5 Ways to Dominate Carowinds With Your Preschooler | Olive and Tate

5 Ways to Dominate Carowinds With Your Preschooler


Thank you Carowinds for sponsoring

this post. Explore the all-new Camp Snoopy during your next visit!



One of the best things about moving to a new city is spreading our wings and getting to know the area. Greater Charlotte has so much to offer families and I am constantly making a list of things we need to do and see, but when we found ourselves with a Saturday that was free of plans and boxes that were finally completely unpacked, I knew what the first stop on our Meet Charlotte Tour had to be:


You guys, when I was a little girl, I rode my very first roller coaster at Carowinds. It was, at the time, called the Scooby Doo and I remember riding it so vividly with my dad. We have yet to take Gray to a theme park of any kind and I was a little worried about how he would do, but I just had to get him to Carowinds to make some Scooby Doo style memories of our own. 

Because my big boy is only three and a half, I wanted to make sure that I had a game plan for the day - he's still young enough that we need to know where the bathrooms are at all times, need a plan for rest breaks and need rides and attractions that are tailored to the littlest kiddos. I did my Carowinds research and loaded us all up and said a little prayer to the theme park gods for a good day, free of meltdowns and long lines.

As it turns out, my worries were completely unjustified because Carowinds has their preschooler game on lock. They've created Camp Snoopy, an entire section of the park with rides, a playground and family centered goodness (hello, tons of giant family bathrooms!) geared toward babes under the age of 6. Even Georgia had a place to play! We had so much fun exploring that we've actually been back to Carowinds since and I now consider myself a pro at dominating a theme park with a preschooler in tow. Wanna know my secrets? You got it:

5 Ways to Dominate Carowinds With Your Preschooler

1. Take advantage of the stroller rental


My big boy is at an age where he does not want to do anything for babies. Like anything. Including riding in a stroller. That's all good and well when we're on short trips but a day at Carowinds is an adventure and a three year old is probably going to need a break at some point. If I don't have his sister with me, he won't allow the stroller out of the trunk of my car so we take advantage of the stroller rentals Carowinds offers. You can even rent doubles, which are the perfect width for a certain three year old I know to lay across and snooze.

2. Get measured


Ok, this is a trick my husband taught me, so he totally gets credit for this genius maneuver. When you walk into the gates of Carowinds, just past the stroller rental, there is a Carowinds attendant who will measure your little one to determine what rides they are officially allowed to ride. Once they're measured, they'll get a wrist band that denotes which rides they'll be the perfect fit for. Here's why we do this - first, it makes the waiting in lines process a bit quicker because there's no stopping to be measured on the way to their seat (and no one wants to be turned away after waiting in line!) and secondly, it allows us to explain simply to Gray what rides he can or can't ride. We show him his inches on his wristband and he knows that some rides aren't just right for him at the moment. It takes the pressure off of mom and dad in the heat of the ride lust moment and we like it. 

3. Camp Snoopy!


After you get your wristband, make a bee line for Camp Snoopy! Camp Snoopy is an area created just for littles and was reopened in 2018 with six new junior attractions. We always head straight to Camp Snoopy, make a stop at the family bathrooms (thank you, Carowinds), and then make our way to the Camp Snoopy Beagle Scout Acres, a giant playground that has areas designed for ages 1-4 and 5 and up. Both of my kiddos are usually squirmy after the car ride and check in time, so letting them run and wiggle at Beagle Scout Acres let's them burn a little steam before we hit the rides. It's clear that the designers of the Acres really thought of everything when they laid out the space; there are tarps to keep the sun off of the play equipment, areas to take breaks and a small gate that separates the babies from the big kids.


After the play area, we hit the swings first and work our way up to a kiddo roller coaster, all of which are within Camp Snoopy, so we have very little ground to cover (ie: we don't have to chase our wild one all over creation to find his perfect rides). 


4. Dinosaurs Alive


After you've had your fill at Camp Snoopy, be sure to head to Dinosaurs Alive, which I'm fairly certain was built as a preschoolers dream land. Think interactive, moving, life sized Dinos in all species, shapes and sizes capped off with a giant paleontology dig. Gray loved digging with the red shovels to find dino bones and, yet again, I really was impressed at all of the little details Carowinds has thought of - there were tons of buckets, shovels and paintbrushes (so no need to wait for one), benches around the sand dig site for parents to take a load off and the entire area was covered by a tarp to keep the sun off and the temps down. Plus, the exhibit covers quite a bit of the park so there was plenty of room to run, a perfect change of pace after a little line holding. 


5. Snag a Pre-K Pass


Justin and I decided that we would absolutely be back to Carowinds this year so we took advantage of the new Pre-K Pass which is free to all kids ages 3-5! Any kiddo with the pass receives free entry to every aspect of the park including the water park for the 2018 season. Tip: to grab your Pre-K Pass you will need a true paper copy of your child's birth certificate or passport. The process is super easy and quick and we decided that while Gray was getting a full season entry, Mom and Dad should, too, so now we're a family of Carowinds season pass holders! 

Based on this photo alone, I'd say we dominated Carowinds, wouldn't you?


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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