What they don’t tell you about theme parks 

This past week I have visited three different theme parks.  Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Sea Life in Mooloolaba and Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast. And I have learned one thing:  they break you.  Each and every one of them, each and every time.

They lure you in with all their shiny promises, fancy opportunities, heck even the pre-paid-jump-the-queue offers.  But they chew you up and spit you out so much so that the person leaving looks a lot like you but just a sun-stroked, sore feet, sweaty, sunscreen-greasy, dehydrated version of you. Often with hat hair.

And I know I am not alone.  I came to this realisation as I sat on the grass in the shade with Mr O after getting off yet another tea cup ride {I actually asked the lady not to spin it as just couldn’t go there again. And guess what, she did, she locked it in tight and that baby didn’t move. #winning}. Nonetheless, I was still feeling slightly worse for wear, as I sat there, watching people walking by.  People pushing prams, people dragging their feet, people dripping with sweat and failing at rocking hat hair.  People like me.

The Mister had taken off to get us some ice cream. Now I don’t want to exaggerate but it was a matter of life and death at that point. We’d  used up all our sugar reserves having walked 30,000 steps by 2pm and pushed out 10,000 beads of sweat.  You know that saying, you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream? Well let’s just saying there was screaming aplenty {mainly from me}.

It got me thinking at that very moment, what is it that they don’t tell you about theme parks?  I learned the hard way, so here’s my list of insider secrets, the hidden truths of what you don’t read about beforehand but what is included {unwittingly} in your entry ticket.

They don’t tell you:

  1. You will get lost on the way there. As a result, you may or may not have an argument with your partner;
  2. Regardless of what shoes you wear you will get sore feet;
  3. Regardless of how much sunscreen you apply, you will get dodgy tan lines because you will sweat that shit off;
  4. Regardless of how much water, Gatorade and Coke you drink, you will feel dehydrated;
  5. Any ice cream you buy on a stick or in a bucket will melt within 4.3 seconds of leaving the shop and will cost at least $4.80 a serve;
  6. If you’ve got kids, you will run out of wipes {see point 5};
  7. A bird will shit on your husband’s head;
  8. The food you buy for lunch will look nothing like it did in the pictures but will actually taste awesome;
  9. If you buy something from the gift shop for your kid, they will lose it and you will spend an hour retracing your steps to keep the peace.  You still won’t find it;
  10. Just like the lost toy, finding a spot in the car park on arrival and then your actual car at the end of the day is all part of the adventure;
  11. You should always go to the loo when you see one, even if you don’t really need to, because when you want one you won’t be able to find one. In the case of Australia Zoo, your kid may or may not pull his pants down and wee on the grass as if marking his territory and signalling to the three massive rhinos watching on “you want a piece of this?”;
  12. You will overhear other parents saying “can you slow that ride down? My kid isn’t looking that good…”;
  13. You will miss the free shuttle bus and because you can’t be bothered waiting, you will walk some more to get to your next exhibit/ride in the same time it took for the bus to arrive back where you left it;
  14. Screaming kids exist at every major attraction;
  15. You will need to arrange a small bank loan beforehand {that’s just for one kid; bigger loans apply the more kids you have};
  16. Parents will start to resemble zombies or the Griswolds yet still smile and acknowledge you as they too know exactly what you’re experiencing in that very moment;
  17. You will pray you don’t get lost on the way home, watching the signs for where to go even though your eyes sting from sunscreen and you can hardly keep them open from fatigue but you know it’s important to remain vigilant because, number 18.
  18. As soon as you get home, you will neck a glass of wine in the time it takes to boil an egg for your kid’s dinner and I am talking SOFT-BOILED-THREE MINUTES-EGG.  It won’t even touch the sides;
  19. You will drink a second glass as you watch them in the bath;
  20. You will order takeaway comfort food in the form of pasta because cooking an egg for your kid has taken whatever was left of your energy reserves and put them into negative credit.
I could go on, but reminiscing is actually making me feel a little queasy.
What they do tell you however that you will have bucketloads of fun and memories to last a lifetime. That, I’m happy to say, is actually true. Very true.
I’ve already shared some of my Dreamworld faves, and for Sea Life did you know you will get the chance to say hello to colour like this…
 
And this {the changing lights and positions of the jellyfish let me get these pics in less than 1 minute and standing in the same spot}:
And watch in awe at friends like this…
And give these a high five because you can touch them!
 

At Australia Zoo, you will get a sense of magic that is the legacy of Steve Irwin and full credit to everyone who has kept his dream alive.  It’s the best zoo I’ve ever visited and is actually more about conserving animals than keeping them in enclosures.  The grounds are spectacular, as are the areas where the animals live.

You will get a chance to get up close and personal with these cuties…

Australia Zoo Kangaroo
Feeding them costs just $2!

And pat these sleeping beauties…

And feel like you’re really in Africa…

About 5 minutes after the wee incident!

So, would I do it all again? Absolutely! Do I regret anything? Absolutely not.

Tell me, what theme parks have you visited? Did you find any “surprises”?  I’d love to say hello to your experience! Drop me a line here on the blog, or over on Instagram or Facebook.

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