Kevin won two season’s passes to Canada’s Wonderland at work a little while ago – lucky him (and me!). I wasn’t sure if a huge amusement park would be such a good place to bring a 10 month old, but I spoke to another mom about it last week who had just gone with her family and she assured me it was fun. Her biggest tip was to leave during his morning nap so he could sleep in the car, and to only plan on being there for 2-3 hours. Sounded good to me!
On Saturday, we took the 40 minute drive up. I checked out free parking before leaving and we scored a pretty sweet spot on one of the side streets. It saved us about $20 and was literally as close at a lot of parking lot spots. The City of Vaughan rule (where we parked at least) states there is a 3 hour limit, which worked for us. We also brought lots of snacks and water for Benjamin. Apparently you’re not allowed to bring in food or drinks (I didn’t know this), but they only checked my backpack (which had nothing) and Kevin cruised right on through with the stroller contents. In all honesty, if they had checked under the stroller and tried to take away Benjamin’s snacks/drinks, I would’ve caused a serious ruckus. I mean, as delicious as it is, I’m not feeding him funnel cake and hot dogs.
Once we had our season passes (kids under 3 are free by the way), we entered the park. Just as we were passing the mountain, the divers came out so we watched them jump off the mountain. Very impressive.
Then we went straight to KidzVille.
There were about 5 rides that Benjamin was allowed to go on and we went on 4 I think. He mostly seemed indifferent. The rides were super cute, but I think he wasn’t fazed because the “ride experience” at his age level is akin to being in a car, and for him it’s a case of been-there-done-that.
We also passed by a stage where Charlie Brown and his crew were putting on a show. Benjamin was entranced. He leaned forward, mouth ajar, eyes wide open for the 5 minutes of the show that we caught. Next time I want to make sure we catch a full show because I’m pretty sure this was his favourite part of the day.
About halfway through our trip, Benjamin let us know he wanted to be nursed… his cues are easy to read because subtlety is not his strong suit
I looked around for a shaded area as he gets very hot and sweaty even when he’s nursing in the AC at home. Just as I went to sit down, Kevin pointed out a family pit stop area, called Parents Rest Zone. It was pretty great! I’m not sure why I didn’t bother looking for one of those. I mean, we were in Kidsville. It would make sense that there would be an area to change, nurse/feed babies. The nursing station looked like a triage room at a hospital – picture two “rooms” created with curtain partitions. I didn’t mind though. They each had a wooden rocking chair, and Benjamin happily nursed. I’m always grateful when I can find a quiet place to nurse him because he gets so easily distracted these days. He’ll break his latch over the slightest noise or movement to see what’s going on around him.
We then made our way to the Water Park. I wasn’t sure what he would be allowed to do so I asked one of the supervisors. He said the kiddie pool was fine and there was a new water attraction at the other end of the water park that was geared toward the little kids. The kiddie pool was good though. Benjamin loves the water. I busted out one of my old swim suits (I only own bikinis), but after a bit on insecurity I also packed a fitted workout tank for a bit more coverage. Although I’m happy to say that once we got to the park, I felt fine just wearing my regular bikini top and bottom.
It ended up raining minutes after we finished up in the water, which was great timing. We were able to get out and into a change room with no line-up! People were running out of the pool in droves as we were leaving the water park, which had us a bit perplexed… I mean, you’re already wet, no? What’s a little rain?
My 7 tips for going to an amusement park with an infant:
- Check the forecast! It’s just not worth it to go if it’s going to rain or if there’s a heat alert. Babies have a harder time regulating their temperature and can get dehydrated very easily.
- Leave your house at the start of morning nap. Stay for 2-3 hours. Leave the park at the start of afternoon nap. But be open to leaving earlier if your baby seems tired. We arrived at 11am and left at 3pm. Benjamin slept from 8:30pm-5am that night, which was AMAZING! Any parent of a young baby will tell you that a good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold!
- Bring some baby snacks and lots of (frozen) water. We fed Benjamin right before we left so a container of Cheerios was sufficient for food. We brought a few bottles of water and his sippy straw cup. I froze 2-500mL bottles of water so that we’d have a nice steady stream of cool water.
- Bring your stroller! And maybe a stroller lock if you’ve got a nice one because you have to leave your stroller at the ride entrances. I took my backpack onto the rides, but we left the diaper bag in the bottom of the stroller without issue. We made sure to lock the wheels and put a carabineer around one of the wheels so that someone couldn’t just run off with our stroller. You’d have to remove the carabineer and unlock the wheels first. This didn’t make it steal-proof, but I basically just wanted our stroller to be a bit harder to steal than the others! It was very convenient to be able to put our belongings with the stroller (babies come with a lot of stuff…) so do yourself a solid and just bring it.
- Figure out parking before you leave. At Canada’s Wonderland, the parking prices are pretty crazy and the spots are FAR!! You have to arrive at or before the time the park opens to get a “close” spot. We arrived at 11am, parked across the street (for free) and walked 5 minutes to the front entrance. To us, it was totally worth it.
- If you're still nursing, bring whatever you need (a cover or blanket or nursing top) so that you can nurse comfortably in the open. We were lucky that there was an air conditioned private area to nurse, but I would’ve nursed him under a tree. I don’t have any issue nursing in public, but I don’t want to nurse in the hot sun!
- Bring your camera! I wasn’t sure if I should bring it, but I’m glad I did! I really wasn’t fussy about getting amazing photos, so I barely touched my settings. I just wanted better than phone quality photos, which is what I got (except for the water park one).