Nothing says summer like a trip to the amusement park. But a day of fun can quickly drain your wallet. A few tips and tricks can save you a bundle of money on your trip.
Buy a Pass
If you live near an amusement park and plan to go more than once, check into buying season passes. You can often get a pass for the cost of only a few admissions. Do the math to see if you’ll go enough to make it worth the price of a season pass.
You might also get other perks. At our local amusement park, you normally pay $10 to park. With a season pass, you park for free. You might also get discounts on other things. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy a pass. If you buy early, you may get early bird pricing.
Another perk of getting a season pass to the amusement park is that you don’t feel like you have to stay for the entire day. When you buy a single-day ticket, you want to get the most out of the cost. With a season pass, you can go for a few hours and then head home because you can go anytime you want. This can also help save money because you can avoid meal times.
Get Discount Tickets
If you won’t go enough to justify a season pass, look for discount ticket options. Sometimes local grocery stores offer discount coupons. Buying tickets in advance online can also save you a few dollars. Check with your local bank, credit union or school district. In our area, many of these places offer discounted tickets.
Save on Drinks
You need to stay hydrated on a hot day at the amusement park, but the drinks at the park are usually expensive. Most parks won’t let you bring in your own drinks. Instead, bring an empty reusable water bottle. Each time you come across a water fountain, fill up the bottle. If you want to buy drinks at the park, look for souvenir cups that might save you money. You can often refill the cups for much less than the cost of a drink the same size.
Watch the Food Budget
Like drinks, food can eat up a lot of your entertainment budget. One option is to pack a cooler with lunch in it and leave it in the car. Make sure you get your hand stamped when you leave the park so you can get back in. Find a shady spot in the parking lot and eat your picnic lunch.
If you choose to eat inside the park, scope out the options. You’ll often find that each concession stand offers different food choices. If the foods are offered a la carte, mix and match what you eat so you can share as a family. You might get one container of fries for everyone to share, for example.
The price of admission is only the beginning of what you can send. Amusement parks usually have an arcade or game area where you can spend a lot more money for the chance to win cheap stuffed animals or trinkets. Decide ahead of time if you will play any of these games. If not, let the kids know so they don’t beg at the park. Or give each child a set amount for spending money that they can use for things like games.
Take What You Need
Take your time packing for a day at the amusement park. Most parks have stores that sell convenience items — sunglasses, sunscreen, batteries. But you’ll pay a lot more for them at the amusement park. Check your bags to make sure you bring everything you need.