Yesterday Scott took the day off from work so we could spend 1 last day of summer having fun as a family at Adventureland.
It rained, most of the day, and ended up never getting warmer than 70 degrees, but that didn't stop us from riding, and re-riding, rides for over 7 hours. In fact I've only been to an amusement park 1 other time when lines at rides were a total non-issue as we experienced yesterday. When Scott and I first moved to KC we spent a day at Worlds of Fun...in the rain....with no lines. I'm thinking rainy days are the way to go. Once you experience a no line day at the amusement park, it kinda spoils you for any other type of day.
Admittedly, we went to the park yesterday a little under prepared. Since the forecast was for scattered showered and highs in the mid-70s, we dressed in quick dry summery clothing and packed our swim bag in hopes of spending the afternoon in the water park. After walking to the front gates of the park from our car, our first stop in the park ended up being the clothing store for long sleeves for the girls. It was one of the best decisions that I think had a big impact on the general success of our day. By day's end, after a lap full of COLD water, thanks to the log ride (poor Brea got a face full, so I shouldn't complain), and half an hour spent in the car with the heat on to warm-up and dry off, I too visited the clothing store for longer sleeves.
Side note: We were actually pleasantly surprised at the price of merchandise and food once we were in the park. Expecting crazy inflated prices much like one pays at the ball park or movie theater, we were surprised to find rather reasonable prices on the few things we did purchase.
It became pretty apparent early on during our day just how small, safe, and quiet we have lived our lives since having kids. Brea is not one for loud noises and unexpected scares, as we experienced on our first ride as a family, the Underground. Lexi on the other hand is not a fan of any thing that suddenly, or repeatedly, requires you to change directions, which basically includes every "thrill" ride. As parents we were totally charting new territory. Not being big fair going, carnival rides riding people, and not previously having taken the girls to an amusement park because of the cost (outside of the 1 time Lexi went at aged 4 when she only rode the kiddie rides), we weren't sure how to introduce our girls to the big rides beyond just talking them into going on them. So of course we decided the best route of introduction was to go from the Frog Hopper (kiddie ride for Brea), to the Underground (story based enclosed "mine shaft" coaster ride), right to the Space Shot. The line was short. We could all 4 sit togeher. Why wouldn't it be a good choice?
Let me share with you how to go from feeling like a pretty good mom, to the world's worst mom in a matter of 3 seconds. Sit between your 2 children, children who totally trust you to keep them safe, children who you have talked into riding an amusement park ride because "would I let them do anything that was not safe?", while they are suddenly shot into the air at a high velocity. To my left sat my 8-year-old screaming and crying uncontrollably, obviously freaked out of her mind with terror. To my right sat my 12-year-old whose face had turned as white as the cloud covered sky above us, eyes the size of dinner plates, telling me she was gonna throw-up, gonna throw-up, GONNA THROW-UP! (She did not. Thankfully.) And because having this experience once wasn't enough to test my fragile maternal heart, we talked them into strapping into the "calmest" of the 3 big roller coasters, the Tornado, because "it's just like riding in a car that's going up and down big hills really fast." Right?
Before I go any further, let me tell you about my own amusement park experiences. I did not grow up in an amusement park visiting, carnival ride riding family. Looking back from the perspective of adulthood I realize it was more likely than not because we could not afford such experiences. I vaguely remember that we might have visited Elitch Gardens in Denver when I was very young. I don't actually remember riding any rides, although I have this random memory of a dragon shaped small kiddie roller coaster, so I'm not sure if it's an actual memory or simply one my mind has created because it was the only amusement park I was aware of as a kid. Other than random carnival rides rode occasionally during my teen years, my first amusement park experience was a visit to Adventureland with Scott and some of his family the summer after I graduated high school. It was on that trip I discovered I love roller coasters. I mean I really LOVE them. (Which I should have guessed after discovering how much I love to fly after going stunt flying with a classmate's father earlier that same year.) I also discovered I'm not a big fan of spinny rides. Big spins are okay. Tight spins, not so much. So while my own amusement park experiences have been limited to just a few visits to 2 different mid-western parks, I have hopes to someday venture out of the mid-west to ride many, many more roller coasters.
If it weren't for my much calmer husband who was determined to spend this day that he had specifically taken off to spend with his family at the amusement park, and the $140 we'd spent on tickets, I would have wrapped my girls up the moment we got off that first roller coaster ride, repeatedly apologizing profusely, and taken them home to snuggle on the quiet safety of our couch. As it turns out, I'm glad I did not get to give in to that instinct. We dried the tears, visited a few low key rides, enjoyed a bag of warm, delicious cinnamon sugar mini donuts, and ended up having a great day. Other than that aforementioned cold, wet log ride experience, that again ended in tears for Brea (more out of frustration and surprise than fear), we ended the day with many fun memories that I'm sure we'll be talking about for years to come. Brea decided roller coasters are actually pretty fun and ended the day with 3 rides under her belt. She also made us go back to the Scrambler time and time again, during which she laughed and laughed, hands held high in the air. Lexi drives a mean bumper car and, after lots of re-assurance and begging, found out that maybe I DID know what I was talking about when I told her she would love the feeling of quiet flying you get while riding the new 260 foot giant "swing" called the Storm Chaser. We left at day's end tired, hungry, happy, and already talking about what rides will be our first during our next visit.
Scott had to return to work today. The girls and I have some errands to run to get ready for my return to work and the start of Brea's soccer season next week. Our house could also, as always, use a little cleaning. Having slept right through Scott's departure for work this morning, I sent him a text to see how he was feeling today, waking up with only minimal neck soreness myself after getting a bit beaten around on the looping roller coaster, the Dragon, yesterday. He wrote back that he was doing okay, minimally sore and already looking forward to day's end, but glad that everyone seemed to have a fun day yesterday. "Odd to think, but I just want the girls to have FUN memories!" he shared. I replied that I too hope for the girls to have plenty of fun memories of their childhood to carry with them through life, but most of all I want them to remember lots of moments of LOVE.
I think yesterday we helped create both FUN and LOVE filled memories....through the tears...in the rain. I know I will for always remember it as a pretty great day.