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Top tips to get the most thrills out of your visit to Playland and the PNE Fair

Heading out to BC’s very own PNE is one of summer's most thrilling activities – whether that’s kids getting excited about fun times at Playland, or adults getting pumped for the sparkling lineup of Summer Night Concerts, which kick off the PNE Fair on Saturday August 19.

Mother and child on swing ride

Of course, the biggest attractions for friend or the whole family are often the rides. Your crew can take flight on Skybender, swing on the Beast, get splashed on the Log Flume, flip out on Hell’s Gate, wind through a maze of glass, scale the Climbing Wall, pose for ride photos, get a (temporary) tattoo and play Sweet Escape Mini Golf.

While Playland and the PNE Fair are filled with exhilarating rides, fun games and delicious food choices, amusement parks can also present some challenges like summer heat and family members who are raring to go in different directions to do different things.

Here are 11 tips for your visits to Playland and the PNE Fair, that will help you outsmart the obstacles and ensure the whole family is having a thrilling good tiiiiiiiiiiime!

  • 1. Purchase passes online and save

    Avoid losing precious ‘scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs’ time on rides by buying your passes online in advance. BCAA Members get the best deal online with savings of 30% on Playland Passes and on PNE Fair Gate and Ride Passes in advance*. And if you’re planning a trip to one of the Summer Night Concerts, use your BCAA Membership to save on gate passes, which are required in addition to your concert ticket.

  • 2. Prepare the night before, not the morning of

    Spending time at Playland and the PNE Fair can take up a whole day and evening, so packing the night before can help ensure you’ve brought all the essentials and can cut down the morning stress of getting everyone up and out the door.

  • 3. Key essentials to bring (use a backpack to keep your arms free)

    • Resealable plastic bags or safety phone cases to protect your cell phone
    • A plastic poncho in case it rains (yes, it’s possible in BC) or to keep you dry when riding the Cedar Rapids Log Flume
    • Sunglasses and case, sunscreen and hat
    • Comfortable shoes
    • Blister relief strips
    • Kids' medical alert bracelets
    • Water bottle
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Waterproof backpack or fanny pack
    • Portable phone charger (texting, taking photos and video, and posting on social media can drain your cell phone battery much quicker)
family at a fair
  • 4. Maximize your ride time!

    If you’re seeking thrills and spills, the last thing you want is to be spending too much time waiting to get your fast ride fix. Here’s a smart hack to avoid long lines – go to the best rides first thing in the morning when the crowds are smaller. And if you’ve already seen a popular show, hit up the rides during show time when lots of people will be busy watching.

  • 5. Stay hydrated, be sun safe and take breaks

    Drink plenty of water, especially if your family will be drinking the sugary stuff like milkshakes, soda or Sno Cones (yum, yum and yum!). Wear a hat and apply sunscreen throughout the day. And, find time to sit and rest. If you are a family with younger ones, look out for the BCAA kids tent for a chance to take a break and do some colouring with the books and crayons provided. Then, during the PNE Fair, give your feet a break and bring your family to our BCAA ToonCity to enjoy the musical stage show, multimedia dance party and BCAA Family Flicks, a series of family-friendly short films every night of the Fair.

  • 6. Take a photo to remember what your family is wearing

    Just before you head out, take a picture of your child so you remember what they’re wearing. Have them standing up in the photo so it’s easy to visualize their height. You can also take a picture at one of our Child Find photo stations, found at each entrance to ToonCity. Then, turn the tables around and have your kids take a close look at you and what you’re wearing. It can help them locate you in a crowd or if they need to give your description to a PNE employee.

  • 7. Get a BCAA 'Child Find' sticker

    BCAA supports the "Child Find" safety program that helps PNE staff reunite lost children with their parents or caregivers. Find PNE Brand Ambassadors and the PNE security at the gates to get a free Child Find sticker for your child to wear on their back. Teach your child to identify PNE staff who will be wearing PNE branded blue t-shirts in case they need assistance.

  • PNE lost child sticker 

  • 8. Set a meeting point as soon as you arrive

    Establish an easy-to-spot place to be your family’s meeting point in case you get separated (avoid busy entrance/exit ways and parking lots). You can also select other meeting spots as you enter the different areas of the park. Walk over to the meeting point with your kids to show them specifically where to go.

  • 9. Follow park rules

    Park accidents can happen when anyone ignores park rules by climbing a fence or entering a no-trespassing zone for example. Follow park safety signs and the instructions given by park employees to ensure a great and safe time.

  • 10.Walk the park backward to stay ahead of the crowd

    Note the direction people tend to follow and head the opposite way. Then you can bypass larger crowds that often form near the entrance by starting off further into the park. You can check out the sights located near the entrance later in the day when less people will be arriving.

  • 11. Research your fave attractions in advance

    Visit PNE/Playland on Facebook for ideas of rides and events your kids will most want to enjoy. Then write down a list, find them on the Playland map and tick off each one as you go.

    To enjoy a safe and memorable PNE visit at minimal cost, here’s how to save on family fun with discounted Playland and PNE Fair Gate and Ride Passes. Have fun!

BCAA Play Safe with Blue graphic

*Passes are subject to park capacity. If a date is not displayed on the ticket purchase page, it is sold out and no longer available.