As I mentioned when we first met, I love getting out and about to explore the Northeast Ohio region with my son. And while sometimes I can be ambitious in where I undertake to go with him, I’ve learned some great tips and tricks on how to maximize fun and minimize stress on these outings. So, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) in an ongoing series of “On the Town Survival Guide” posts.
My first On the Town Survival Guide location is Cedar Point, as the park celebrates opening weekend May 6-7.
This amazing amusement park draws visitors from around the country and the world and it’s basically right in our backyard. And while it can seem daunting to go with a toddler, I can assure you we’ve made wonderful memories there. In fact, this will be our third summer having Cedar Point season passes for our family!
So, how do you make the most of a Cedar Point trip with your littles? First, timing. Jeffrey naps and, in order to maximize everyone’s enjoyment, I like to preserve naptime as much as I can. And he’s not the child who will simply conk out in the stroller while walking through the park. So, we’ve found two timing options that work well: Arriving at the park right when it opens and staying until naptime or letting him nap in the car on the way to the park, then staying until bedtime. The after-nap option maximizes time and, once the days are longer and warmer, staying until later in the evening is quite pleasant.
Next, know your child’s fun preferences and prioritize. Do they love rides? Splashing in the water? Animals? Dinosaurs? Shows? There’s a lot to do at Cedar Point, even for the younger guests. You probably won’t get to everything, unless you stay for multiple days (or have a season pass and even then, I still think we have things on our to-do list).
If your child is a ride warrior, there’s the Kiddie Kingdom in the front of the park and Camp Snoopy in Frontierland. I’ve found Kiddie Kingdom to be better for the smallest kids, while Camp Snoopy’s rides tend to have a 36-inches height requirement. Kiddie Kingdom is also near the arcade, so you can play a little skeeball or video games if you need a break from the sun or encounter inclement weather. Gaming out your walk through the park to get you to your ideal locations faster is always a good idea! And leave time for them to gawk at the rides they’re dreaming of riding when they get bigger! See a full list of kids rides here and family rides here.
Cedar Point Shores is the newly-renovated water park that opens this season. This park has a separate admission from the main park, so if you’re not a season pass holder or staying a full day or multiple days, you’re best served choosing between water slides and rides. As season pass holders who can switch between parks, we will often start the afternoon at Cedar Point Shores and then end in the main park.
Beyond rides and water play, we’ve found Dinosaurs Alive! to be a favorite stop, with large animatronic dinosaurs and a dinosaur dig pit. There are lots of family-friendly shows, as well as petting zoo, too!
Phew! You’re probably hungry by now. Sure, there are plenty of stands and park food around, from burgers to hot dogs to chicken fingers. I’m very excited about the brand-new Melt Bar & Grilled that opens this season in the former Joe Cool Café space in Kiddie Kingdom. Grilled cheese is a food group for Jeffrey, so you know where we’ll be! There are also two Cedar Point restaurant options that are go-to’s for us: Famous Dave’s at the Marina and TGI Friday’s at Hotel Breakers. Both give you a little respite from the park and, honestly, a better and more relaxed dining experience, while still being kid-friendly in service and menu.
Make sure you pack sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, any clothes changes needed if doing the water park, and then strap in for a fun day!
It can be a big undertaking, but we’ve had so much fun at Cedar Point and can’t wait to get back again this season. The biggest thing is knowing that it’s not only doable with a toddler, but really enjoyable for everyone! Have you gone to Cedar Point with your kids? What are your survival tips?
From Cleveland that I love,