If you haven’t heard of Story Land yet or have yet to go with your kids, you are in for a real treat! Story Land is located in Glen, NH about 8 miles north of North Conway in the White Mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking up there and the ride from Lake Winnipesaukee up to Glen is entertainment alone. If you are considering adding Story Land to your summer bucket list, we have a few hacks and tips so you can maximize your trip!
Planning Your Trip
If you have kids under 4 and live more than 2-3 hours away, we recommend making your trip to Story Land a weekend excursion. You can certainly do all the driving to and from in one day if you (and your kids) are up to it, but I’ve found things go much better if we turn our Story Land trip into a 3 day weekend. We live approx 138 miles away from Story Land which takes almost exactly 3 hours (depending on traffic). Since we almost always have a young kid with us, we don’t like keeping them cooped up in the car any longer than they can nap for which is about 2 hours.
This is our 4th year going to Story Land and we always turn it into a 3 day (2 night) trip to make it easier on everyone. on Friday morning, we pack up the car and get everything ready to go. Then when our youngest kids are ready for a nap, usually around noon time or early afternoon, we pack everyone into the car and leave. We drive 2 hours up to the most southern point of Lake Winnipesaukee and stay overnight in a cabin on Alton Bay. Saturday morning, we wake up early, feed everyone breakfast, pack a lunch for Story Land in a cooler bag, put everyone in the car, and drive the additional hour north up to Glen, NH to go to Story Land. At 6:00 pm when the park closes, we drive an hour south back down to Alton Bay and eat dinner somewhere in that area, usually Wolfeboro. (Don’t forget to stop in North Conway at 18° Celcius for micro-batch ice cream that will blow your mind.) We go to bed in our little cabin in Alton Bay, wake up Sunday morning and go to church at St. Katherine Drexel Catholic Church in Alton, NH, take the kids swimming at Brewster Beach or Allen Albee Beach in Wolfeboro. From there, we go out for dinner and then drive 2 hours north back to our home.
Parking at Story Land
Once you get to Story Land, parking in the common lot is FREE. If you want VIP parking near the gate, it costs $10. We did this once and while it was nice having the car close to the gate when we were leaving, I have found I prefer parking up in the mostly empty back parking lot away from all the other cars and in the shade. Of course, this means a 10 minute walk to get into the park, but I’ve found it’s worth it. There is also free parking across the street that is almost as close as parking in the VIP lot, you just have to cross the road to get there. Don’t do this unless you are putting your younger kids in a stroller or ready to carry them!
Food & Drink
I personally recommend that you feed your family breakfast before you arrive at the park and plan on getting there before 10:00 am. (They open at 9:30 am usually.) There are plenty of amazing places to eat within Story Land from epic burgers at Los Bravos to tea time with Cinderella. You’ll also find places inside to buy things like ice cream sundaes, snacks and slushies. Our first stop upon entering the park is always Dunkin Donuts! Yes, folks, there is a Dunkin Donuts inside Story Land. They know American parents run on Dunkins.
Since we are a large family of 6 and some of us have dietary restrictions and food allergies, we always bring lunch with us. Thankfully, bringing your own food and drink is not prohibited! I always pack something easy like tuna salad or egg salad on ice and a loaf of bread. Once we are in the park and people get hungry, we find a quiet place to sit everyone down like the picnic tables behind Los Bravos Burgers or the World Pavilion and I make everyone their sandwiches right there. This requires bringing some Clorox Wipes for hard surfaces, napkins or paper towels and a utensil to make the sandwiches with. It’s a little bit of an effort, but it’s CHEAP and usually doesn’t take us more than 30 minutes before we are back out enjoying the rest of the park.
What To Wear
It’s obvious that one should wear comfortable clothing and sneakers to an amusement park. However, if you plan to go on any of the water rides or let your kids play in the Mini Geysers Water Play Area or the Oceans of Fun Sprayground, you are going to either want a change of clothes for your kids or dress them in lightweight, quick-drying clothes like Under Armour or Nike. I also recommend bringing a towel! Maybe not one towel per kid since that would be a lot to trek all over the park, but one towel should be enough for at least 2-3 wet kids.
Be sure to double, no triple, check the weather the day before you go to Story Land. I did this and I still ended up freezing and wishing I had worn long pants. I watched everyone walking around the park in jeans and hoodies, while I walked around in a tank top and shorts. It was in the upper 60’s lower 70’s and overcast, then it started raining around 5:00 pm which REALLY made me regret not bringing warmer clothes. Thankfully, the park sells t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts in their gift shop! We had to buy a sweatshirt for my 4-year-old because he was so wet and cold, his lips were turning purple, so he got a new Story Land hoodie to warm up with.
They have some really nice Story Land branded clothing pieces at the Whistle Stop Train Stop in the middle of the park. They also have cool gifts, trinkets, mugs, and other souvenirs to get to remember your fun day by. I really wanted to get a sweatshirt but I couldn’t decide which one to get… Now I’m sad I didn’t buy one!
What To Bring In The Park
If you have kids under 5, chances are you’ll want a diaper bag or at the very least a backpack to hold necessities in so you don’t have to go back out to your car. If you choose to bring lunch with you, an insulated cooler bag would be ideal. If you don’t want to have to lug those things around on your back, I suggest a wagon or a stroller to hold everything and cart it around easily all day.
Wagon or Stroller
You’ll notice once you are inside the park that this is an excellent time to compare strollers as EVERYONE is pushing one! I hated the stroller I brought last year, so I went to Walmart the day before our trip and bought the Radio Flyer 3-in-1 EZ Fold Wagon for $68 and it’s literally one of the best “baby gear” items I’ve ever purchased. I don’t know why no one told me about this amazing wagon sooner! It easily fit my big 6 Pack Fitness insulated cooler bag filled with all our lunches, my giant JuJuBe BFF diaper bag AND my 4-year-old. My best friend’s 10-month-old son fit in it too and it was still a breeze to pull! Way better than a stroller. I highly recommend it.
If your child is 2 or under, I highly recommend a baby carrier. Not necessarily instead of a stroller or wagon, but let me tell you, naptime is a lot easier if your baby is snug and secure on you. I personally love my Tula Baby Carrier the best, but there are other brands I use and recommend like KinderPack, Lenny Lamb, Madame Goo Goo, and others. During the summer months, a mesh baby carrier like Tula Coast or Kinderpack Koolnit is amazing. The mesh is breathable which keeps you and your baby cooler in hot weather. I definitely recommend babywearing at Story Land.
In case you forget your stroller, wagon, and your babycarrier, Story Land does rent strollers, double strollers, and wheelchairs. There is also a kennel for your pets that is available on a first come first served basis.
Getting Around The Park
When you first get to the park, you’ll get a park map. If it’s your first time, it can be a little overwhelming! Don’t worry, I promise you won’t get to do everything in one day no matter how hard you try, so don’t even bother! If you live near enough to Story Land to visit more than once, that would be ideal! There is so much to do and even if you go on a slow day, you will still have to account for standing at line, so it would be extremely difficult to do everything in one day.
If you want to see a specific show or a couple different shows, make sure you set a timer on your phone for at least 20 minutes before it begins so you have time to get there! It’s SO easy to lose track of time when you are there because there is so much to see and do, so we almost always miss the shows we want to see. Next time we go, I’m writing down the show times and setting an alarm on my phone so we won’t miss them!
If you don’t have a stroller or wagon with you, take advantage of the train that goes around the whole park as a mode of transportation when you are in a hurry like wanting to get to a bathroom or a show on time. I wish they had a place on the back of the train to load strollers or wagons, but they don’t so you have to leave them at the train station when you get on or have one person from your party push the stroller to the train stop you’ll be getting off at.
Extra Story Land Perks
Besides the obvious like fun rides, amusing shows, and great food, Story Land has some extra perks you might miss if you aren’t careful!
Your kids can get their face painted for around $10 in a big tent near the Loopy Lab. From their favorite characters like Spider Man to something adorable like a Butterfly, there is a lot of face art to choose from that the kids will love. Just keep in mind that the face painting is NOT waterproof! Do all the water rides before letting your kiddo get their face painted or you will have a very sad looking wee one on your hands.
Breastfeeding & Diaper Changes
Across from the Oceans of Fun Sprayground is where the restrooms are located along with a quiet nook just for breastfeeding, changing diapers, etc. I generally nurse my baby pretty discreetly while babywearing and no one has given me any trouble for that, but it’s nice to know that there is a private place to nurse for those that need a distraction-free zone for nursing their baby or changing their diaper.
At the beginning of the park, to the right, you will find Old Mother Hubbard Cupboards & Calming Room, a place for those with autism or other sensory needs a place to regroup and get away from it all.
When To Visit Story Land
I found from my 4 experiences at Story Land that the busiest time is around the 4th of July. I assume because that’s when most people are able to take time off from work for family fun and merriment.
The second busiest time was when the weather was overcast. There were significantly more people there the day we went and it was in the mid 70’s and cloudy, which makes sense if you think about it. What else are you going to do on your White Mountains vacation on a day that is cloudy? Not go to the lake or the pool, that’s for sure!
If you want shorter lines for all the rides, attractions, better seats at the shows, and faster food service, I recommend you pick a hot, sunny day when most people are probably at the beach or pool. Just keep in mind that the water rides will be more popular on a hot day since everyone will be looking for a way to cool off!
Get Discount Tickets
You don’t have to pay full price at the door! Purchase your 2018 discount Story Land tickets right now and SAVE $6.00 PER TICKET when you buy online through this link! Children under 3 are free, parking is free, so what are you waiting for? It’s time to have fun!
Story Land | 850 Rte. 16, Glen, NH. | 603-383-4186 | www.storylandnh.com