When I was a kid, I was in LOVE with Funtown. The Astrosphere! The Sea Dragon! The fried dough!!!!
Last year we didn't go to Funtown, instead picking York's Wild Kingdom so that we could fit both a zoo and amusement park into the same trip. It was... okay. Fun, yeah, but far away from my sister's house and pretty expensive for rides that literally have not changed one bit in 20 years. Seriously, I don't even think they've cleaned the glass in all that time...
So this year it was Funtown. And I have to admit, I was excited. At the same time, though, I was completely prepared to be disappointed. Either the rides would be old and crappy, or they'd be totally replaced and unfamiliar, and the food would probably be overpriced and awful, and the lines would probably be too long, and we just wouldn't enjoy it.
I was wrong.
So, so wrong.
We only had like 5, maybe 5 and a half, hours. And it felt like minutes....
I could go on about the wonderful emotions the rides brought back, how the feeling of riding the Casino again made me feel like a free spirited tween on the beach for some reason, or how the music from the Astrosphere made me want to run and dance and, iunno, just be young and dreaming about all the wild stuff I'd do in the future.
Yeah, it brought me back. It really, REALLY, brought me back. And even better? I got to see my kids enjoying my own childhood memories.
I can vividly recall driving the Antique Cars when I was very little, probably P's age, and to see P ride them over and over again happily... and go through the boat ride, and the log floom, and the tea cups and squeal on the bumper boats... Yeah, totally awesome. I can't remember back to A's age so no idea if he reacted the same as me, but still, it was quite awesome.
So, instead of prattling on, let me make this post all neat and organized:
High points for Paxton: Riding with cousins, listening to all the staff, making friends easily, having a blast.
Low points for Paxton: None that I recall. Seriously, this place was sheer Heaven for him.
High points for Nik: Rides, tilt-a-whirl, seeing old friends, spending time with both kids, being right about something for once (*grumble grumble*).
Low points for Nik: He may have been right about something for once, but that doesn't keep me from handing him a stinky baby and saying "oh Daddy, looks like it's time for a change!" and running off. Haha, revenge! (because I can never be wrong!) Also he didn't realize we were already off a ride and sat around at one point, missing his last chance to ride the Astrosphere before they closed. Next year honey!
High points for me: Seeing friends, being with family, ASTROSPHERE!!!, reliving childhood, watching kids actually live their childhood, just having a really fun day with many people whom I really love.
Low points for me: Being wrong about something for once (seriously, it was just a stupid debate about what would be in my "veggie sandwich" and I was more pessimistic than necessary), feeling pulled in a few different directions, not enough time!, big sister wouldn't let me go back every day and just pitch a tent and live there (*grumble grumble*), and I'm sure there's something else and maybe I'll whine about it later. Oh, and I forgot to get fried dough and had to settle for cold churros.
He gets a whole section. This? Was a totally new experience for him. Last year when we went to York he was 10 months old and couldn't experience it really, just sort of sat there in an Ergo either sleeping or looking grumpy. This year he was running around everywhere.
He really enjoyed the people, loved holding his cousins hands and screaming "run!" and running headfirst while dragging them along. He really knows how to wrap people around his little finger! My little stinker :)
The rides kind of blew his mind. My sister and I took him to a boat ride, just a small kiddie thing where the boats go around in a circle and you can ring the bell or play with the steering wheel that doesn't do anything. Ambrose was intrigued and walked over happily to investigate, pointing and saying "boat!" The guy in charge came over and asked if he wanted to ride and took his little hand, walking him over to a boat. Ambrose picked out his boat and sat down happily. My baby likes to sit in odd spots.
Then the ride started.
See that death grip on the boat?
Yeah, you can't really tell from a picture, but the kid was practically catatonic. His head wasn't moving. His eyes moved to me every now and then and then they'd just phase out in front of him, half bugged out, in shock.
I'm bad. I laughed. Then I took him off when the ride was done and cuddled him.
Next was the kiddie section, with a carousel. He just wanted to sit on the bench with me, which seemed a little silly since there was no one on the ride (and almost no one at the park!) and it was just going around for two people sitting on an immobile bench. But I've learned from my children that sometimes you need to be a bit wasteful in order to adjust to something new and truly enjoy it later on.
So we went around on the bench while he took it all in. Then we moved on to the helicopters, a ride nearby. You sit in the little helicopter and there's a bar you can pull that lets you go up about 5 feet in the air. Ambrose was scared at first, very scared, but my brave boy wanted to figure this place out. I mean, what was the POINT of all this? Why had we brought him here? How did any of these odd sights and sounds make sense? And why were we all so excited about it? What the heck was going on???
We boarded the little ride after he picked his helicopter and we got situated, again being the only ones on the ride. I was cuddling in as the ride started, just marveling at my sweet little boy. I placed my hand on his side to keep him steady and give him comfort. Without even looking, his little fat hand came to the back of my big hand and pushed it on to his stomach. He squished my hand into his stomach for a second before lowering it back to his lap, as if to say "I am wary but I know I will be safe if you just hold me tightly." He continued to scan the ride and take it all in, trying to process it all, while I just stared at my marvelous little boy. Ah, how I love him!
Soon he figured out how to make the ride go up and while he was still pretty wary about it for awhile, he made it stay in the air most of the time, only letting it go down briefly so that he could experience it going back up. "Back up," he'd say. Or "up high." Not excited, just calm and calculating. My aware little boy needs to figure out his environment before he can really sit back and enjoy.
He rode that thing like 8 times. He was a master of it by the end. And, oh, he enjoyed it!
Also, he got one ride on the Antique Cars.
There was no "figuring it out" time. I think it blew his mind into little bits of sheer joy. I had to pull him off that ride. He was stiff as a board, shrieking like a siren, and pounding me with fists. "Again, again!" The park was closing, they were locking up the rides, but dang I was almost tempted to give in (some how!).
As for the carousel, we did a few more rides. After our initial bench ride, we tried a ride with him on the horse and me beside him. He was upset but put up with it, half sitting on me as it went around. The next ride he was straight on the horse with me there. Our final ride of the night?
He loved having mommy beside him, also on a horse. We were having a "race" he told me. All in all it was an excellent afternoon/night.
Paxton and I have spoken about a dozen times about the rides and what we'll do next year and what was our favorite and can't we just go back? (I'd so love to!) We're pretty much counting the days :)
Ambrose loved the rides by the end. He loved the food and the lights and the sights and the sounds and the whole shebang.
But his favorite part?
He has asked me where D and B are a few times now and claps at their names. Yeah, the boy loves his family, and they love him.
We really have to do this more than once a year!
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