Master Moonlight Madness

By Lisa Rau 

When late summer’s long sunny days bring opportunities for extended day activities (no early next-day school mornings to worry about), the pressure is on to find those events that build great summer memories. But you’ve got it: you can turn one day into a 12-hour family party at Silver Dollar City’s Moonlight Madness (more if you go on the days the park stays open until midnight). If you follow a few insider tips, you’ll rule the day – and the night too!

Moonlight Madness Bucket List: Before coming, have everyone make their bucket list of rides and gotta-do activities for the day. Maybe it’s as simple as “RIDES!” But there are many more options to add, like meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Lucky the Rescue Dog at Fireman’s Landing, or the evening Street Dance. Insider tip: The park’s Pathfinders with maps and entertainment schedules, available season-long throughout the park, are also online. Go to “Calendar & Hours” and the links to the schedules are at the top of the page. Note the times for each family member’s top-pick activities and make a list so you won’t miss them.

An App for That: Something you can do on the way to the park -- have someone in the car download the Silver Dollar City mobile app! It takes seconds to load and it’s free. Among the info on the app: directions to the park via GPS, ticket offers and purchasing (did you know that after 5 pm during Moonlight Madness, tickets are just $30 per person?), show schedules and ride information. Once you’re there, the app can guide you around the 100-acre park with a GPS enabled map.

Ready to Ride: Did you know SDC has rides for all ages and sizes, some that they can ride with adults and even some toddlers can ride alone once they are big enough to sit up on their own? For all little ones, height is an important factor and ride height guides are at the entrance to each ride. If a child is close to the height limit, the ride attendant will measure as well. Tip: An early stop at the official Ride Measuring Station in the Grand Exposition area next to the coaster can be a time saver, as kids are measured and then given a color-coded wristband for ride entry status the rest of the day. Tip: The Silver Dollar City app has continuously updated ride wait times, so you can head to the rides with the shortest times and keep checking on the others.

Night Ride Rush: If you talk to any of Silver Dollar City’s ride staff, they’ll tell you: ride your favorite rides in the daytime and then again at night for an all-new experience, like two different rides! Says Attractions Supervisor Zac Sims, “When you ride at night, you can’t see what’s coming and the sudden drops and loops surprise you. At night, it’s more about feeling the experience than seeing it.” Zac’s favorite night ride? “PowderKeg! You ride it during the day and it feels like a great family thrill ride. Then you ride it at night and the thrill factor is kicked up to REALLY awesome!”

Take a Break: The day’s not over, but allow a little down time. Grab a snack and relax as you take in the park’s new evening show Hits from the Hollow at 8 p.m. in Echo Hollow, with music, comedy and even stunt dogs, AND a fireworks finale each night. Then…

Don’t Forget to Dance! Each night at 9:15 pm during Moonlight Madness, there’s a big Street Dance on the Square. Don’t know how to do the Macarena or the Cha-Cha Slide? There’s a quick tutorial at the beginning. Too cool to do the Chicken Dance? No one is! Several hundred kids, parents and grandparents flapping their “wings” in unison is a hilarious experience, one that your kids will remember (and replay on YouTube) for years to come.

More insider tips to maximize your bucket list: Bring your SDC refill mugs, if you have them. It’s likely to be a long, hot day and everyone will want to drink a lot. If you don’t have mugs good for this year, it’s a good idea to pick some up early. Give each family member a carabiner clip to hook the handle of the empty mug to a belt loop. Otherwise, mom will end up trying to carry 4 or more. Travel light (string backpacks are great), include zip-style plastic bags for keeping essentials dry, and pick a family “color code” with one bright signature color for easy family spotting: a lime green shirt for one, headband for another, wristbands, etc.

During Moonlight Madness, July 23 – August 7, Silver Dollar City is open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and open until midnight on July 30, featuring a performance by the band Members Only, and August 6, featuring Prince Ivan.