On Thursday we enjoyed a day at the zoo. Even though this was our third zoo trip in the past month, we still saw new things and learned about new animals. We saw black bears (they’d been hiding away on both of our previous visits) and we watched the cougars being fed (yikes, it was actually scary!) and the monkeys were all more active than usual. Brenna used her spending money to buy a pen with four different color options. Joshua bought a tiny alligator that grows when placed in water. Because Maddie has very little money to spend, we bought her a 50 cent alligator. It’s only an inch long and Madalyn is in love. She named her Pinkie Pie. We had a great time at the zoo.
After the zoo, we headed home and decided to check out a new children’s amusement park. We’ve watched it slowly being built over the last several months (we can see it every time we drive by on the freeway) and it finally opened this week. We were very excited by what we found when we finally wandered around the park. Unlike most amusement parks, the entire place was geared towards tiny kids, less than 54 inches tall. Brenna and Joshua could ride every single ride and Maddie could ride with a grown-up accompanying her.
It was 7pm, but the park was open until midnight and everything looked like so much fun. We had intended to just LOOK around, but decided to buy passes and stay. The kids were thrilled. It was a perfect time of day. The park wasn’t crowded and there were no lines to stand in. It was hot and sunny when we arrived at 7:00, but it quickly began to cool off to a nice, comfortable temperature. I was especially glad about that!
We all had a blast at the amusement park. We literally ran from ride to ride, with the kids giggling and squealing in great delight. There were quite a few rides, including a tiny roller coaster, race cars, bumper boats, a “free fall” drop ride, even a swinging boat ride (think a miniature version of Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland), all geared towards little kids.
It was hilarious to watch everyone ride the bumper boats! Rick and Maddie rode together and Brenna and Josh each drove their own boats. They all got soaking wet, especially Rick and Josh. Braden stood with me next to the pool and watched. He kept giggling and pointing and shouting “Oh, Dada wet! Joshy wet! Kids wet!” Rick had to dry out the contents of his wallet after we got home!
Another big hit was the roller coaster. Brenna was a little shocked by the first ride and the look on her face made me nervous that she’d be sick. But she felt more secure on the second ride. The roller coaster ended up being a big hit with all three kids (and even Daddy) and they rode it again and again and again. Braden loved watching and he nearly jumped out of my arms each time it roared past us.
Rick and I had a great laugh when the kids rode the race cars. Maddie was too small to drive and there was only one seat in each car so she couldn’t ride as a passenger either. She was disappointed, but rode on the planes instead and enjoyed that. The older kids were hilarious as they drove, and we really got to see their personalities shine. Brenna, with her more cautious personality, puttered along as slowly as a little old lady. Joshua floored his car the entire time. He zipped around like crazy, lapping Brenna repeatedly. He actually maintained great control as he flew around the race course. Several people commented about how fast he was going and how well he was driving. Rick and I just couldn’t stop laughing as we watched our kids because it their driving styles were “classic Brenna” and “classic Joshua.” And we joked that we will really be in trouble when our pedal-to-the-medal Josh gets his driver’s license!
Joshua also loved the rock wall. It was about 30 feet high and definitely not geared towards young children. There was nothing easy about it at all. But Joshua has wanted to climb a rock wall ever since he saw the one at the rec center near our home and he was determined to give it a try. Joshy scaled the wall like a pro. We were amazed and impressed. It was incredible to watch such a tiny kid climb so high so fast. He rang the bell at the top and then rapelled back down the wall like he did such things on a daily basis. He came off the wall with an enormous grin on his cute face. The employee who was managing the wall said that kids who are much older than Josh don’t even climb as well as he did. Joshua beamed.
We played putt-putt golf and the kids rode every ride at least twice. There were several rides (like the rollercoaster) that they rode over and over again. The sun set and the sky grew dark. There is something magical about a warm summer night spent in the glow of amusement park lights. I loved watching my kids come alive with delight over each ride. I loved being there together, making wonderful memories.
Finally, around 11pm we left for home. We fed the kids a light snack and then stayed up even later and played our new karaoke Wii game together. It was the first time we’d played it and we really enjoyed it. Brenna did incredibly well. I was amazed at her ability to read the words and follow the melody on songs that she’d never even heard before. She got a lot of really high scores and did great. Joshy doesn’t read as well as Brenna does and Madalyn doesn’t read at all so the game was harder for both of them, but they still enjoyed playing. It was nearly 1am before we put anyone to bed! But sometimes a great family memory is worth nixing a normal bedtime.
I’ve been ignoring all of my pregnancy cravings in an effort to save money. But Friday- at Rick’s insistence- we indulged my recent IHOP craving. As usual we had a great time eating out together.
Afterwards we went to a parade for an annual event in our town. We got a great spot, right next to a parking spot and next to the park so the kids could play while we waited. We enjoyed snow cones to help us cool off. The kids enjoyed watching the parade and especially loved dashing out to scoop up candy as it was thrown.
After the parade we hurried home and played our karaoke game again. I took an ice cold bath. We let the kids have a movie night while Rick gave me a back rub and we watched TV together.
On Saturday there’s another parade and a family fun day in the park. We’re planning to attend both. It will be a great way to round out our fun weekend.