Can Carowinds Amusement Park Be for Parents?

As parents of a toddler, at least I think our 14 month old is considered a toddler, we still Carowinds Amusement Parkwant to experience life to the fullest without being restricted to kiddie rides, swing sets, and play-dates. Not that I mind hanging out with my daughter and taking her to explore new places and things, but we do enjoy adult experiences as well. I spend the better part of my day listening to Toddler Radio on Pandora, teaching Athena the new word of the day, today was “blue”, strolling through the neighborhood, and watching Athena attempt new feats like climbing on the Joovy trike and standing on the seat (I kid you not; that was the challenge of the day). So when an opportunity arises to have an adult day, we take it. Although amusement parks might not be considered “adult”, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend Father’s Day. Darren and I love the rides more than most teens and the whole park is one big adventurous playground with 13 coasters, Drop Tower, and Xtreme Skyflyer. Is it possible, though, to visit an amusement park with a toddler and still have fun? At Carowinds, heck yeah! They have programs in place to make the entire experience more enjoyable. With a Parent Swap Program, a Baby Care Center, plenty of shaded areas, and tons of dining choices, we stayed from open to close and everyone had an enjoyable day.

Carowinds prides themselves on accommodating all guests; their Parent Swap program Carowinds Coastersis a prime example. When we entered the park, we went to guest services and picked up a Parent Swap slip that allowed us to ride each ride without waiting in line twice. As an example, Darren waited in line for the Intimidator and I walked around the area with Athena. When he was finished, I took the pass and accessed the ride via the exit ramp in order to avoid waiting in the regular queue. It allowed us to visit the park and still have all the perks of a regular guest. Plus, we were able to spend the day with Athena. It was a win win situation.

Coasters at Carowinds

Planet Snoopy CarowindsIn Planet Snoopy’s Baby Center, we found a comfortable rocking chair, a microwave, and a diaper changing station. While Darren was waiting in line for one of the roller coasters, Athena and I made our way through Planet Snoopy. It’s located in the back  left hand corner of the park, making it perfect timing for a diaper change and a snack. With the Parent Swap pass, I was able to take care of all of her needs then hop on a ride as soon as we met up with Darren. It couldn’t have been more convenient.

An abundance of food choices made the easy flow of the day continue. Carowinds Pizza Cafe was the first pick for everyone. Athena loves pizza; she’d eat it for every meal if I’d let her (obviously I don’t). We ordered a pepperoni pizza for $10 and it was enough to feed all three of us. Normally the excessive prices at amusement parks is enough to turn anyone’s stomach even if you don’t get sick on the rides, but you can’t beat a large $10 pizza.

Nighthawk, CarwindsWhen I rode the Nighthawk, Darren and Athena relaxed in the shade at the food court. He had alone time with her while I was zooming toward the ground and turning skyward just in time for the next inversion. We might not have spent every moment of the day together, but we were grateful to combine adventure with parenting.

Athena may be too young to ride on the rides at Carowinds, but she’s not too young to have a great day with us there. Most parents of infants or toddlers assume they are restricted because of the baby’s age, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The great parent options make Carowinds an adventure for everyone.


What adventure will Athena join us on next? She’ll be flying in a helicopter with me over Ottawa, Canada in two weeks. We’ll see you in the skies!

You can watch us ride two Carowinds roller coasters at Bucket List Publications Video Gallery.

36 thoughts on “Can Carowinds Amusement Park Be for Parents?

      • No, but I have a two year old and even going to the supermarket is crazy. The rest of my children are all in their twenties, so we’re adapting. By the way I loved your babies expression, she seems very happy. It’ll be nice if you include tips for parents with babies when traveling.


  1. When I was younger (school age), my parents took us to Carowinds every year. I still fondly remember the fun times. I was so happy when I was tall enough to ride all the rides. Roller coasters are so much fun.


  2. Oh yeah – great post. recently conducted a interview on our site we hit on the topic of theme parks and how they could be marketing to families etc. Will have to share this link with my past guest he will get a kick out of this. He loved his theme parks, think his words to describe himself and the family “rollercoaster junkies”.

    The parent swap is a great idea good on Carowinds.


  3. Took my daughter on her first roller-coaster ride at Carrowinds. We had the front seat on the Intimidator! It was a blast. Thanks for your post. Cheers!!


  4. I live about 90 minutes outside of Ottawa, but my district office is there, so I go that way once or twice a month! Ottawa is a great city, with amazing people- enjoy yourself. AND if you get a chance on land, stop by the Byward Market, and stroll by the Rideau Canal downtown.


  5. Love your post! I just took my son (just turned 10 months) to the Singapore Zoo. We can’t wait till he is ready for the amusement park! Cheers, Dragon Boy and Mom


  6. I’m glad you had fun with the toddler. I don’t do roller coasters. I think it is because I’m so tall, but they always put so much pressure on my back that it’s not any fun.

    BTW, my father has always told me the older children get, the more return you get on your investment. He’s an investor so he thinks that way. He is right. They are a lot more fun the oder they get. Enjoy the helicopter.


  7. Parent swap sounds awesome, i wonder how many amusement parks have it? Anyways, great post. I remember traveling with my family and my youngest cousin was around 2 years (or maybe 1, can’t remember) to Disneyland( I believe) and that was fun for me, but not for my uncle and aunt….

    Athena is such a gorgeous girl!!! many blessings for you and the family!!


  8. I will admit to being too short for some rides then but old enough to take care of the little ones … so I was the designated care giver …etc.


  9. Thank you for posting this! I will be visiting Carowinds for the first time in a few weeks, and their parent swap guidelines are not on their website.
    Every amusement park I have ever been to has some sort of swap program, but usually both parent have to wait in line with their child. Cedar Point uses the same plan as Carowinds (which makes sense as they are owned by the same company, but World of Fun in Kansas City makes both parents wait in line, so there is no consistency throughout the company).


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