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How to save money while at an amusement park

How you can visit an amusement park on a budget
How you can visit an amusement park on a budget Photos by Pamela Maxwell

Now that May is here, it is time for amusement parks to open for business. While they can be a lot of fun to go to, they can also be very expensive, especially if you have a larger family.

There are ways though, that you can still take your family for a day of fun at an amusement park, and not break the bank.

Saving on Park Admission
Saving on Park Admission Photos by Pamela Maxwell

Saving on Park Admission

One of the biggest expenses of taking your family to an amusement is the price of admission.  You can save a lot of money by buying your tickets before going to the park. If you wait to buy at the gate you will be paying the highest price.  Amusement parks such as Cedar Point and Six Flags offer discounted prices up to $20 off a ticket when bought  online. For a family of four, buying online can save $80 just on admission.  Another place you can find discounted tickets are at stores such as Meijer.  They sell tickets in store,  that are $10 off  the admission price.  If you do a little searching, you can also find coupons off the price of admission in the Sunday newspaper coupon flyers,  and in travel coupon booklets.

Consider staying near the park
Consider staying near the park Photo by Pamela Maxwell

Consider staying near the park

Another way to save big on admission is to consider staying at a hotel near the park. Many hotels have ticket packages with big savings, and also offer special perks such as early admission.  Even some of the cheaper hotels that are nearby offer the ticket discounts.  Check the amusement parks' websites to find out more about what lodging is available.  Bring your own snacks from home to save money during the trip, and to make less trips to the vending machines while at the hotel. 

Picnic in the Park
Picnic in the Park Photo by Pamela Maxwell

Picnic in the Park

The next biggest expense to the price of admission, is the price of food.  The cost of a meal in the park is enough to give almost anyone sticker shock.  One way to save on money on food  is to stop and eat a meal before going to the park. You can fill up for less than half the cost, and you can skip the long food lines once inside..  While you are not able to bring your own food inside the park, Cedar Point has a picnic pavilion near the front gate where you can bring your own meals in a cooler.  During the day you are able to leave the park to go to the pavilion, and be readmitted with a hand stamp. 

Eating in the park
Eating in the park Photo by Pamela Maxwell

Eating in the park

If you do decide to eat in the park, some meals are big enough to split between two people. This is especially good to do if you have kids who do not eat a lot, or who are picky.  Six Flags also offers family pizza meals where you get a large pizza, breadsticks, and drinks for one price. A family meal is cheaper than ordering a la carte. 

Consider a season pass
Consider a season pass Photo by Pamela Maxwell

Consider a season pass

If you live close to an amusement park  and plan on going more than once, you might consider getting a season pass.   A season pass will give you  unlimited visits to the park for just one price.  Cedar Point even offers payment plans where you can pay off your season pass for only $20 a month.   Both Cedar Point and Six Flags also offer a meal season pass. If you have a meal pass you get a lunch and dinner at every visit. This will be big savings if you plan to go often.  Cedar Point also offers an All Day Dining Pass where you can eat an entree and side as often as every 90 minutes at select restaurants for $29.99.  If  you eat a lot or love amusement park food, this could potentially save a lot of money.  

One last savings tip is to buy only small inexpensive souvenirs, or skip them all together. Remember your trip to the park  by taking lots of photos and making memories.  With a little planning, and smart strategies, it is possible to go to an amusement park and save money at the same time.