Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Amusement Parks

We had a heck of a week last week. A week ago Sunday, my wife sung with the Sounds of Pittsburgh Chorus - well, her quartet did. SoP is the other Sweet Adelines group across town, and they were performing at Kennywood! In exchange for the performance, each person gets free tickets for the amusement park! We jumped on that opportunity - I'm so glad that we're friends with the Sounds. They're neat people.

The day went pretty much as expected. We arrived at noon, hit Kiddieland immediately, and let the kids run wild. It was pretty awesome! The Baby was really into the rides and had a great time. His favorite was the flying elephants, mostly because he loves elephants. The boys ran from ride to ride enthusiastically - the lines in Kiddieland are usually non-existent (lots of kids can go on each ride at a time). At 2, when the chorus was ready to perform, The Baby passed out on my back and Little Bear passed out in the stroller. The Boy grudgingly sat and watched the performance. Midway through the performance, the skies opened up in a massive rainstorm! The boys woke up and started to freak out a bit, so we went home to rest and finish naptime.

After naptime, The Boy and I went back to the park. The rain had just stopped, and the crowds had left the park. It was utterly amazing - we had no lines for anything! The longest we waited was about seven minutes for a rollar coaster. It was epic. We went on the Log Jammer - the log flume - three times in a row without waiting. The Boy ran - sprinted - through the funhouse three times without slowing down. We covered just about every single ride that he was tall enough to ride! At 9:30 (we had been back to the park for 4.5 hours), the rides close for fireworks... and he was upset about that! We watched some fireworks then went home to bed. It was an amazing night. I freely admit to having chills during the fireworks - it was a massive flashback to the night that he and I went back to the Magic Kingdom during our Make-A-Wish trip. It was that kind of night.

Tuesday night, we drove to Harrisburg so that, on Wednesday morning, we could drive to Sesame Place! Sesame Place is about 260 miles from Pittsburgh - way, way closer to New Jersey and Grandpa's house. We expected to arrive at Sesame Place around 11-ish and head back north around 2, if we were lucky. We arrived at noon (slow moving morning), and - to my immense surprise - didn't leave Sesame Place until almost 7! The boys were so amazingly good. Again, morning rain had washed most of the crowd away, so the park was remarkably un-crowded.

(Then again, it could have been the price. If Grandma didn't sponsor the trip, then we could not have gone. I mean, $60 a person, no kids' prices? That would have been $240 just to get in, without talking about food.)

The park is so incredibly well-designed for little kids! The Boy was big enough to go on most rides by himself, and Little Bear was big enough to go on everything with an adult. The Baby could go on most things with an adult. The highlights of the day: Elmo's World Live, where The Boy was recruited to dance in a yellow vest during the actual show! He got to dance with Elmo. This makes 3 for 3 in terms of Musical Family participation in Elmo's World: the first year, Little Bear was the baby in "Let's ask a baby!" The next two years, The Boy was dancing on the floor with other kids. Good thing he's cute.

We loved the water slides, which were tube-related. We loved the Count's Water Castle, which had little slides that the older boys could do by themselves. Best part about that: there's only one entrance/exit to there. I sat there, playing goalie to the kids, and napped for 20-30 minutes in the middle of the day. The climbing nets were a big, big hit - we even lost The Boy for about twenty minutes on the net at the end of the day, much to our chagrin. And, meeting Elmo and Abby was a big, big hit.

All in all, it might actually be worth the $300 it'll cost to get in next year - not sure, but it might, particularly since I know now that we can last an entire day. The kids are at the PERFECT age for this park, so we might as well take advantage of that.

The rest of our vacation was find - easy trips, even considering that we drove back to Pittsburgh with a Little Bear who had a 101 degree fever. Grandpa was happy to see the boys, and he was ready for us to go when we did. We had a nice little birthday party for the kids, where we saw some of our friends. We watched the barbershop contest, off and on, for the weekend. The Wife took the kids to temple down in Scotch Plains, and we had an impromptu July 4 party with some great friends. Definitely worth the trip.

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