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Can My Emotional Support Animal Come to a Water Park with Me?

With summer around the corner, warmer temperatures mean many of us are thinking about fun activities to do outdoors with our animals. Water parks might be on your summer bucket list, but if you plan to take your emotional support animal along, please take a moment to read this blog post. You’ll be glad you did before you make the trip!

Table of Contents

General Emotional Support Animal Water Park Policies

Overwhelmingly, water parks do not recognize emotional support animals in the same way that they do psychiatric service animals (PSAs). PSAs are not considered “pets” and therefore are typically are allowed at water parks, provided they follow some general guidelines:

  • Must be trained to perform a task that helps their handler mitigate a symptom from a disability
  • Must be leashed or harnessed and be under the control of their handler (or a guest, if the handler is riding a ride) at all times
  • Must not enter the water or ride any of the park’s rides
  • Must use designated relief areas

Even if you have a PSA, be sure to review your water park’s specific service animal policy so there are no surprises when you bring your service animal. As always, be prepared to answer the question of what specific task your service animal has been trained to perform – just in case an employee asks.

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ESA/PSA Policies for Some of the Biggest US Water Parks

Family at a a water park

“Trained service animals are welcome at our Six Flags Parks…Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals.”

Service Animals are welcome; however, they are limited to dogs and miniature ponies that have been trained to do work or perform a task for the benefit of the individual with the disability.

“Pets are not allowed unless they are a service animal with the appropriate documentation.”

Policy of Kalahari Resorts - Various Locations

“With the exception of service animals certified under the American Disabilities Act (ADA), pets (including ESAs) are not permitted at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions.”

“With the exception of service animals, pets are not allowed in our theme park or water park. Trained service animals are welcome at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.”

“Guests with disabilities are permitted to bring their service animals into areas where guests are generally allowed. Service animals are not permitted on any attraction or in the water…A service animal is not a pet…Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals and will not permitted into the park.”

“If you claim to have a legally-qualifying service dog you will be required to verify its legitimacy, pursuant to applicable legal requirements which are then in effect. A service animal is defined by law, and not by a person’s personal desires. For example, a companion animal, or an animal that brings emotional comfort, or a dog which serves as personal security, does not qualify as a legal service animal.”

Obviously, the above list is not meant to be exhaustive, but instead, to provide a sampling of water park policies of some of the largest parks in the U.S. To reiterate, with a possible few exceptions somewhere in the country, the largest water parks do not allow ESAs, only PSAs.

Family at a water park 2

Unlocking PSA Status for Your Dog

Do you have a disability that your dog, if trained to do one or more tasks, could help relieve? If so, we recommend our budget-friendly service dog training program, I Train Academy. I Train is 100% online, so you and your dog can work together to complete it from the comfort of your home, in as little as 15 minutes each day.

I Train Academy combines Obedience Training and Service Dog Task Training to give your animal a comprehensive training experience. And once you complete the training modules, you can receive your certificates of completion for both Obedience Training and Service Dog Task Training. You can print and carry the certificates with you to water parks or other venues you visit with your service animal so that you can, if requested and along with a doctor-signed letter, share this documentation for your service animal.

Learn more about I Train Academy today!

I Train Behind the Scenes

Note: The policies included in this article are excerpts from individual water park websites as of May 2023. Policies are subject to change, so please check your preferred water park’s policy before you visit the park with your animal.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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