It’s no secret that my husband, Paul, does a great deal of the grunt work when taking our family on trips and outings. While we usually “divide and conquer” our tasks, he doesn’t get enough credit for all he does. There are several guides on the internet for visiting an amusement park, but few from a dad’s point of view. This is why I went straight to the source for writing A Dad’s Guide to Holiday World.
So I’d like to introduce Paul – a seasoned, minivan-driving, dad-joking, cargo shorts and dad-hat wearing, father and stepfather of four. Here are a few of his tips.
Work smarter not harder.
Going to a theme park with the family is always a blast, but it’s also going to include some work. Such as packing for the trip, loading and unloading the vehicle, planning, etc. Don’t make it harder on you or anyone else. Work smarter from the beginning with these tips to guarantee the best fun with your family, the least amount of stress, and the most minimal amount of ibuprofen.
Prepare with the appropriate attire.
Having a good hat, sunglasses, comfortable clothing, and backpack is essential. Skip the skinny jeans and polos, and opt for shorts and loose-fit clothing. Wear comfortable shoes for walking and/or water shoes for the waterpark. If you have younger children, you’ll want to bring a stroller or wagon (or rent one at the park). Ponchos and lanyards are a great idea for the entire family. In case of rain, and if you are a season pass holder the lanyards minimize the risk of a lost pass.
Prioritize the essentials.
Whether you’re going for just a day or the entire week, make sure you have the essentials handy. We’ve experienced a flat tire in the parking lot, motion sickness, driving for hours with stinky teenagers, and even getting lost without a cell phone signal when traveling to Holiday World. These are things that you can be easily prepared for by keeping a few essentials in your vehicle.
- Car emergency kit (tire gauge, jumper cables, spare tire and jack, flashlight, etc.)
- Insurance information (auto and health)
- Beach towels (for Splashin’ Safari)
- Cell phone battery charger
- Road atlas (for travel areas without a GPS signal)
- Car air fresheners (after a long day at the park, you’ll want these)
- An extra change of clothing for everyone
Assess and plan.
Before arriving, check the park hours and weather to plan accordingly. When you arrive at the park, grab a map and check for ride closures. Locate the First Aid station, sunscreen stations, free Oasis drink locations, and bathrooms. These are essential dad locations. The family will ask where these are throughout the day. There are five Family Restroom locations in Holiday World and three in Splashin’ SAFARI.
Make a plan of where to go first, get the younger kids’ height wristbands at the Height Measurement Station (located at the entrance of each park), and have everyone lather up with sunscreen before heading to the attractions.
For the older kids who are too cool to hang out with their dad, plan designated check-in times and locations. Teens ages 14 and up can visit the park without parental supervision.
Rest when you can.
There’s no reason to wear your feet (or back) out. Enjoy every opportunity to take a quick break and sit down. By the end of the day, your body will thank you.
If you’re overheating, the kids are too. Encourage indoor things when you’re getting too hot. It might be the perfect time to grab a drink or food at an indoor restaurant or check out a shop.
Take advantage of Holiday World’s parent benefits.
A few of the amazing benefits include these perks:
- Stroller and wagon rentals are affordable and easier than bringing your own to the park.
- Locker rentals are available and also an affordable way to avoid carrying around your stuff all day.
- Splashin’ SAFARI offers free U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket rentals in sizes for kids, youth, and adults. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at all three wave pools.
- The “Parent Swap” option is beneficial if both parents want to ride and can’t at the same time. Parents can swap waiting in line without waiting multiple times in line while the other rides.
- Free Phone Find wristbands are an added layer of safety for younger kids. The Holiday World map shows multiple locations where you can get free wristbands for your children. There’s a place to put your cell phone number on the wristbands for children to wear in case they wander off. Park staff are trained to use the wristbands to contact parents.
- Free Package Pickup service is available for up to two hours before the park closes. Anything you purchase can be picked up later at Holiday World Services so that you don’t have to carry your packages around the park.
Have a few jokes up your sleeve.
“What do you call a kid who doesn’t believe in Santa?”
A rebel without a Claus.
Nothing makes a trip to Holiday World with dad more complete than a few dad jokes. Whether you are helping the kids patiently wait in line for a ride or road tripping to the park, a little bit of fun and humor will go a long way.
Bring a festive spirit.
Holiday World brings out the kid in every adult. Take a picture with Santa, sing along to the Christmas music, feast on a Thanksgiving meal in July, and go on a thrill ride. Have fun being a big kid, with the kids.
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