Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Watch your step as you climb out of your teacup"

"Please remain seated until the barn stops spinning and comes to a complete halt..."

"Keep your hands, feet and head inside your fish at all times."

All phrases you're unlikely to ever hear, except possibly when drunk, or...

when at Story Land!

That was where we went for our long weekend. Story Land is an amusement park especially geared toward the two-to-ten crowd. At Story Land, nobody bats an eyelid when ride operators say things like the above - the title was from a ride called "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party", the second from "The Crazy Barn", and the last from "The Flying Fish".

We spent a lot of time on the rides, sometimes almost a tenth as much time as we spent waiting in line to get on those rides! This was our third year at Storyland, and we decided that next year, we'd do something that involves less waiting and more doing.

But Summy had fun most of the time. She loved the crazy barn best (this barn shoots upward on a pole, then spins while going up and down like crazy). It seems she especially enjoys those rides that involve more people, when she can smile at and laugh and yell with them.

She is more adventurous than we are - she wanted to go in a really nauseating spinning turtle ride. Last year Kiran went with her, but this time he knew better. Last year, I was standing by as the kids came out of the ride crying, saying "That was awful", and gagging. So I wouldn't go in that ride either. She said, "Then I can do it all by myself." because she saw some of the big kids do it. I'm sure she can, but she'll have to wait.

She was sized up at all the rides - really. Many rides required kids to be atleast 36" tall, and she is about 36.5". She was not at all offended when people stopped her to measure her.

It is always nice to be in a place where everything is kid-friendly. For example, the bathroom policy - questions like "Is that lady going to potty for peepee or poopoo?" are ignored. The noise policy - yelling, screaming mandatory. And so on.

The food was "kid-friendly" too, meaning there there is a strictly enforced ban on vegetables (If you are caught smuggling veggies in in a picnic basket, you have to go on the spinning turtle ride. This explains why there is a line for this ride even though nobody seems to actually enjoy it). Once we saw a farmstand style snack kiosk with pictures of corn, carrots, and apples on the outside - but all the fruit in the menu was available only inside a pie or a pastry (absolutely no veggies, ofcourse!). We lived on ice cream, fried dough, and french fries the whole day. Summy was craving rice and vegetables by the time we were back home.

To really really make it kid-friendly, the gift store door has a sign that says, "Please finish eating your food or smoking your cigarettes before entering the store." That's right, you little rascally toddlers and preschoolers, put out your Marlboros before coming in. There was even a toddler sized ash tray to make it more convenient for the shorter smoker. Ha ha, no, I am 'kid'ding about the ash tray. But the sign on the door is real. It seemed incongruous in Story Land. If a grown-up even thought of going into the kiddie gift store with a lit up cigarette, should s/he be in Story Land in the first place?

We stayed until Summy was so tired that she was just going through the motions of getting on the rides. She even tried to lie down on the carousel horse. When we decided to leave, and she just went through the motion of saying "I want to stay. I don't want to go.", then cooperatively climbed into the car seat and was asleep half a second later.

The night before, we had stayed at an inn right by the Saco river. We went to look at the river which had crystal clear water, allowing us to see every grain of sand and every little pebble on the riverbed. In Dora speak, it was the "icy cold river". Summy had fun exclaiming "How can we get to the other side?", then pointing to the boat, just like Dora. (there was a stack of canoes, oars, and lifejackets right beside the river, that delighted her).

A nice holiday - now we are looking forward to the next one.

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