watch my kids. This allowed my husband and I to ride a few adult rides on our own. Because, admit it parents, it is nice to be by yourself for a little while.
Take plenty of food and water. All the walking around and riding rides made my kids very hungry and thirsty. I was glad that we had brought a number of water bottles, which we filled up at the drinking fountain, instead of having to spend $3 on a bottled water or soda from the park. We also brought our own food in a cooler. This way the cost of food was substantially lower than buying from vendors within the park. We also brought a variety of non-melting snacks that we carried around with us. Things like crackers and licorice work great.
Use a stroller or wagon. We had brought three strollers for the three youngest children. But half way through the day my four-year-old wanted to ride in a stroller as well. There were teary eyes until my brother offered to carry his one-year-old (actually I offered 20 pounds is a lot easier to carry than 32) and allowed Alysta to ride.
Be there when it opens. We arrived at the park about ½ hour after it opened. We went to the water park first. There were few people there at the time and the lines were very short. We were especially happy about our decision when the water park had reached its capacity and people were waiting in line to get in.
Stay as long as your kids are happy. Originally I had planned on leaving at about 8:00pm. Since that is my children’s usual bedtime. But 8:00 came and went and my children were still having a great time. After each ride Kelsey would hold up one finger and say, “One more time.” I figured as long as they were happy that we would stay. Amusement parks aren’t cheap and I wanted to get my money’s worth. We didn’t end up leaving the park until 10:15pm. Of course my children fell asleep in the car on the way home.