These Are the Germiest Things You’re Touching at the Amusement Park

Amusement parks are meant for fun with family and friends. But whether it’s a water park or a theme park, there are bacteria lurking on almost every surface. Here are the germiest places at your local theme park — find out which item is dirtier than a Port-A-Potty.

Rollercoaster seat belts

rollercoaster against blue sky

People ride a roller coaster. | pressdigital/iStock/Getty Images

Think about how many people sat in that exact rollercoaster seat before you. You grab the bar, holding on for dear life while enjoying the thrill of an awesome day at the theme park. But you’re picking up more than just fun memories. You’re also picking up millions of bacteria. Rollercoasters are hardly ever sanitized, so unless the person before you got sick and the ride was cleaned, it probably hasn’t been cleaned in ages. According to Disney forums, some people who have worked at theme parks admitted the rides were occasionally swept but almost never disinfected.

Park benches

Park benches in any public place are a breeding ground for bacteria. Good Morning America conducted their own germ test about public seating, and the results were shocking. Some of the dirtiest seating areas included rental cars seats, airplane seats, and park benches. Most park benches actually contained traces of fecal matter. Plus, they were found to be much dirtier than toilet seats. It’s something to think about next time you head to the amusement park, which is filled with park benches.

Water fountains

It might seem like there’s no harm in grabbing a quick sip of water from the water fountain. But actually, they’re crawling with bacteria. In fact, you are truly better off drinking toilet water. ABC news reported that one student’s school project caught national headlines when he did an experiment and found out toilets were a better drinking option than water fountains. And somewhere as public as an amusement park means there is a ton of bacteria. Instead of drinking from the water fountain (or the toilet), bring your own water bottle or buy a bottled water instead.

Water rides or waterpark pools

water rides

Kids enjoy a water ride. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Anything involving water in a public place is usually pretty germy. And rides and pools at waterparks are no exception. The Centers for Disease Control has reported that illnesses stemming from water parks have increased over the years, but there are certain ways to prevent your kids from getting sick. The CDC suggests buying chlorine test strips to test how much chlorine is in the water. When you test, make sure the pH is between 7.2 and 7.8. This way it’s clean, but there isn’t a dangerous amount of chlorine. And never go into pool with an open wound that isn’t covered in a waterproof bandage.

Picnic tables

Bringing a picnic to the theme park sounds like an excellent way to spend the day. Go on a few rides (get the wild roller coasters out of the way before you eat), then sit down and enjoy a lunch outside at the picnic table. Well, according to WebMD, picnic tables harbor more germs than both Port-A-Potties and fast food restrooms. That’s because these get cleaned much more frequently than a picnic table. These tables are usually never sanitized, so if you do want to have a picnic, make sure to bring your own disposable tablecloth to cover the table.

Lockers

The lockers at water parks and theme parks allow you to store your stuff without having to worry about bringing it on the rides. But as convenient as they are for you, they’re also convenient for bacteria looking for a place to grow. Thousands of people use those lockers each year, stuffing clothes, food, and more into them. And they are hardly ever cleaned. Bring a wipe to wipe down your locker when you arrive there with the family. This way, you’ll avoid picking up all those nasty germs.

Always bring hand sanitizer whenever you’re in a public place

It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to leave the house without packing hand sanitizer. Add it to your list of things to bring, and make sure you put enough on your hands that it takes at least 15-20 seconds to fully dry. You want the theme park to be somewhere your family can enjoy themselves. Sanitize your hands after the rides, before you eat, and after you use the bathroom in order to keep everyone healthy.

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