Tips and Ideas for Kids Attraction Owners

by TerriRexson

Ideas to help kids attraction owners to provide a great experience for kids to keep them coming back. Parents please add your own tips.

I'm Mom to two small boys and we often visit kids attractions, including zoos, theme parks and children's museums. We also visit lots of attractions that aren't just for kids including historic houses and landscaped gardens.

In this article I'll share some of the things that we love to find at kids attractions and also things we don't like so much. Hopefully this will be useful to anyone that runs or plans to open a kids attraction. We often read reviews of kids attractions that say they were rubbish and not worth the money as it only took 30 minutes to see everything.

Often these places actually have lots to offer, but unfortunately they didn't manage to engage their visitors. Yes, parents should definitely make an effort to capture their kids' imaginations and get the most from the attraction, but it's very much appreciated if we get a bit of help with this! And simple things that are inexpensive to provide can make all the difference.

Making Attractions Interesting for Kids

1. Ink Stamps to Collect

The kids love it when they have to collect stamps around an attraction. We've seen this done well at zoos and ornamental gardens. At the start of the attraction the kids are given a booklet with a number of places for stamps which they need to look out for. My boys love these and it adds an extra layer of interest and keeps them going towards the end if they start getting a bit tired. Some attractions offer a small prize such as a sticker or postcard for a completed booklet, but this isn't necessary.

Washable Jumbo Stamp Pad

Washable Ink Please!
Educational Insights Jumbo Washable Stamp Pad Green (1428)
Educational Insights Inc.
Only $47.0

2. A Craft Activity

An indoor area with coloring or a craft activity themed to the attraction. This is very welcome on rainy days or if the kids need a rest. It's fine to ask for a small donation towards materials if you are worried about the cost of providing such an activity. If you can make the activity educational and linked to the attraction that's brilliant. For example we have enjoyed coloring pictures of locally discovered dinosaurs at a dinosaur museum.

Bean Bag Target Toss

Bean Bag Target Game - 4' X 5' - Sports Games

3. A Competitive Physical Activity

Include a physical activity where kids can compete against each other or their parents. We've seen a timed race at a zoo where you can compare your speed to various animals from tortoise to cheetah, and an obstacle course at a garden park where you can compare yourself to others of the same age.

This is great for getting people to spend a bit of extra time and can add to the visit without adding a lot of cost to the attraction owner.

4. Spot the Pictures

Spot the items. Young guests are given a photo sheet or instructions for items they need to look out for. We've seen this done with small details in a historical museum such as the carving on a stone vase.

We've also seen it done with large objects like carvings outdoors in a park. And finding all the shields or rats hidden in a castle is brilliant fun. Activities like this can be enjoyed by children of all ages and hold their attention and get them properly looking around rather than rushing through.

A clipboard makes kids feel important. They love marking pictures off on a worksheet as they find them. 

Clipboards for Worksheets

Clipboards Case Pack 16

Wooden Marble Maze

Cuboro Standard Marble Maze
Cuboro AG
Only $345.25

5. An Interactive Sculpture

An interactive sculpture or machine that kids can operate. Kids love to be able to touch things and make things happen. Buttons to press, handles to turn and water to pour are all great fun. But be careful. We've visited so many attractions where buttons don't work - don't put in anything that will be difficult to maintain.

At an aquarium we interacted with a very clever floor that responded to us moving over it to reveal fish and other sea creatures. And at another attraction the kids had great fun putting marbles into a large metal bowl that spun them around and made an interesting noise.

Musical sculptures are always popular. Big drums, xylophones or wind chimes. Kids love to make a noise. 

Dinosaur Bones

Or Giant Bones?
Gigantic Dinosaur Bone Sculpture
Design Toscano
Only $399.0

6. Something to Climb On

Something to climb on and have photos taken with. Kids love to climb on things. We understand that many things at a museum can't be touched or climbed on. But we appreciate it if there's something they can climb on and have their photo taken.

We've got some great photos of our kids sitting on a stone dragon in Wales. The dragon has one eye closed - all dragon's sleep with one eye open so they can look out for anyone who dares to try and steal their treasure! Driving a fullsize replica horse wagon at a cowboy frontierland was also very popular (as was locking their parents up in jail!).

The Store

Yes, it's fine to have a store and we understand that you want to make some extra money. But please don't sell generic stuff that we could find elsewhere cheaper. What we actually want is a keepsake from our visit. Get t-Shirts, baseball caps, postcards, stickers and magnets made using a print-on-demand company like Zazzle. Use interesting photos from the attraction, we'll remember you everytime we look at the items and they are a great talking point and therefore advertising for your attraction.

Create T-Shirts featuring Your Attraction

We hope you enjoyed our ideas for Kids Attractions

We love taking our kids to museums and attractions whether they were designed for kids or not. If the kids are engaged and happy then we're likely to stay longer and maybe visit the Cafe or buy the kids a treat at the store. And we're more likely to come back too. 

Updated: 05/22/2012, TerriRexson
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tandemonimom on 06/26/2011

These all look like great tips for owners of kids' attractions!

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