Seabreeze Amusement Park with Young Children: a KidsOutAndAbout review
by Kathleen McCormack
Since my daughter was born, I’ve been desperate to introduce her to all of life’s wonders right away, even if she was arguably too young to fully understand or appreciate them yet. I admit I’ve sometimes gotten a little ahead of myself. So I wondered then if taking my two children to Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester, NY at ages three and six weeks might be a bit premature. The answer is a resounding No! Even at such young ages, the whole family had a blast and we had no problem filling an entire day of activities at the park.
Dry Rides for Young Children
At 40’’ the number of rides available for preschool-aged children like my daughter is impressive. In fact, we were in the park for six hours and still did not try every ride available in her height range. The main attraction for this age group is Kiddie City in the center of the park. This area provides several benches surrounded by seven kiddie rides within easy viewing distance. Young children can hop from the boats to the cars to the rocketships to the swings without Mom and Dad ever having to get up from their seats – an excellent perk for nursing mothers. (There are not, however, lactation rooms for breastfeeding, so bring your cover up.) Recently renovated with a new ride, Kiddie City has been sectioned off to discourage older kids and adults from trampling through, allowing for the youngest kids to enjoy without intimidation. Its central location is also a great meeting spot where older kids can check in easily with Mom and Dad who are supervising the younger siblings.
The Kiddie City rides have a height maximum (meaning adults cannot accompany the children), but there are numerous other rides outside of this kids area that allow parents to share the experience. A new ride, Balloon Race, allows you and your kids to see the whole park from a hot air balloon! Several rides let the riders determine their own thrill level: direct your own sail on the Flyers, spin as much or as little as you want on the Tea Cups, even the Tilt-A-Whirl can be toned down for a more timid rider. If your child is ready for a bit more of a traditional coaster, Bear Trax, right next door to the Jack Rabbit, is a step up from the kiddie rides and a great way to test the waters with your little ones to see if they’re ready for more intense coasters.
There were even a few rides that we held off from even though our daughter was technically tall enough. The Bobsleds are a classic ride but its steep drops and speed gave us pause; the seats on the Spring are secured with over the shoulder harnesses and tipped back seats but it still seemed a bit much for a preschooler. Better to have more options than fewer. Now we have more to look forward to trying on our next visit!
Seabreeze provides a convenient online list of height restrictions per ride to help you plan your trip.
Cooling Off with the Littlest Ones
If you weren’t busy enough with the dry rides, change into your swimsuit and enjoy the many options for young kids in the water park. Over and over my daughter rode the slides in the Looney Lagoon. Over and over… Nice and slow with a shallow pool, the slides allow the adults to relax in the shade (another great opportunity to nurse) while the little ones keep entertained. A few steps away is the Soak Zone, a splash pad with fountains, more slides, and even a giant bucket periodically dumping a tidal wave of water on delighted swimmers. The two areas in easy viewing distance of each other allow older and younger siblings to have fun while staying near Mom and Dad. Even outside of the kiddie area there are still many options for young ones. The Lazy River is a calm and peaceful favorite; little guys can even enjoy the wave pool with older siblings, sticking to the shallower area while still catching the waves!
Making a Day of It
I was sure we’d have to cut our trip a little short as our daughter still needs naptime. Wrong again. She was far too entertained to notice that she was tired. So if you’re going to make a whole day of it and get the most of your admission, you’ll need lunch. All of the typical park food options are available: pizza, nachos, chicken fingers, burgers, fries. But there are also some limited options for alternative diets (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan); salads, fruit, and veggie burgers were all available. Better yet, take advantage of their many public picnic areas and pack your own. Even with the number of school groups in attendance, we had no problem finding a table to accommodate two parents, two kids, and two grandparents.
Dragging along your lunch supplies, diaper bag, and swim gear means you’ll also have the stroller. No worries; there was plenty of space to navigate our double stroller from ride to ride. The impressive cleanliness of the park and the genuine friendliness of the staff made for a delightful day in all regards.
When to Go
The park opens for limited weekend hours beginning in mid-May; waterpark hours start at the beginning of June. School groups begin populating the park on select weekdays in mid-June but discounted admission is still available for the general public on those days . Full park hours begin at the end of June: 11am – 8pm for the waterpark, and 11am – 10pm for the rides.
If you’re available to go on a weekday during the school group hours, this is your best choice. Even with the number of school buses there, we had no trouble parking and literally never waited in a line, not even for ice cream! Shows don’t start until the main park season begins; we would have loved to see the Cirque en Vol with the trampoline and trapeze acts but at least we got to see them practicing (still very impressive!)
It's important to note that the park lives up to its name. Seabreeze is near the lake which creates substantially cooler temperatures. On a hot day, this is perfect; on a cooler day, you may end up skipping the water park.
Not sure if your young family is ready to make a greater time and financial commitment to travel to a bigger theme park? Do your trial run at Seabreeze first. Seabreeze is the “Baby Bear” of amusement parks – not too big, not too small; not too expensive, not too crowded. Just right for young families.
© 2014, KidsOutAndAbout.com
Kathleen McCormack is editor of KidsOutAndAbout.com and lives in the Rochester, NY area.