Prepare for Motion Sickness
If you suffer from dizzy spells or motion sickness, choose your rides wisely. Don’t succumb to peer pressure if your group pulls an “everybody’s doing it” moment. Ninety seconds on the Spin-ORama isn’t worth missing out on the rest of your day. Simulator and 3D rides can wreak havoc with your head and stomach, too. Pack Gravol to be on the safe side.
Have Happy Feet
It’s probably not the best time to break in new shoes. Go for your most comfortable footwear, fi t for hours upon hours of walking. Running shoes are best, but dependable sandals with straps can also do the trick. As a back-up plan, be sure to pack bandages.
Pack Your Bags
Lockers are available at most parks, so don’t worry about packing lightly – come prepared! Bring extra clothing, socks, towels, bathing suits, diapers (swim diapers for water park fun), a small first-aid kit and any other necessities. Check the park rules ahead of time to see if you can bring in your own food, or plan to return to the car to picnic.
Make a Plan In Case Someone Gets Lost
When you first get through the gates, pick a park landmark as a meeting place if you get split up. Be specific about the location and be sure your whole group is aware of the plan. Dress in the same, brightly coloured shirts. Sure, older kids might think it’s lame, but it’s a great way to spot your family members in a crowd. Prepare small children with information in case they are separated from you. Show them who they can turn to if lost (park employees, security). Have them memorize your cell phone or emergency number. For younger kids, put vital info on a luggage tag and clip it to their belt loop.
Keep Your Cool
With all the excitement of running from ride to ride, don’t get overheated. Keep a bottle of water close at hand and take breaks in the shade when you can. Balance your outdoor fun with indoor attractions. Rest and drink plenty of fluids at the first signs of heat exhaustion: dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea or muscle cramps.
Practice Sun Safety
Just because you aren’t lying on a beach doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried about sunburn. Apply sunscreen as soon as you get to the park; don’t wait until midday when it’s warmer. Reapply several times through the day, especially if you are sweating or partake in water rides. Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses and, for the little ones, clothing with UV protection.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, June/July 2014.