As a lifelong Northlander, summer visits to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun were part of growing up. I remember big groups of girls going together with one or two brave moms chaperoning. Or cousins were in town, so we all headed for a fun family day at the park. Those were some fond memories that I want to share with my kids and continue the tradition. We’ve been to Worlds of Fun a few times the past few years for some of their amazing festivals like Grand Carnivale and WinterFest, but we’d never crossed over to the water park side even though the parks are now adjoined and admission gets entry into both. Oceans of Fun has always been the one thing that doesn’t get done on our summer bucket list and mostly because I didn’t think I could handle a water park with little ones. This year, I felt brave enough (and begged my husband to take off work) so we could go as a family.
Everyone had a blast, but I wish I knew a few mom hacks ahead of time… let’s start with logistics.
If you have more than two little ones, I suggest a helper. Whether that be a spouse, fellow mom friend, grandparent or a sitter, you’ll want someone to tag team rides, bathroom breaks, and just to chat with. Especially if it’s your first time! They can help wrangle the kids to the car and lug all the stuff, too!
$19 for standard parking and you can pay with credit card!
If you want a safe place to store your stuff while you hop between rides and parks, you can purchase a locker for $15-$30 depending on size. We arrived before Oceans of Fun opened (which is 11 a.m. by the way)…but this is where the “one park/one price” comes in handy as we were able to ride some of our favorites at Worlds of Fun without a big wait. So we stowed our stuff in a medium sized locker for $25. This fit a decent sized pool bag with five towels. I liked having it for peace of mind with car keys, credit card and phones. If you don’t feel like paying for a locker, I saw a bunch of moms wearing the waterproof phone cases around their neck – these were definitely the season pass holders who knew what they were doing!
We brought our daughter’s puddle jumper because she’s more comfortable in that than a life jacket. However, if you don’t want to drag another item in to the park, Oceans of Fun offers free life jackets.
Find a Home Base
We set up in the toddler area, Crocodile Isle. They had nice big umbrellas and shade trees. If you’re there right at opening, you can find chairs together and have a spot where you can lay towels, make it your meeting place if you separate, eat lunch, relax while your kiddos play independently (just kidding, that rarely happens). Another great spot for this could be Splash Island – we went there later in the afternoon and it was wide open and quiet!
They let you bring in unopened water bottles and you can refill them at the drink stations or water fountains. You’re going to want water if you’re going on a hot day like we did!
With all the walking and swimming, you know the kiddos will get hungry. There are lots of options to choose from including pizza, chicken fingers and fries and even a Subway counter. No coolers are allowed in the park, but you can sit outside at one of the picnic areas if you prefer to pack a lunch and get free re-entry. If your kids are like mine, they’ll want a ice cream treat after a long day in the sun – for that, they have multiple Dippin’ Dots carts around the park. We opted to use a treat as a way to get them to leave and visited an old favorite, Big Burger, for soft serve Zebra Cones on the way home!
With three kids, it’s easier for us if we split up so the big boys (ages 8 and 10) can do the more thrilling rides and Anna (3) can enjoy the toddler areas. Then, we all try to come back together and do something as a family. I had no idea that Oceans of Fun had so many toddler friendly areas. I was really impressed with the options and had I realized that, I probably would have visited a lot sooner! Here’s a rundown of each of the spots that work best for littler ones:
This was Anna’s favorite spot hands down. It had smaller themed slides (frog, shell and boat) in very shallow water like you would find at a park. This was a great warming up area where she got comfortable to do some of the other attractions. They also have three big slides that resemble some of the other rides throughout the park in a little deeper, yet still shallow pool. She loved these slides and would do them over and over. It was a pretty proud mom moment when she was brave enough to go on them alone!
A giant pirate ship with slides, climbing structures, tunnels and water cannons. I thought this was super cute but she didn’t spend much time at this one.
This was the calmer of the two play structures – the bigger one is Paradise Falls, which my boys loved but was super crowded and too intense for Anna. They both have tipping buckets (which scared her), slides and lots of water play. But Splash Island was more suited for er age, had lots of open chairs and is a great place to get away from the crowds in my opinion (at least the day we went).
Two other areas that we were able to all do together was Coconut Cove, the “super pool” with floating creatures, waterfall, mini slides and a rope course that my ninja son loved; and Caribbean Cooler (aka the lazy river) was a fun one where we could all just chill and float alongside each other. This was my personal favorite as my boys would push me along as I lounged on the inner tube! Finally a moment of relaxation!
I can definitely see why so many of my friends purchase the Gold Season Pass. It pays for itself in just a 2-3 visits, and you can go for just a few hours each time without having to feel like you want to do everything. As a bonus, you can get in 30 minutes earlier to Oceans of Fun at 10:30 a.m. It’s something I will for sure consider as Anna gets a little older, and I can feel confident enough to bring all three alone to both parks! Maybe Christmas 2019 presents?!
Oceans of Fun is one classic KC attraction you’ll want to squeeze in this summer before it closes… and hopefully these tips help you have a splashtastic experience! I’d love to hear your mom hacks on water and amusement parks… send me a note of how you make the most of your visit!