How to Plan a Fun Family Outing at a Waterpark

water park

water park

A trip to a waterpark – especially a big one with many attractions – is an all-day event. While it may be a day for fun and relaxation, perhaps you should not have a take-it-as-it-comes attitude by leaving everything to chance. Any day out is usually better when you plan things before you go. This doesn’t mean you have to be too strict and regimented; that could easily put a damper on the fun! But, the entire family will get the most out of the day if you lay down a basic plan. 

It’s not necessary to run the entire outing like a sergeant major. But a good plan, executed in a fun and relaxed way, will not only make the kids far more appreciative of their waterpark visit, but it will also ensure that all of you get more for the price of admission. So, the next time you decide to treat the kids to a day at the waterpark, it would be worth taking note of the following 6 tips and putting together an agenda. 

Check the Opening and Closing Times

Start off by visiting the park’s website and checking their opening and closing times. You also need to take the season and the size of the park into account. If it’s peak season at a very popular park, and you’re going have to stand in a queue at the ticket booth as well as waiting for 15 minutes or more at each of the main rides, it’s best to get there before opening. If it’s offseason and you can virtually walk straight through the gate, then you don’t need to rush too much. But, obviously, you and the kids will still want as much as time as possible to enjoy the facilities, so don’t leave it too late. 

When it comes to the size of the park, think about the overall area, as well as the number of attractions. A larger park simply needs more time. Smaller parks mean you can pace yourselves a bit more, take more time and have more repeat rides. 

Familiarize Yourself with the Layout and Main Features of the Park Beforehand

Most parks’ websites will list their attractions, as well as brief descriptions to entice visitors. Some may even include a map of the park, which is a big bonus. Peruse these carefully and think about which ones would enthuse your family more. In fact, go through them with the kids and have them tell you which ones they’re really excited about. 

You may also want to take note of the safety advice and warnings. The park might have the highest slide in the world, for example, but strictly forbid children under a certain age from riding it. Rather than disappointing the children on the day, make it clear to them which rides they will be able to go on and which ones they will have to avoid. You can then also plan which family members will be able to go on which rides. Older siblings can be trusted to manage their own park experiences, being permitted to ride whichever slides they choose. Younger ones will need to be watched and escorted to the rides that are safe for them. This can be planned without spoiling anyone’s fun. Adults might be content to accompany the younger kids to their rides, or you may have to have the older children take turns, switching between looking after their younger siblings or cousins and going on the wilder rides when their turn comes. 

It also helps to get a good general idea of the location of everything. And then plan the family’s movements, especially with a really large park. Maybe you want to start at the gate and then move towards the back of the park or vice versa. Then again, you might want to plan the rides from the smallest/tamest to the largest/wildest. You know what approach would suit you better, just be sure to familiarize yourself with the layout before you go.

Check the Park’s Rules and Regulations Before You Go

Don’t show up at the park without having first found out about all the age/height restrictions that apply. They may also have restrictions with regard to what you’re allowed to take into the park with you. There may even be certain areas that are restricted for particular reasons. Maybe there are limitations on the number of times you can go on certain popular rides during peak season. Know all this a day or so in advance, and make sure the entire family is suitably briefed. 

Set Up a Meeting Point

When you get to the park, the family is likely to split up. First, make sure that none of the children go off on their own – assign groups and a buddy system. Then also decide on a meeting point and tell everyone to be back there at a certain time. If you are spending the entire day at the park, it might be worth setting more than one meeting, perhaps one for lunch and a second at the end of the day when it’s time to go home. Decide on a spot that’s easy to locate and remember. Then set the meeting times. There should be clocks all around the park for those who don’t have watches.

Schedule Refreshment Breaks

Speaking of meeting times, set one or more aside for refreshments. The kids are likely to forget to eat or drink while on the rides, so enforce refreshment times when they can at least get a drink of water and touch up their sunblock (if you are at an outdoor waterpark). Have them come back to the meeting point at specific times and have the older siblings or cousins take responsibility for getting the younger ones there at the appointed times. Don’t let this slip. It’s very possible that the kids may not want to eat much but, at the very least, make sure to keep them hydrated. Even if getting them back to the meeting point is going to be too difficult, let adults or older children carry water with them, accessible to all members of the family. 

Make Sure You Pack Everything You Need

Aside from anything else (especially the obvious items like swimsuits and towels), take these six essential items along. They are guaranteed to come in handy and you will miss them if you don’t have them.

Waterproof Storage: 

You will need a wet/dry bag to store clothes and other items, as well as water-resistant pouches for cell phones, cameras, and other electronics.


Spending a lot of time in the water can cause complications for your ears. Make sure the whole family has a set of earplugs that will stay put. Silicone plugs are the best, as they are flexible and don’t fall out.


If you’re going to an outdoor waterpark or an indoor one with a retractable roof, this is essential. Use the highest SPF you can find and make sure that everyone reapplies often.

Water Shoes: 

These protect your feet on surfaces that are slippery and prone to contamination by bacteria and fungi. They’re not only clean, lightweight, and comfortable, but they also dry quickly.

Water Bottle: 

We have touched on these already. But, we can’t stress it enough. Whatever you do, make sure everyone is properly hydrated. Bring along several bottles and fill them regularly, ensuring that everyone gets a regular drink.

Waterproof Digital Camera: 

Finally, don’t forget to capture the moments. Most people use their cellphones. Yet, not all of these devices are up to the task under the wet conditions of a waterpark. Rather, get a small, inexpensive waterproof camera and grab those memories wherever they arise.

OpenAire specializes in the kind of enclosures – complete with retractable roof systems – that are needed to enclose a waterpark. Our aquatic portfolio includes multifaceted projects that we have undertaken for municipal pools, waterparks, private residences, and retirement communities across North America, all with differing requirements. We have built enclosures for many of the country’s finest waterparks, helping turn them into year-round attractions. These include Epic Waters, Zehnder’s Splash Village, Pirate’s Cay, Cape Codder, and Water-Zoo Indoor Waterpark. Our work has even reached as far as Moscow, Russia, where we designed and constructed an enclosure for the Luzhniki Aquapark. 

Many swimming pools have made use of our enclosures to expand their amenities. For example, Pocahontas Aquatic Center in Randolph County, AR, added new pools and a waterpark to its indoor/outdoor facility. Clarksville Aquatic Center in Clarksville, AR, added competitive swim and scuba training to their offerings. Allan Witt Aquatics Complex in Fairfield, CA, was once a disused pool building, but now hosts competitive swimming tournaments and even has a separate children’s pool. 

Many YMCAs have also benefited from adding a retractable roof enclosure, and have seen a marked increase in their membership as a result. Some other successful projects include: 

  • The Woodruff Family YMCA in Milford, CT;
  • The Copley-Price Family YMCA & Mission Valley YMCA in San Diego, CA; and 
  • Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas, CA. 

Take a look at our extensive aquatic portfolio to see all of our completed and in-progress projects. Please feel free to contact us for more information.