08 January 2010

Lessons from a Theme Park...

Seeing as how most of the school holidays have involved staying at home doing DIY, recovering from Christmas and getting ready for camping, we thought we'd better make an effort and actually take our kids somewhere. You know, actually do something with them.

To make up for our (almost) total lack of effort in the fun stakes, we splashed out and took them to NZ's Premier Theme Park: Rainbow's End (woop woop). OK, you Queenslanders, Californians and Floridians... stop laughing. It's the best NZ has to offer and the kids don't know that it's a bit sad as theme parks go internationally. They were majorly amped OK?

Hey us Kiwis are simple folk. I still remember my nephew saying to me, after we visited Owlcatraz (which really really sucked): "Aunty Simone, was this your best day ever???" See. Simple folk. Easy pleased.

OK, now back to my story:

We did the regular Theme Park stuff...

...stood in queues...

...rode the rollercoaster (the kids went on three times and loved it)

...ate candy floss...

...and learnt a few things about our kids while we were there...

This little guy just loves cars, trains, anything with wheels. He just loved the "Carwash Convoy" in the kids area - must have rode it 10 times. In fact refused to leave and had to be bribed.


What we learnt from him was how your heart can just blow up to 15 times its regular size and threaten to burst with love and joy when you are watching your gorgeous kid enjoy something so much. (In fact watching the three of them together we were fairly bursting with pride at how gorgeous they all are and how much we love them).

Scrag completely missed his daytime sleep and did he whinge or complain?? No not once. He is truly the happiest baby in the world and we are the most blessed-est people to have him.

Miss Fab (a.k.a. Princess):
Our daughter is the Queen of Courage. She is a can-do girl. Ride the roller coaster?? No problemo. Let's do it again? You bet!
How about the Fear Fall? Yeah, why not. Hey, that was great! Daddy why are your knees knocking together??!
What about the Dodgems? Mummy can I have a turn driving? Sure.

Sometimes we forget that she's only five. She's so tall she qualified for nearly all the big rides and went on them fearlessly. So when she asked to drive her own Dodgem car, I thought, why not?
I was waiting with Dash in the Bumper Boats queue, so Daddy took Miss Fab and Scrag Dodgem-ing. When they came back, Miss Fab was shaken and crying. It had not gone well at all. All the other drivers kept crashing into her. She got stuck in the middle and Daddy couldn't rescue her. His heart broke as he watched her tears; he managed to grab the attendant and got him to rescue her.

Last night Mr G and I sat on the couch and reviewed our day. It was a great day. A special day together as a family. But Mr G still felt heart-sore over Miss Fab's Dodgem Distress. To see his daughter crying and being unable to help? Broke his heart. And helped us both remember that as bolshy, loud and seemingly fearless as our Miss Fab is, she is still underneath it all a tender precious little girl who doesn't always know her own limits.

The King of Persistence. Dash got it in his head that he really wanted to have a go on the Bumper Boats. Nobody else wanted to, but he was determined. So I said, "Well it looks like a long queue, but if you really want to go, then you can line up by yourself. I'll wait over here."
So he waited. And waited. And Waited.

Each time the line moved I went over and checked that he hadn't been pushed in front of and was doing OK. Well! Not only was he determined to wait in that one hour long queue (for his 3 minutes on the Bumper Boats) but he had made friends with another kid (Cowboy Hat guy) in the queue and his family. Cowboy Hat must have been 11 or 12 years old, but he and Dash were chatting away like old cronies. Dash didn't even notice his mummy checking on him.

Boy o boy the look on his face when it was his turn! Off he raced, totally enjoying himself on the water with his new buddies.

I was blown away by his commitment, his patience... and his social skills!

When it was over, Dash and Cowboy Hat gave each other a high five and went their separate ways. I am so amazed at my seven year old son's social confidence. And Thankful - because it will take him Far.

Who knew you could learn all that about your kids at a Theme Park?

P.S. Owlcatraz is a real place, near Shannon in the Horowhenua; it's a kind of Owl sanctuary with a (really sad mottley) petting zoo and miniature railway. Click here if you don't believe me... :)

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Unknown said...

Oh that's great! Owlcatraz???? HAHAHAHA. We call candy floss "cotton candy" over here. And poor poor princess!!! That just breaks my heart to pieces! I hope she's okay now. All in all, looks like a great day!

Weza said...

I remember my first visit to rainbows end, I loved it!Tis a good starter theme park for us kiwis.
Looks like a great day, how good are you noticing so much about your kiddies.

Widge said...

My kids dream of going to rainbows end. I still have never been to Auckland yet!
we did the rides at Caroline bay and our kids had a ball too and you are right, you do learn new things about them at places like these. Mine had to wait for the bumper boats for an hour too! even in Timaru!! and by the time it was there turn the boat numbers had dropped from 5 to 3 because they were breaking down.

Looks like a fab day had by your family that will be in their memory banks for years :)

PaisleyJade said...

What a cool day - we must take our kids there oneday. I remember going there when I was young with my brother and cousins... one cousin was really cocky standing up on the bumper boat and fell into the water!

Special moments - your kids are all so precious and cute. Such neat memories to have stored on camera (and your blog).

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. Your children showed a lot of resilience! Sounds like a greaty time was had by all :)

Lyns said...

What a great day! I love theme parks and LOVE rollercoasters, but haven't been to Rainbow's End. Might give it a go next time we're in Auckland.

Savvy-Motherhood said...

HEY!! Looks like a good time. I left a reply in my comments on my blog! that would be amazing wouldn't it! How cool would that be!

Anonymous said...

fun fun fun!!!

kestrel said...

Good fun and good shots. I would not have gone on the roller coaster, the kids did it 3 times, amazing. I took the kids out to the water park followed by the day park. My daughter finally walked on the suspension bridge, but screaming all the way.

count it all joy said...

You crack me up. Owlcatraz? Is that for reals? You are the best parents EVER for taking three kids to a theme park. Looks like you were having as much fun as they were. I hope Princess has recovered...what a brave girl. Meredith xo.

Melissa @ www.thebestnest.co.nz said...

Yay for such a great family review! I haven't been there since I was young but have such fun memories of it (and yes, I've been to both Florida-theme-park-land and LA's Disney). I have been thinking about taking Ethan(5) but wasn't sure if he would enjoy it too much. He has a good behavior reward trip coming up so this might be an option!

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