There is this weird misconception that amusement parks are for kids, and that’s just not true. They aren’t making roller coasters go faster, climb higher, or defy gravity for children. No, that stuff is just for adults! Of course, the parks want to cater to the widest group possible, so there will be a mixture of family friendly, kid appropriate, and thrill seeker rides at nearly every theme park worth going to. That is reason enough to spend some time there without small people every once in a while.

The excitement you see on the faces of children at an amusement park is a great thing to see. As a parent, it doesn’t get much better than your kid meeting their favorite character in person or enjoying their first real ride on a roller coaster. But parents also know that for every photo album worthy moment, there are weather or exhaustion induced tantrums, countless bathroom runs, tons of money wasted on snacks or meals they barely eat, and all the merchandise you end up collecting. I haven’t even mentioned the whining: about the crowds, the waits, the hunger, the heat, and every other little thing they can think of that you, of course, have absolutely zero control over. Then there is the special torture that is children walking all day long. It doesn’t matter what carrot you dangle in front of them, eventually they turn into turtles and do everything. So. Slowly. Strollers only help so much, because half the time, you aren’t allowed to bring them into the ride lines, the kids insist on pushing the stroller around the park – or, more realistically, crashing the stroller into everyone and everything in their path.

Kids can kind of cramp your style at an amusement park. They might be too short for the best rides, or just not have any interest in them. Or maybe you end up spending lots of time in lines to meet other grown ups who play pretend all day and wear costumes instead of doing the stuff you actually want to do. And I’ve already mentioned the whining, haven’t I? Adults complain but nobody looks at you twice when you tell your partner to knock it off. So, I say that it’s fine to ditch the kids every once in a while and give yourself the opportunity to do the things you really want to the way you really want to.

Call a sitter or drop the kids off at a relative’s house and enjoy an amusement park as an adult. Ride all the rides with the tallest height requirements. Stand in a line and bask in the glow of not having to leave to take a bathroom break before you get to the front. Go there early and stay until close. Have a sit-down meal that doesn’t involve mystery meat, powdered cheese, or chicken fingers.

In other words, be a kid yourself with the benefits of all the wisdom, power, and financial ability of a grownup.

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