There's some disagreement among parents about the appropriate age to take kids to theme parks. Some feel it's better to wait so children will remember and not sleep through the experience, while others believe age doesn't matter.
My take? It's all about knowing your child.
My husband and I decided to book a trip to Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa. When I mentioned our plans to a few friends, many felt our 16-month-old was too young and wouldn't enjoy it. Despite their thoughts, we went and it was a blast.
We knew going into the trip that Maggie was too small for many of the rides, and that was OK because we knew there would be many aspects she'd love. Here are some things to think about before taking young kids to theme parks:
1. Know your child. My daughter is fearless right now. She isn't afraid of large characters and she's enjoyed rides at local festivals. Be sure to sign up for the private dining with the characters -- you can meet them while you eat, rather than stand on long lines outside.
2. Make a plan. While there were many rides we knew she was too young for, there were many other things to do. For example, at 3 p.m. there was a street parade with music featuring "Sesame Street" characters. There were also plenty of shows scheduled throughout the day, such as Elmo Live, which were not only fun but also provided a much-needed break from the heat.
3. Splurge a little. Because my daughter is still napping I wanted to make sure we had an area where she could sleep. Sesame Place offers cabanas that you can rent for the day, with room for six people, a refrigerator, a locked drawer, water bottles and keepsake towels. The daily rate is about $230, which is expensive, but so worth it. She napped while we relaxed.
What have been your experiences with your kids? Any tips (or horror stories) to share? Tell us in the comments, below.