Operating an amusement park presents numerous challenges to ensure that guests have a good time. By keeping guests happy, you will keep them inside the park longer and ensure they return. The right type of sun protection makes guests happier and more comfortable, so they keep their minds focused on having fun and staying longer at your park.
Importance of Protecting Guests From the Sun
Amusement park guest safety means keeping them protected from excessive sun exposure and its dangers. Too much sun can make a fun visit to your park into a painful one. When you offer plenty of shade and other interventions to lessen the negative effects of a day in the sun, your guests can focus on enjoying themselves more and staying longer. Benefits of sun protection include the following:
Prevent Painful Sunburns
Sunburns can happen to anyone of any skin tone. They occur from damage caused by exposure to the sun, which can even occur on cloudy days or during the winter. Damage that causes sunburn can occur in as few as 15 minutes of exposure without skin protection.
However, your park guests may not recognize that they have had too much sun exposure that caused their skin to burn until after they leave because sunburns don’t usually develop until four hours or longer after sun exposure. They worsen over the following 24 to 36 hours before naturally resolving over the next several days.
Sunburns are not aesthetic problems. They can cause fatigue, nausea, fever, blistering skin and headaches. Even the eyes can become burned, which could result in dryness, grittiness or redness. In the most extreme cases, blindness can occur from sun exposure.
If your guests wanted to visit your park on multiple days, a single sunburn on their first day could change their plans. Additionally, guests who stay all day at the park and develop sunburns during their stay may cut their visits short to recover from the painful burn.
Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer
Often, amusement parks attract kids and teens with their families. By providing sun protection for these younger groups and offering educational signage around your park, you can help to reduce skin cancer risks among those who take your advice seriously.
Less than one-third of American youth practice good personal sun protection habits, such as wearing sunscreen and staying in the shade when possible. Additionally, when children or teens experience at least one sunburn during their growing years, they face an increased risk of skin cancer as adults. Even by preventing a single sunburn in a young park guest, your amusement park plays an important role in their long-term health.
Reduce Heat Illnesses
Providing shade is one way that you can reduce the chances of heat illness among your guests. Guests who stay in the shade and keep hydrated reduce their risks of experiencing heat illnesses. These conditions impact those who do heavy labor outside in addition to the elderly and very young children, who are especially susceptible to heat illnesses.
Being in direct sun during hot weather raises the chances that a guest could experience any of the many forms of heat illness:
- Heat cramps: When heavy sweating depletes minerals from the body, muscles will cramp.
- Heat syncope: If you have guests faint from the heat, they have a form of heat illness that requires prompt treatment to avoid becoming worse.
- Heat exhaustion: Headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, thirst, reduced urination and heavy sweating indicate a progression of heat illness to heat exhaustion. Without treatment, this could lead to life-threatening heat stroke.
- Heat stroke: Heat stroke happens suddenly when someone’s temperature rises. Despite the heat, they may stop sweating and seem confused. Seizures can also occur with heat stroke. Unless given emergency care, death can occur.
All forms of heat illness require treatment by cooling the individual and getting them out of the sun. When you offer plenty of places for guests to rest in the shade or inside air-conditioned spaces, you can reduce the chances of heat illness among your amusement park visitors.
Six Ways to Protect Amusement Park Guests This Summer
Make your park an oasis of fun and excitement by keeping guests happier and healthier with sun protection. Your amusement park can go beyond basic shade structure installation to help educate guests about their need to practice sun safety at your park and wherever they go.
1. Provide Shade Throughout Your Park
Give guests plenty of places around your park to escape the sun and refresh themselves during the day. Benches along walkways, outdoor dining areas and spots near restroom exits are all ideal locations to set up shade for guests taking breaks during the day.
To enhance guest comfort and sun safety, install shade structures over queue lines, sunny walkways and parking lots. The same shade structures you install for guests can also protect your employees from getting too much sun exposure while at work.
2. Educate Guests on the Dangers of Sun Exposure
Guests may not think about the dangers of sun exposure, even when visiting outdoor amusement parks. You can help educate them on the dangers and how to avoid them with signage around your park and well-trained employees to answer questions.
For instance, at the entrance, install a sign that shows the UV Index forecasted for that day with a notice that when the forecasted UV Index is 3 or higher, guests should take sun safety precautions. You will find the UV Index in most weather forecasts for your area.
You already have signs to warn guests about safety when on thrill rides. You can do the same for sun safety. Install these signs that educate guests on how to reduce sun exposure in shaded rest areas or in dining spots, anywhere guests will wait for a few minutes and have time to see the signs. Use eye-catching illustrations and easy-to-read font to make the information easy to understand. Include on the sign four main ways that visitors can reduce their sun exposure:
- Use sunscreen and reapply every two hours
- Cover up with loose-fitting, light-colored clothes
- Wear a hat and sunglasses to block out both UVA and UVB rays
- Seek shade throughout the day
Your educational displays do make a difference. In studies of national parks in Hawaii, researchers found that visual displays at the Kaloko-Honokohau visitor center educating guests on using reef-safe sunscreen and using other types of sun protection increased the chances of visitors taking precautions against sun exposure on their next visit to the same or other parks.
3. Make Sunscreen, Hats and Sunglasses Available at All Gift Shops
Instructing visitors to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses will not help if they don’t have access to them. Make these things available at as many gift shops as possible. With sunscreen as easy for guests to purchase as snacks and drinks, they will have a greater chance of using it.
4. Create Cooling Stations
Set up cooling stations with misting fans that blow sprayed water over guests. These areas set up under shade structures provide guests a place to escape direct sunlight and cool off. Misting stations work best in areas with normally low humidity so the water evaporates off guests quickly and cools them off.
Cooling stations keep guests cool throughout the day, increasing the likelihood of them staying at the park for longer.
5. Set up Reminders to Reapply Sunscreen
One application of sunscreen usually does not last throughout the day. Guests should reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially if they go on water rides or sweat heavily at the park. Use signage around your park to remind your guests to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. You may want to install these signs around restrooms, rest benches or dining areas so guests can apply sunscreen while taking a break.
6. Clearly Indicate the Location of Your Amusement Park Security Office and Clinic
Set up signs throughout your amusement park to direct guests to the clinic in case they need first aid. Also, train your amusement park security to help guests get to the clinic or to bring clinic staff to them in cases of emergencies. The security personnel can clear paths of people to allow for clinic staff or first responders to reach guests who cannot make it to the clinic on their own.
Types of Shade Structures for Amusement Parks
Shade structures come in many forms from simple to abstract. The right shade structures for your amusement park depend on the styles that you have and what you want to add. Even if you cannot find the type of shade structures you need, customized options give you a final way to create a unique design to perfectly match your amusement park’s aesthetic.
Cantilever Shade Structures to Cover Benches and Walkways
Cantilever shade structures only have support posts on one side. This design creates more space underneath the canopy for people to walk. Using these to cover benches or walkways maximizes the room people have under the shade structure while still offering protection from the sun.
If you have loading and unloading zones near your parking lot for buses or cars, cantilever shade structures provide sun protection for those waiting for their rides without putting poles in their lines of sight.
These structures also work well in parking lots to provide sun protection for cars. With only one set of poles, cantilever shade structures don’t block driving areas in the parking lot or create hazardous barriers for drivers to maneuver around. Guests will also appreciate shaded parking areas because they won’t have to return to cars that have heated under direct sunlight all day.
Customized or Unique Designs
Unusual shade structures work exceptionally well when you need to find something to fit into your existing theme or want an eye-catching centerpiece to increase excitement about a part of your park. These structures have shapes that include minimalist cantilever discs to artistic arched steel forms. These types of designs are stunning works of art that encourage guests to relax under the canopies in the shade and escape the sun’s rays.
Rectangular Shade Structures
Rectangular shade structures work well for protecting queue lines for rides around your amusement park, especially forms such as the wrap-around hip style. Guests already don’t want to wait too long in lines. Make their waits easier with rectangular shade structures over the lines. The breathable fabric allows for hot air to rise up and through the material to ensure good airflow under the canopy. Guests will have sun protection while waiting for their ride, making the wait times more acceptable.
Advantages of Unique Shade Structures
While protecting your guests from the sun is essential to your operation, your park does not have to have utilitarian shade structures. Instead, you can choose shade structures that are both practical and beautiful. Unique shade structures transform your park into a more fun place for guests to visit.
Improve Guest Comfort
While you can look at the actual temperatures under shade structures to get empirical evidence of the cooling ability of sun protection, you should also consider guest experiences. People are often much more comfortable in outdoor settings when they can find shade. Since planting trees can lead to messy leaves and unwanted pests, shade structures are a great way to keep guests cool.
When guests feel more comfortable in your park, they will want to stay longer and come back for more fun.
Create an Aesthetically Pleasing Addition to Your Amusement Park
Unique shade structures have eye-catching designs that draw people toward them. For instance, who wouldn’t want a closer look at a butterfly-shaped shade structure with its wings outstretched?
Your shade structures are a part of your park’s design. Using unique structures will keep your park looking beautiful and draw attention to areas where guests can get respite from the sun.
Protects Structures Features From UV Damage
Painted structures, posts and rides can all experience fading from UV damage. Using strategically placed shade structures to cover features that have the highest risk of sun damage, you reduce frequent repainting or maintenance required for those sites and keep your amusement park looking beautiful throughout the operating season.
Raise Attendance Numbers
When guests feel comfortable in a beautiful park, they will come back and tell their friends about their visits. Increasing attendance numbers occur when your park pays attention to the needs of its guests by putting their safety and comfort first.
Installing unique shade structures provides park guests the conditions they need to have more fun with lower chances of heat illness or sunburn ruining their visits. The beautiful designs of the structures also make your park feel more inviting and leave guests with positive experiences of your venue. Happier guests become repeat visitors.
Request a Quote for Your Amusement Park Shade Structures Today!
Keep your amusement park guests happier and healthier with strategically placed shade structures. Connect with USA SHADE to access our turnkey services that work with your park from design until after installation. Choose from among our existing shade structure options or customize your own to fit the aesthetic needs of your park. Start the process of improving your amusement park’s safety by requesting a quote from us at USA SHADE.