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On Amusement Parks: A Teen’s Confession

by Louise | August 3rd, 2011 | Helpful Hints, Teen Perspective

I doubt many kids will say no when presented with the idea of going to an amusement park. Actually, it’s every kid’s dream: roller coasters, fried dough, cotton candy, and the chance to win an enormous stuffed animal as a take-home prize. What could be better? I used to be the first kid to excitedly answer yes. However, if my parents asked me today if I wanted to go, their treat, I would say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” So what happened?

It all started three years ago. My friends and I decided that we wanted to celebrate the beginning of summer with a trip to Six Flags. We knew it would be costly, but it seemed like an appropriate time to splurge. We had a great day, and came home with a teddy bear and a plan: this would be an annual trip. The next year, we made the trip to Six Flags again, justifying the cost by having made cheap choices for prom night (e.g. borrowing a dress). This year, we debated getting season passes. We calculated that as a group it would only cost $5 extra per person to get a season pass; the deal seemed incredible, but luckily, we decided not to invest.

I say luckily, because after that visit we had suddenly had our fill of Six Flags. We had even gone to Hurricane Harbor, the water park, for the first time, but it was still too much of the same: waiting in long lines for short rides. A season pass only sounds like a good deal if you forget that the bulk of the cost of the trip comes not from the entry fee, but from all the extras: overpriced food, lockers, mini-games, the standard $20 parking fee, and the cost of driving there (gas/tolls). Even with a season pass, it’s an expensive trip every time.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like Six Flags. If I lived next door to the park, I would buy the season pass and visit the park frequently. I would go in the mornings when the lines were short and wouldn’t have to pay for parking. I could eat at home, before or afterwards. Then, I could still make the decision to buy the food at the park, if I was so inclined, instead of being forced to do so with an empty stomach and no other options. However, I don’t live next door, and not many people do.

The suggestion: offer a trip to the amusement park (especially if your child has never gone before), but also offer an alternative with the same budget; I bet you can come up with something that is more fun and does a better job targeting your family’s interests.

  1. Michele says:

    I love the idea of offering kids a choice of another activity with the same budget! I would think you probably could offer to do more things over a couple days if you decided to spend the same amount. Seems like a great choice to provide.

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