When I think of big amusement parks, my former thinking was that theme parks are better geared for school-age and older kids and that there isn’t much for toddlers and preschoolers.
Then we went to Six Flags Great Escape outside of Lake George, NY. This place was awesome for little kids! I will disclose that Albany Kid was fortunate to be given day passes from Great Escape that my family truly enjoyed.
Tips for Six Flags Great Escape Theme Park with Young Kids
Parking at Great Escape
Let’s start with parking – ok it’s expensive at $18 for the daily cheap spots. However, since you are spending this much anyway I recommend spending the extra $2 to get premium parking. Premium parking brings you super close to a paved walkway that leads right to the ticket area. This is ideal for strollers.
Once you get in the park, characters are there to greet you, however, that didn’t go well with my youngest as he was a bit frightened. The characters are cute for older kids though. The first thing we noticed is that the park is amazingly clean. On the day we visited the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) had a table set up near the entrance. CMOST brought along several snakes and other crawlers for the kids to touch and discover.
We grabbed a map and headed towards Timbertown which is geared towards little kids. There are enough rides and attractions in this section alone to provide a couple of hours of family fun for the very young amusement park goers. We were very proud (and selfishly saddened) when the Bean (almost 5) insisted going on some rides solo.
The rides for the under 4 foot crowd were also large enough to accommodate adults which was really helpful in getting the Dude (almost 2) to try the rides as well. For the really hot days, you can visit a sprinkler which is fashioned to look like an old water tower and cool off. This was a pleasant post lunch break.
The Fest area of the park has a mix of thrill seeking rides, carnival games and an assortment of family rides. It was fun to walk through and see which rides got the most attention from the kids.
Nostalgia of Storytown USA
Growing up my family would vacation in Lake George and always visit what was then called Storytown USA. Storytown USA was a Mother Goose themed park exclusively geared for young children. In 1983 the name was officially changed to the Great Escape and the park began incorporating more thrill seeking rides to expand the attractions to a wider age range.
Storytown remains one of the main sections of the Great Escape and is dedicated to the original Storytown USA attractions. This is a great area of simple fun that brings back memories of my own Lake George family vacations. At times some of these nostalgic attractions are a bit dated and almost creepy standing alongside their modern counterparts. If you were a visiting child in the 80’s (like me) you will easily spot the old school classics.
There are a number of little “villages” and nursery rhyme settings; many are the originals from Storytown USA. This is great place for young kids to roam around and a reminder of simple fun that usually isn’t seen at amusement parks today.
Splashwater Kingdom inside the Great Escape Park
There are over 10 different water attractions at Splashwater Kingdom. Most have height requirements of 42 inches so we didn’t make it to this section of the park as my munchkins don’t quite make it. On hot days you could really spend an entire day at Splashwater Kingdom alone.
Dining at Great Escape
We really loved the Great Escape but my one complaint, was the insanely high price for food. I realize this is typical in amusement parks but I was a bit caught off guard with this one. We ate in Timbertown and paid $64 for lunch! The kid’s meals came in a plastic souvenir lunch box, which were cute, and included Smuckers peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pudding cups, gummies and a drink. Drink options included in the kid’s meal were various soda drinks, Hawaiian Punch and lemonade. Apple juice was available for an extra cost. Seriously? Outside food is not allowed in the park.
There are a number of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream stands and each section of the park offers various eateries and snack stands. You will not run out of options of places to eat.
Be prepared when exiting the park that you have to walk through a large gift shop to leave. With young children who constantly want to touch and take home all that they see, this can be challenging. You may want to buckle the kids in a stroller or pick them up to avoid any parting meltdowns. We really loved the Great Escape Park, especially for little kids, and we’re even thinking about getting a season pass for next year!
A big thank you to Six Flags Great Escape for providing complimentary admission!
Go visit!Great Escape Park and Splashwater Kingdom 1172 State Route 9 Queensbury, NY12804 www.sixflags.com/greatEscape/index.aspx