How to Go to Frontier City This Weekend
If your summer plans have been put on the back burner thanks to Miss Rona, there’s a good chance you’re already starting to climb the walls. For us, the constant reminders that the economy is opening back up are cold comfort when two of our family members suffer from asthma.
While others might bustle about with the confidence that they’re young and healthy, we see every interaction as a possible gateway to infecting people we love. But we’re also trying to find a way to live our lives while mitigating that threat. These days, that means not only adjusting to the new normal but embracing it much like you embrace your cantankerous old mothball-smelling aunt.
Back before coronageddon, we had plans to take the kids to Frontier City for Arthur’s spring break birthday. Last weekend, we finally got our chance to go back when we were invited to check out the park’s grand re-opening with new health rules.
Frontier City is now a Six Flags park, which means you can use their season passes at other Six Flags parks and membership comes with all of the fancy schmancy Six Flags perks. I assume it also means we can expect big things at Frontier City in the future.
To boot, season passes are super affordable right now. If you plan to spend two days at a park this season, they’ll have paid for themselves.
If you’re still nervous about getting the ronas, there is some good news. This piece in The New York Times talks about why your risk of getting COVID-19 is much lower when you’re outdoors as long as you’re still extremely cautious. And fortunately, Frontier City is making that very easy to do with their new health-focused approach to visiting the park.
When we first got to the park, we immediately noticed signage warning guests to stand back and to keep their masks on at all times except in “breath break” zones or when seated in dining areas.
To enter the park, we went through two checkpoints where we were reminded of the mask rule. The lines to the rides were marked with “cakewalk”-style spots on the ground to remind folks to keep their distance. I wasn’t afraid to let people know when they were over the line, either. Say what you will about Karens, when people are stepping into your COVID bubble, it’s a perfectly legit time to let your inner Kate Gosselin haircut shine.
A Day in the Park
Overall, it wasn’t that big of a deal to go with the new health rules, and once we were actually there, it seemed like the risk was extremely low because we just weren’t very close to anyone and used plenty of sanitizer after touching everything. Crowds are down right now, which meant that we were pretty much able to hop directly onto any ride we wanted.
The best ride in the park is easily the Steel Lasso, which is a less-than-scary dangly-feet roller-coaster that still offers plenty of thrills and a surprisingly ergonomic seat. We weren’t the only middle-aged parents to comment that our backs were in better condition after riding.
For families with little kids, the kids’ area is pretty sizable, although the active play zone is currently off-limits because children are little petri dishes. Lucy is pretty small for a nine-year-old, so even when she was able to skim through on some of the more thrilling rides, she wasn’t mentally ready. Fortunately, the kids’ rides are really well done and not just for little bitty kids. There’s even a kiddie coaster-style ride and a little hot air balloon-themed ferris wheel.
I also recommend stopping by the Bonton Confectionary while you’re there. The store is a visual feast for kids with giant gummy bears, homemade fudge, and walls filled with sugary delights. You can also treat your kids to a colorful rock candy for about a buck a piece.
With the current surge in Oklahoma cases, I don’t feel comfortable recommending you all rush to Frontier City this weekend. But today is a perfect day to buy your tickets now for fun later.
Here’s our best advice for making your visit a great one:
1. Choose Your Masks Carefully
I haven’t been out of the house much since the 12 Monkeys 2020 reboot started, so I hadn’t actually road-tested my face masks. I loaded up my trusty fanny pack with a few medical masks sent to me from a nurse friend who has already lived through the apex in her major northeastern city, but I brought a special handmade mask with a filter pocket for myself. It was cute and sturdy, but it was also hot and black, which made it even hotter in the midday Oklahoma sun. It wasn’t long before I felt like my head was overheating, but switching masks quickly changed that.
I recommend using high-quality disposable masks with a nose wire if possible. They’re lighter in material and more breathable than most fabric masks. Be sure to use a light color if you have to go with fabric.
2. Take an Extra Mask or Two Per Person
Despite my many warnings not to mess with their masks, it’s hard to get a tween to not fidget with something uncomfortable for many hours in the hot sun. After a while, their masks were looking a little worse for the wear between the fidgeting and the sweat, both of which compromise their protective qualities. To boot, one child dropped his mask in some kind of sketchy liquid.
We did have enough to get through the day, but the next day we had to think fast to go to the cowboy museum, which meant buying an orange gift store bandana no one would ever want again. Next time we travel, I’m just throwing a whole box of masks in my bag.
3. Hydrate Ahead of Time
Hydrating at Frontier City was a bit of a challenge and it really is my only “comment or concern” item for the admins. We couldn’t bring in outside drinks, which meant we would have to buy a drink before we got caught up riding rides if we wanted to make sure everyone stayed hydrated.
This becomes even more of a challenge when you account for the fact that you have to remove your mask to drink water, ergo can’t just walk around drinking water all day as needed with your mask off. My biggest concern while we were there was making sure everyone had enough water in the 96-degree heat.
4. Bring a Refillable Water Bottle
There are water bottle refill stations located throughout the park. If I had it to do over again, I would make sure everyone in our party had a canteen or neck-hanging water bottle and just fill them up as soon as we arrived.
5. Dress Cool
Face masks can make you much hotter than you normally would be. Make sure everyone is dressed in light colors and breathable fabric.
Wearing a hat will also help keep you cool in the summer heat. Make sure everyone has a hat that can easily fold up and tuck away in a bag when it’s roller-coaster time.
6. Bring Personal Cooling Devices
One of the smartest things you can do is to throw one of these cooling bandanas or a cold pack in your bag in case someone gets overheated. We also bring portable fans for standing around in lines when the air isn’t moving.
7. Remember Medications
It’s just good advice to throw some headache medicine into your bag anyway if you’re going to be out at a park all day. But if a member of your party has asthma, double-check that you’ve got an inhaler handy. Summer heat plus masks can make breathing more difficult for asthma sufferers.
8. Be Flexible
Be prepared for some rides to be closed due to sanitation concerns. Specifically, you can expect any attractions involving water to be closed down for the time being as they will soil masks, making them ineffective. It’s also good to just go prepared to take everything with a grain of salt. After all, we’re in a pandemic. Stuff is weird right now, y’all.
9. Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
We brought plenty of our own sanitizer, but there are sanitizer stations located throughout the park outside of rides and in the middle of walkways. Remember to use them after you’ve touched every ride.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask park employees to wipe something down for you. My family took a liking to a shoot ‘em up dark ride called the Quick Draw that requires you to get super handsy with a laser “gun.”
When the happy teenager who exited the cart we were getting was visibly dripping with sweat, the park host in charge of the ride was more than happy to wipe everything down for me. All rides have sanitizer bottles handy for just this reason.
10. Respect the Cakewalk Stickers
It’s easy to overlook the social distance markings on the ground as you stand in line for rides, but they’re there for all of our safety. If you’ve learned nothing else from reading this blog, it’s that personal bubbles are a beautiful thing. Respect the bubble. Relish the bubble.
Pretend like the folks behind you are selling an MLM. Stand too close and next thing you know you’ve agreed to a Fancy Chef party where you’re going to end up writing a fat check for some kind of corn buttering gadget because apparently knives need to be improved on after thousands of years.
Respect. The. Bubble.
If you’re dying to get out and have some summer fun, don’t let the ronas stop you, but don’t be silly about it either. Buy your discount Frontier City passes now, and while you’re waiting for the pandemic to simmer down a hair, take a camping trip or something.
And when you finally do make it out to the park, remember this advice. It is possible to trick your kids into riding a ride by telling them that something like, for example, Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is just like It’s a Small World. But you will only get away with this one time, so choose wisely.
All right friends. Get out there and have some socially distant fun in the world already. Happy pride to my beautiful rainbow nebula family. I love you all and hope you have a beautiful week in your little nebulas.