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How to Enjoy Theme Parks With a Baby

Many parents can't wait to take baby to his first amusement park adventure. Fairy princesses, dragons, bright colors and lights are one of the most wonderous things about childhood. Parents with older children don't want to deny the big kids just because a new baby joined the family. Surviving a theme park with a baby is possible, and the entire family can have a blast. Just stock up on a little good humor and patience and you're ready to go.

First, bring your own stroller. Baby is used to it, and so are you. Your own stroller likely has better padding, suspension and other features than the rentals offered at theme parks. Also, you will want your own stroller for shopping, going out to eat and other things you plan to do outside the theme park.

Choose a hotel close to the park so you can go back easily for nap time. This is a great time for older kids to enjoy the pool and for parents to get some rest and relaxation as well. If you have a stroller that reclines, baby can nap right in the stroller in the room. Most hotels provide cribs or roll away beds with bars as an alternative.

Most theme parks offer family bathrooms or have baby changing stations in both men's and women's bathrooms. Be sure to bring extra antibacterial wipes to clean the surface before laying your baby down on it. Carry some disposable changing pads, too, to protect your baby from existing germs and to prevent introducing new germs to the surface of the changing station.

Consider a hotel that offers babysitting services. It is a nice option for parents to have one night of the trip to themselves or to spend one afternoon riding rides with the older kids without having to wait with the baby stroller. A little break is good for the entire family.

Always bring your baby's favorite snacks and drinks along. Food at theme parks can be extremely expensive, and there is a chance your baby won't like it. Also, older kids tire quickly of having to stop the fun to attend to baby's needs. Having all the necessities tucked into the diaper bag under the stroller allows you to grab baby's needs while waiting for older children to ride the rides, and nobody has to stop the fun.

Some theme parks offer a service to parents of small children called "kid swap" or another similar name. With this option, one parent rides with the older children while the other stays with the baby in the stroller. After the ride, the parents swap places and usually the older kids get to ride twice - once with each of their parents. Ask at the gate if the theme park offers something like this.

Theme parks are supposed to be fun for the whole family! Having a baby doesn't have to prevent the family from enjoying adventurous vacations. It just takes a little more preparation and patience.