Many parents are finding that with a little bit of care and planning, fun and safety can go hand in hand when they visit a theme park with their children.
“Parents and guardians can provide great examples for children of all ages,” said Charlie Bray, President and CEO of International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). “As these adults exhibit safe behavior in a fun way, children will also find motivation to practice safe habits at every theme park, water park, museum and other attractions they visit.”
Here are some tips on how families can join the parks and attractions industry as “partners in safety” from a Web site called www.ticketforfun.com. The site offers consumers a comprehensive online directory of attractions, amusement industry news, safety tips and more:
• Upon arriving at the park, designate a place to meet immediately if anyone gets separated from your party. Also, use the buddy system so no one in your party is left alone.
• Observe all posted rules and follow the verbal instructions given by ride operators or by lifeguards.
• Obey the signs. Abide by listed age, height, weight and health restrictions. Pay special attention to experience-level guidelines for water park rides as well.
• Parents with young children need to make sure the ride can be enjoyed safely and children under-stand safe and appropriate ride behavior.
• Apply waterproof sunscreen before leaving home (reapply throughout the day) and drink plenty of fluids, avoiding beverages that are heavily sweetened or that have caffeine.
• When visiting a water park, make sure nonswimmers and weak swimmers have a life vest. Bring your own if you are unsure of availability and fit.
• It is always beneficial to call the facility or visit their Web site in advance to familiarize yourself with their procedures and regulations.
IAAPA reports that this year a number of new and innovative attractions are scheduled to debut around the country. Families can go to www.ticketforfun.com’s directory to connect to some attractions with online ticketing or a reservation system.
Some of the new parks and attractions include the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark-an indoor waterpark in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and the Georgia Aquarium-the world’s largest aquarium, located in Atlanta, Georgia.
In addition, the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark-the world’s only “convertible water-park” offering indoor and outdoor experiences in Galveston Island, Texas-will also open this year.
New rides families may want to put on their to-do list include The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana; Survivor the Ride at Paramount’s Great America in San Francisco, California; Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida; and Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Some destinations are also introducing new family-oriented shows and park areas, such as the “Believe” Whale Show at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, California; The Grand Exposition at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri; Pirate Shores at Legoland in Carlsbad, California; and Pirates 4-D at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.