Posted by Kim Conte

save money at the amusement parkA family trip to the amusement park can be expensive—even if it's close to home. Tickets, food, souvenirs...it adds up quickly.

Whether you plan to visit Disney, Six Flags, Sea World, Cedar Point, or Busch Gardens this summer, there's definitely ways to stay on a budget and still have fun. Here's how you can save money at the amusement park:

  • Buy tickets online. Some parks offer discounts on admission if you order tickets online. An added bonus of ordering online? You can by-pass the line at the ticket counter the day of your visit and get into the park quicker.
  • Look for deals. Grocery stores, gas stations, fast food chains, soda and credit card companies often offer discounts on admission. Also, membership-based discounts (for example, AAA, AARP, military families, college students, members of wholesale clubs like Sam's and Cosco) are sometime available. A good Web site to help you find deals is the Theme Park Insider Discussion Board. Or you can even call the particular theme park to ask about deals if you don't see anything on its official Web site.
  • Consider a season pass, multi-day pass, or second-day free offers. If you plan to go back more than once, you can save a lot of cash with these options.
  • Get a big group together. Some parks discount tickets for groups of more than 20. You can also save on parking costs if you carpool with a big group.
  • Bring your own food and drinks. This is a great way to save a ton of cash if the park allows picnicking. Also, bring a water bottle to refill from drinking fountains.
  • Cut down on extra expenses. Tempting items like sourvenirs, games, and arcades add up quickly. Agree on an affordable budget with your kids ahead of time so they know what to expect.

Do you have any tips for saving money at amusement parks?