Ways To Save Money At The Park

Ways to Save Money At the Park banner

This past weekend we went to Water Wizz, a water park in the Cape.  It was a ton of fun since a big group of us went this year.  Faith had friends to run around wtih including my niece and nephew and Mark and I had grown up friends to hang out with.  Due to my dad's frugalness and prepping for family trips as a kid, I approach family outings in much the same way.  Below are my list of tips for saving money at the park - whether it's Disney World, Water Wizz, or Storyland.

Amusement Park Money Savers List

1. Check for Discounted Tickets

Water Wizz offers discounted tickets a few times per year.  On Black Friday, you can buy their general admission tickets for half off, which is a great deal.  For me, Mark, Faith, and Dean, we spent $94 on tickets and Dean was free since he's under 2!  Saving $37 is a great deal - the only disadvantage to these specials - you have to pick a date.  Another cost saving site to check out is Groupon.  Right now you can buy tickets to Six Flags for 38% off and tickets at 25% discount for Water Country in NH.

2. Bring your own food & water

When we were younger, my dad was a health nut.  It was really important to him that we ate healthy and had plenty of fruits & veggies.  If we were going to the beach, my dad would make sandwiches and pack chips, apples, and cut up fruit as snacks.  He would never condone buying fried food at the food stand.  He did ocassionally splurge and buy us an ice cream cone, which for me, always beat out french fries.

Big hits at the park this weekend:  Uncrustables, Individual Cheez-Its snack bags, & Hostess mini muffins .  The Uncrustables were a genius idea on my husband's part since we didn't need to take time and make individual sandwiches.  However, neither of our kids liked them very much, but somehow all 6 were eaten.  If they could make peanut butter & fluff ones, we'd be in business.  I did discover they make one with a hazelnut spread - sounds so, so good!  In addition to water bottles, I brought the kids sippy cups, a bottle full of whole milk for Dean and our snack catchers (one of my go to items I talked about in this post).

3. Bring light transportation for the kiddos

We have an UPPAbaby G-Lite, which we bought randomly one day in Boston on an unplanned trip with the kiddos when Dean was only a few months old.

UPPAbaby G-Lite stroller
Image via UPPAbaby

This stroller is compact, light, and great for day long trips.  We brought the stroller in hopes that we could get Dean to take an afternoon nap in it rather than hauling the pack 'n' play to the park.  It didn't end up working out, but it makes carrying everything into the park that much easier.  Things I love about the stroller - the cup holder, extended sunshade, and the back strap.  You can put a large bag on the back of the stroller that won't fit in the underneath basket, feed the strap through the bag handles and hook it to the bottom.

The amount of use we get out of this stroller is unbelievable and it's our own.  Much better alternative to renting a stroller at an amusement park.

4. Bring extra accessories to avoid park rentals

 At Water Wizz, kids need to wear a life jacket if they are under 48" tall.  Rather than spend money on a rental, why not bring your own.  I found this one by Speedo at +T.J.Maxx last year on clearance for $10.  I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of it and even not on sale, it's $20.  You can't go wrong.

The other thing I didn't think of but would have been useful were camp chairs.  We rented a cabana for the day, which provides you with three lawn chairs and one chaise lounge.  Due to our numbers, we always had people standing around.  But, if you were at a park and didn't get there early and scope out a spot, the chairs would be worth their weight in gold.

What do you bring with you when you head out with the fam?  Do you believe in a lot of prep or do you wing it?  Will going out with the kids get easier when their older (fingers crossed that people respond YES in the comments below)?

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