11 essentials for a day at a theme park
Let’s face it, packing a bag for a day trip can easily make you feel like you need a day off before you’ve even left the house. And why does it always seem to be the one thing your kids ask you for is the one thing you’ve forgotten?!
Going to a theme park is a different ball game altogether as it presents specific challenges that you’re going to have to deal with, from queuing for rides, to organising snacks, to keeping little people busy and happy on the journey, particularly on the way home.
We’ve gathered our top 13 things you’ll want to pack in your bag for a day at a theme park so that you can focus on the important things, like taking photos of happy faces and enjoying a few thrill seeking rides yourself.
1 Lots of small snacks
It may seem obvious but taking lots of small snacks will not only keep rumbly tummies at bay but can also keep your kids occupied whilst waiting for a ride. Things like raisins, bags of popcorn, crisps or dried fruit are ideal. However there are other options too, beyond the normal snack cupboard favourites, such as sliced fruit, pomegranate seeds, chunks of cheese, crudites and so on.
2 Mini first aid kit
We’re not talking anything more elaborate than plasters, antiseptic cream, blister plasters and perhaps some calpol sachets here. Just enough so that if your child has a tumble or scrape, you can quickly patch them up and minimise the disruption to your day. You may also want to pop in some adult painkillers in there too, in the event of an end of day headache (if you know, you know!). A small zlp lock bag will keep things dry and clean.
3 Easy to apply suncream
Even on a cloudy day, the sun can come out and surprise you and if you’re standing in a queue which has little shade, you’ll want to have some sun protection with you. The fact that you could be standing around a bit gives you lots of opportunity to reapply suncream to your kids. Don’t forget a make up brush to apply suncream to little faces as its easier for you and fun for them.
4 Sun hats or bandanas
It’s unlikely you’ll be wearing hats on rides but don’t let that put you off packing some nonetheless. If the weather is remotely sunny, and you’re outside all day, it is a good idea to wear a hat if you can. The excitement of where you are can easily distract from the elements, particularly on a sunny day, and keeping your kids safe should always be a priority. If it is a particularly hot day, carrying some cheap bandanas is a good ideas as you can soak them in cold water and place over necks or foreheads to cool the family down.
5 Drinks hacks
You’ll want your kids to drink frequently throughout the day and an easy way to do this is to make their drinks really appetising! This will depend on what your kids like, but putting fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or cut grapes in water could help, as could letting them have squash if it means they’re more likely to drink. You can bring sachets of squash with you in the event of needing to fill up your bottles on site.
Freeze your water bottles the night before and let them defrost during the day for cold water on demand, and don’t forget to bring drinks for yourself. A cheeky can of coke or lemonade can really perk up the parent experience, as can remembering to pop some wine or beers in the fridge before you leave the house!
6 Hand sanitiser and wet wipes
Even if your kids have been out of nappies for years, a bag of wet wipes can save the day, from sorting out sticky faces to wiping hands ready for lunch or a snack. It is always better to buy biodegradable wet wipes if you can and just make sure you don’t flush them down the loo! Hand sanitiser will also help keep germs at bay - if you think about how many different surfaces you touch at a theme park, it's worth including. Sanitiser that comes in spray form is particularly easy to apply on the go!
7 Thermos with hot dogs and pre cut rolls
Whether you fancy meat, veggie or vegan hot dogs, they’re a great lunch option to pack and even on a hot day can be a very welcome break from the good old sandwich. Bring a pack of rolls (pre sliced), some napkins and either pack a small ketchup or grab some sachets. Hot dogs can easily be £5 upwards each so it's a real saving to plan ahead. Just be careful when you open up your thermos as they do keep water rather toasty!
8 Mobile power bank
It is very likely that you’ll be using your phone more than you think, from taking photos and videos, to looking at a theme park map online or handing it over to small people to play games on in a queue. Even a fully charged phone can easily run out of power as the day wears on. Taking a charged up mobile power bank means you won’t be in that stressful situation of having less than 10% battery, and if you do need to revert to a downloaded episode of your kids favourite cartoon, you can do so calmly, knowing you’ll have plenty of power left.
9 Microfibre towel
Everyone knows THAT ride in a theme park where you get totally soaked, and despite ending up with soggy bums, it is always worth it. To help dry quickly without the need for a change of clothes, a microfibre towel could be just the ticket. They are super small, very lightweight and highly absorbent and can mop up more than you’d expect. They can also double up as blankets and picnic mats if you need them too.
10 Waterproof jacket and umbrellas
Ponchos are very popular at theme parks but if used once, aren’t a sustainable or eco friendly way to keep dry. Reusable ponchos are a great idea but can be both expensive if not worn often and kids do grow out of them. Taking a lightweight packaway waterproof jacket, we think, is the way to go, and bringing an umbrella for every two people means that if you’re caught in a storm, you can still do your thing, and even take advantage of smaller queues for rides, assuming that others are escaping the wet weather.
11 Collapsible coffee cup
This is one for the grown ups. Having a take away coffee at a theme park, only to realise it isn’t very nice can really rain on your parade, plus take away cups aren’t brilliant for the environment. On the flip side, having your favourite milk to coffee ratio, brewed to your spec and warm in your hand really can get the day off to the right start. A collapsible cup means it won’t take up valuable space when you’re finished and can be shoved easily at the bottom of the bag.