I grew up going to Dutch Wonderland with my aunts and uncles. So I couldn’t wait to start the tradition with my own kids. Even though I’ve been to the park many times before and took our oldest son last year, I prepared for our trip by visiting the park website beforehand to check out the park information section and make the most of our visit.
Since we have a 2-year-old who likes to run off we found these pointers interesting:
- You can request a Lost Parent bracelet, free of charge, at Guest Services. If you get separated from your child, your telephone number is written on the inside of your child’s bracelet so that park staff can call you if you need to be reunited with your kids.
- Dutch Wonderland also offers Kidspotter watches. This is a GPS service that allows staff to locate your child if they become lost. The cost is $5 for the day ($10 up front, but $5 is given back to you when the watch is returned). (“WOW” from Jenn)
I also discovered that Dutch Wonderland offers a nursing mother’s station. It’s located inside the park gates, between the Wonderland Special Train Station and Junction Rental. Inside you’ll find a changing table, rocking chair, and small chair for a sibling. There’s also an outlet, if you’re in there to pump instead of nurse, and plenty of room to push the stroller right in. I also noticed that at all the changing tables we used in the nursing mother station and restrooms were clean and fully stocked with disposable covers.
If you know your child’s height, you can even plan for what rides to check out and map your route before your big day at the park. Our meltdown window is really short with a 2-year-old, but we were still able to ride a lot of what we wanted to before lunch. I was especially excited that my son was tall enough for the Joust Family Coaster- the smaller of Dutch Wonderland’s two roller coasters. It was so fun to watch his face on the Frog Hopper and Huck Finn’s Leapin’ Frogs, two rides we were too short for last season. Since the day was overcast and looked like rain, we still haven’t checked out Duke’s Lagoon or the water slides, but that will give us something new to look forward to next year.
Some tips from our family to yours for exploring Dutch Wonderland
- Food and beverages are not allowed in the park. Pack light and bag check will go smoothly.
- Pavilions are available outside of the park and we saw many families, including ours, take advantage of them for a picnic lunch.
- Healthy options, and plenty of food and beverages are also available throughout the park. An ingredient list is available on the Dutch Wonderland website here for guests with food allergies. Gluten free options are also available at Merlin’s restaurant.
- Tailor your expectations to your kids’ usual schedule and know when you can stretch it a little to allow for some extra fun. We have small kids (under 3), so we have yet to spend a full day or do everything in one trip. However, we felt that we got a lot out of the time we were there. If we were staying for the weekend, we would have headed back to the hotel for a nap after lunch and re-entered the park later. Since we were there for the day and the baby wouldn’t nap in the stroller, we drove around the outlets while the kids took a small snooze and took turns running into our favorite stores.
- On the day we went, lines were longer in the afternoon, so we were glad we took advantage of the short morning lines to ride our favorites multiple times.
- Bring some quarters, there are places throughout the park you can buy food for the ducks.
- General parking is free, but preferred parking closer to the castle gate is available for $10.
- There are designated areas for smoking throughout the park to keep the air clean for guests.
Dutch Wonderland truly is a Kingdom for Kids and is a perfect first amusement park. We’ve been to the park twice while our kids are Free (under 3) and had plenty to keep us busy. In addition to the many rides, there are shows and plenty of photo opportunities and play areas throughout the park.
Here are a few to look for on your next visit:
- Dutch Wonderland Soft Pretzel
- Cow that kids can “milk”
- Horse and Buggy
- Pony Rides (for an additional fee)
- Panning for gems (for an additional fee)
- School House with a bell that kids can ring. Inside is a giant chalk board with chalk and erasers for kids to draw.
- Nature Path with Environmental facts and tips along the way.
- Photo Scavenger Hunt using the Lavahound App for your smartphone.
- Check your Park Map for a schedule of story times and diving shows.
- Several animations inside glass cases telling a story. (Gingerbread, Carpenters, and Quilters)
- Bunnies and Chicks
- Carnival games, caricatures, and face painting (additional fee)
Visit our Facebook album to see more pictures from our time at Dutch Wonderland.