Ryan took the day off work on Friday and we arrived at the park soon after it opened. We figured a trip to Carowinds on a weekday would be less chaotic than a weekend and we were pleased that the earlier hours we spent in the park were not busy at all. We made a beeline for Camp Snoopy, the kid-friendly portion of the park where we spent most of our time on Friday.
Camp Snoopy has a handful of rides appropriate for little kids and we were pleasantly surprised to find two mini rollercoasters in this section that felt like “big kid” rides but on a smaller scale for our boys.
Rhett even met the height requirement for one of the rollercoasters and loved it, despite the fact that he sported a stone-cold face the entire time he spent on the ride. Ryan said he immediately asked to go again the second the ride ended!
We were also happy to find a large playground within Camp Snoopy where the boys could run around and get their energy out after they were done with all of the rides. I always appreciate when kid-friendly places have playgrounds or free play spaces for kids to just be kids. (The North Carolina Zoo does this so well, too!)
The lines at Camp Snoopy weren’t long at all and we never waited more than 5-10 minutes for a ride which was fantastic with little ones in the mix. Once we checked everything in Camp Snoopy off our list, we meandered through the rest of the amusement park, stopping to ride the carousel, drive the bumper cars and play a few games where the boys each won a little stuffed animal.
Then it was time for the water park!
Ryan and I kept our expectations for this portion of our day l-o-w, as we knew taking the boys to an amusement park and a water park in one day would be a lot for our kids at their current ages. Tickets to Carowinds include water park and amusement park admission so we figured we’d try out the water park and see how it went but knew we’d quickly call it a day if it was too much.
We ended up lasting an hour at the water park and agreed that in the future, until the boys are a little older, we’ll stick to either the amusement park or the water park during our next Carowinds visit rather than try to do both. (This is kind of what we figured heading into the day and it definitely proved to be right.)
I’ll be brief with my water park thoughts for any local friends who might have Carowinds on their radar: If you have younger kids who love splash pads, the water park at Carowinds would likely be a huge hit! They have lots of splash pad areas for little kids that were quite popular and seemed like a lot of fun. Our kids probably would’ve enjoyed these areas more had they not just expended a lot of energy at the amusement park.
I say all this to say our boys aren’t overly into splash pads in general and prefer to actually swim so they were bummed to find that the wave pool and larger swimming pool areas of the water park required life jackets for kids under 52 inches tall. (The lazy river, something our boys also typically love at water parks, was also closed on Friday.) Chase and Ryder are both strong swimmers and loved swimming under the waves in the wave pool at Adventure Landing’s water park in Jacksonville Beach last month (it was truly the highlight of the water park for them), so while we fully appreciate the added safety precautions, the life jacket requirement prevented our bigger kids from being able to swim underwater in what would’ve likely been one of their favorite parts of the water park at Carowinds.
This, coupled with really long lines for the water slides, made the water park a quick part of our visit to Carowinds. We’ll absolutely return to the water park as the kids get older but, as mentioned before, we’ll probably do it separate from the amusement park and visit the water park first thing in the morning to hopefully beat some of the lines for the slides (which looked awesome, by the way)!
As we left Carowinds, the boys were shockingly in great moods. (Believe me, we’re no strangers to end-of-the-day theme park fussiness over here, so this was a pleasant surprise. Maybe the Italian ice we bought on our way out helped?!)
They said they loved our day at Carowinds and definitely want to return soon. It was such a great way to wrap up our family’s summer break with a little extra fun. Summer, I wish you could stay foreverrr.