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Make the Most of an Amusement Park

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Amusement Park Amusement Park Children

An amusement park can be for everyone – with a little forethought and advance planning. Make the most of your day - and your children's - with some simple tips designed to maximise everyone's enjoyment. It doesn't matter if your children are toddlers or teens, they will all love this special day out.

Break It Up

Different tastes, stomach capacities and height restrictions mean that some family members will want to go on vomit-inducing rides, while others will prefer to sit back and watch. If two parents are going, hopefully one will have a strong stomach. If not, invite an adult friend along who does.

Break up your party into two groups – young and old, or sick-inclined and stationary. Plan to meet at a specific time for lunch, then spend the rest of the afternoon together. This will ensure that everyone gets the adrenaline fix they crave – while you stay sane.

Toddler Fun

Little ones will love the little rides, although sometimes they will prefer a playground with swings and slides, if there is one. Don't try to schedule in too much – you would be surprised how happy a toddler can be with just a few rides and an ice cream.

If there are animals to visit or other fun things to admire, so much the better. And many parks these days have mazes, indoor fun houses or hand-on activity centres to keep little people happy. Finally, don't forget that nap in the buggy...

If all your children are young, it might make sense to visit a kiddie park instead of a big one, which will be themed and offer easier rides as well as other activities. Cheaper, too...

Water Time

If there is a water park on site, it's best to go at the end of the day. Swimming can tire out even the most energetic of youngsters, and it's no fun going on rides all wet and cold.

If you do plan on swimming, make sure you bring suncream, swim nappies, shampoo etc along with your swimming costumes. There's nothing worse for a child than seeing an inviting pool on a boiling hot day, then realising you left all the kit at home...

Time for a Rest

When the going gets rough, the tough need a rest. If your kids are showing signs of fatigue, it's time for some quiet time. Either grab a bite to eat or participate in a relaxing activity that won't stress them out, either physically or mentally.

Many amusement parks these days have shows and films which will give children a bit of a respite from the ride frenzy. Whether it's cowboy jazz, a Disney play or mice on ice, it will give both minds and bodies a much-needed rest and chance to recharge their batteries so they can take in more fun later in the day!

Top Tips

  • Get a park map and plot your advance. Find out what everybody in your party wants to do so that nobody feels left out. Schedule in time for lunch and other breaks.
  • It's best to arrive either early in the morning or later in the afternoon if you want to avoid queues. If you plan to be there all day, go on the rides with the longest queues first while you still have the energy.
  • If possible, go on kiddie rides in the evening when there are virtually no queues.
  • If you are planning to stay in a hotel nearby, check if you can walk to the park or if they provide a shuttle service.
  • Toddlers, even those with lots of energy, will do well with a buggy. If they don't use it much, you can use it to carry food, excess clothing etc. Ask if the park offers buggies for hire or if you need to bring your own.
  • Budget carefully, and to avoid overspending, set a limit on expenditures. Bringing your own food will greatly cut down the expense, buy an ice cream and cheap souvenir instead of an entire meal.
  • Be comfy. Wear the right shoes, bring suncream, changes of clothing if warranted, and wear clothes for the right temperature.
  • Arrange a special meeting place in case someone gets lost, and tell your children in advance what to do in the event of being separated from everyone else.
In a recent poll, 39 percent of children aged seven – ten said that visiting an amusement park was top on their list of summer activities. Make your day out one to remember by planning ahead, breaking up into groups to allow everyone to make the most of the day, and scheduling loads of rest breaks. You know you can do it...

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