Zoos and theme parks are extremely expensive in Norway, and the admission itself can easily cost over 2,500 NOK for a family of 4! And let’s not forget paying 200 NOK for a hamburger, 400 NOK for a stuffed animal or the 150 NOK parking fee that some theme parks and zoos operate with. But there are lots of things you can do to save money at Norwegian theme parks, and we’ve got the best tips for you!
While these visits are expensive in Norway, there are some thing you can do to save money when visiting Norwegian theme parks and zoos. Let’s take a closer look at our 13 best tips to visiting zoos and theme parks on a budget!
1) Book tickets online
Generally speaking, you can save between 50 and 100 NOK per ticket if you book the tickets online in advance. Some theme parks and zoos have the same price for tickets bought at the entrance, but most of them actually do have a small savings if you buy online.
While 50 NOK might not be all that much, it really does add up if you are a group traveling, or combine it with the other tips in this post. For a family of four, you’ll be saving 200 NOK for spending a few minutes to book the tickets online instead of getting them at the entrance. Time well spent in my opinion!
Protip: It’s often possible to book tickets online on your phone while waiting in line to get in to the park. It’s not like there’s much else to do in the line anyway..
2) Bring a refillable water bottle
All the zoos and theme parks in Norway sell bottled water as well as sodas for a premium, and you can easily expect to pay 30 – 40 NOK for a bottle of water!
But you don’t need to! You can just bring a refillable bottle and fill it up with water inside the park. Most parks will even fill it up for you if you ask. I’ve even experienced parks where they have given us water mugs for free when we asked for some non-bottled water.
It’s also possible to fill the water bottles from the tap at the restrooms in the parks. All tap water in Norway is excellent drinking water!
While this might seem strange to some, lots of Norwegians do this. We are used to water being free of charge, so there’s no shame in bringing a refillable water bottle to an amusement park or zoo.
3) Try to find coupons that give a discount
Discount coupons are not as big in Norway as in many countries, but you will find that theme parks and zoos often use these. While the discount might only be 10 or 20 % on admission, this will actually end up being a lot of money if a whole family is traveling to a theme park or zoo.
So check around for discount codes. Some hotels have vouchers, other find coupons by searching online. The Norwegian word for discount coupon code is “rabattkode“, so type in “the name of the theme park or zoo + rabattkode” to see what pops up in the search engines.
I often find that you get discount codes for other parks and zoos after visiting one, since they are often owned by the same parent company, and they want to get people to visit multiple zoos. For example, after having visited Den Lille Dyrehage, my whole family got a 20 % discount coupon for Bø Sommarland (which is a waterpark a few hours away from the zoo).
4) Bring food with you to the park
It’s perfectly fine to bring your own food into a zoo or theme park in Norway, and many parks even have barbecue stations where you can grill your own food for free. Trust me, this is going to be better tasting than buying a hamburger or pizza slice from the food court anyway! And bringing your own lunch and drinks could easily save a family 300 – 500 NOK! Yes, food in these places is really that expensive.
If there’s no place to heat your food, bring something that can be eaten without having to be prepared. Sandwiches, salads, brødskiver or some fruit will do just fine. Most parks will have benches where you can sit down and eat, or open grass fields where you can make a picnic area.
It’s also possible to bring your own snacks as well as your own non-alcoholic drinks into the park. No one is going to care that you brought your own Coke with you instead of buying it in the park, and it will be about half the price in a regular grocery store.
5) Arrive later in the day
A few of the Norwegian zoos and theme parks have discounts for people who arrive later in the day. The reasoning behind this is that you only get a half day at the park, so you won’t have to pay the full price.
This is a great business model for both the park and those of you that want to save money. Most visitors tend to come early in the morning, and leave long before the park closes (since the kids tend to be tired before closing time), so the parks are often ghost towns the last few hours.
In addition, it makes the queues to enter the park spread out more during the day, so it’s a better experience for all visitors.
It’s still kind of rare to see this type of discount in Norway, but I have seen it a few places like at Dyreparken. Granted, their discount is far from the biggest one. But you will save a little bit of money by arriving later.
6) Visit in the off-season
The main holiday season in Norway begins around June 20, and ends two months later at around August 20. This is when the theme parks and zoos will have a premium high-season cost for tickets to enter the park, which can be as much as 50 % more expensive than in the off-season.
If you’re able to, visiting in the off-season can save you a lot of money. A single ticket to Dyreparken costs 519 NOK if booked online in the main season, but costs as little as 249 NOK in the last week of August.
The same goes for most parks, even though the savings tend to be a little bit less than at Dyreparken. I always try to plan for trips early in June or later in August with my family. The weather tend to be pretty good at these times, the parks are far cheaper, and it’s much less crowded.
7) Look for “smart days” in the ticket calendar
Pretty much all the theme parks and zoos in Norway have a calendar booking where you can see the price for different days. We’ve already covered saving money by visiting in the off-season, but there are typically a few other days where it’s possible to save some money.
These “smart days” are often tied to days where guests have traditionally not used the park. Some parks choose to lower their prices if the weather forecast is terrible, while others uses historical data to predict the days when people are less likely to visit the park.
So to get more people to visit these days, they lower the price of admission during these unpopular days to entice people to come.
Use the online ticket booking system to check for these days. Some parks have them, others do not. If you’re lucky, you can find a cheap day in the middle of high-priced days.
8) Arrive by public transport
Most zoos and theme parks in Norway tend to be a bit of a distance from the city center, so you typically need a type of transport to get to them. You might be tempted to use your rental car, but you might actually save a bit of money by arriving by public transport.
Most parks and zoos have excellent bus systems between the park and the nearest city, and these tickets are often cheap.
The zoo Dyreparken has a parking fee of 100 NOK er car. Bø Sommarland charges 60 NOK, and Tusenfryd charges 70 NOK.
It might not be all that much money to some of you, but it all sure adds up.
Hunderfossen even offers a discount if you can show a train ticket when buying park admission! The train station is just a few minutes away, so you save money on both the parking fee (usually 79 NOK) as well as the admission.
And we have yet to discuss the biggest cost of driving your car or rental car to the theme parks and zoos. For example, Tusenfryd is 20 kilometers away from Oslo. Dyreparken is 11 km from Kristiansand, and Kongeparken is 27 km from Stavanger.
Gas prices are insane in Norway, and these semi-long distances really add up. Especially when you consider that you often have to cross toll booths to get to the parks.
Arriving by public transport might not always be the best choice, but it’s always best to check out the options and see if you can save on it!
PS. Parking is free in certain parks like Den Lille Dyrehage.
9) Buy the children ice cream after you leave
Summer visits to a theme park or zoo and ice cream goes hand in hand, but you will quickly realize that the parks have learnt to use this to their advantage. A regular ice cream can easily cost 40 NOK, and don’t get me started on how much a soft serve (softis) can cost in these parks.
But if you make a deal with the children about buying ice cream outside of the park at a regular grocery store, you could actually save a bit of money. If all four of you want ice creams, you could easily save 50 – 100 NOK!
And as if that’s not enough, going to buy ice cream is a good incentive to get the children to agree that it’s time to go home.
10) Do you really need to buy stuffed animals?
Speaking of making deals with your children; should you really let them get a lot of stuff from the gift shop?
Gift shops at zoos and theme parks are insanely overpriced, and stuffed animals tend to cost about twice as much as if you buy them at a toy store.
So how about making a deal with the children before you visit the park? Either limit the souvenirs to a certain amount of money, or to a single item. That way the children have a clear expectation of what they can, and what they can not get.
It’s great to have souvenirs, but the total can quickly add up if you let the children loose in the gift shop!
11) Buy “Day 2” tickets instead of going to yet another park
There are lots of families who visit 4 or 5 different theme parks and zoos in a summer, but a good method of saving money is by buying the day 2 tickets that most parks offer. These are exactly what you expect; you buy a new ticket to enter the park again the very next day.
The deal here is that you typically get the day 2 ticket much cheaper than a regular ticket, but you have to buy it before you leave the park for the day. Ticket prices for the day 2 can be as cheap as 50 – 150 NOK per person.
There are some parks in Norway like Tusenfryd or Dyreparken that can easily be enjoyed two days in a row. In fact, you might find it better to visit two days in a row since these parks are pretty big!
The waterpark Bø Sommarland even offers free Day 2 tickets if it’s raining on the day you are visiting.
12) Spend the night somewhere a bit away from the parks
If you’re going to be spending the night at a hotel, motel or campsite before or after visiting a park, you should consider to book one a little bit away from the main park itself. The accommodations closest to the theme parks and zoos tend to have a premium price to them, so you can easily save a lot of money by booking a room 15 – 25 minutes away from the park itself.
The worst offenders are the official park hotels. These are just so much more expensive than the other options nearby, so it’s absolutely not worth it if you want to save money.
If you really want to save serious money, consider bringing your tent and go wild camping. Most theme parks and zoos are located very close to forest areas where you can legally put up a tent for free!
13) Use Google Maps to find free parking spots nearby
We’ve already gone over the high parking fees that some amusement parks in Norway have, but a nice trick to save some money is to use Google Maps to look for places to park nearby. There are some parks which have free parking within walking distance of the theme park or zoo, which is an easy 50 – 100 NOK saved just by walking for a few minutes.
You can even drop off the children with another adult in front of the main entrance, get them to wait in the queue, then go park at a free parking spot yourself. In many cases, you will have more than enough time to catch up with them.
Visiting theme parks and zoos will still be expensive in Norway
Despite putting all these 13 different idea into action, visiting a Norwegian zoo or amusement park is still going to be a costly affair. There’s no doubt that Norwegian parks like these are among the most expensive in the world, both when it comes to admission itself, but also for food, drink and souvenirs.
Even if you do it as cheaply as possible, tickets for a full family in the off season is still going to cost at least 1,000 NOK.
So if you want to experience a Norwegian zoo or theme park, be prepared to spend a good amount of money on it. We hope that these tips will make the visit a bit cheaper for you, and we’re sure that you can save several hundred Norwegian kroner by applying these on your next visit.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.