Today was amusement park number three. Today we are going to Knott's Berry Farm. Being from Colorado I had only the slimmest of grasp on what to expect from an amusement park named after a berry farm. Some guy I worked with said, "Oh, it's just like Elitch's here in Denver. The kids will love it." Evidently I considered this enough endorsement to plan to spend an entire day there, with no back up plan. Oh, well the kids are nearly 7 and 2 1/2, how difficult to please could they be. If there were rides equal to a roadside carnival and a berry patch to stomp down, they would be happy.
As was our pattern we arrived not long after the park opened and procured the needed map.
Fish in the pond.
A quick scan found the kid-friendly named CampSnoopy. So we took off for the land of the Peanuts to see what there was to do at camp. It turned out to be a nice little mini-amusement park geared towards kids who were too little to ride the Boomerang and other such roller coasters. As this was my target audience we spent the next few hours bouncing from one spinny ride to another, watching the kids go round and round, and making sure that we waved each and every time they made an appearance from the dark side of the carousel. They had a blast, and we had a good time too. Both Margo and I got to ride on the occasional ride, to comfort the baby, of course.
Sometime around the hour we had pretty much seen all that Snoopy and his pals had to offer.
Jessi and a coin operated horse. Giddyup!
Plus my oldest daughter had been gazing longingly at the big kid rides, hoping she was the right stature to ride some of them. She was in luck; one of the first ones we decided to try was called the Sky Jump. This was a simulated (it had a canopy) parachute drop. You got in this car/cart/gondola like thing. When you and your fellow daredevils were secured the mechanism hauled you and your cart straight up, like you were being retrieved from the bottom of a well. At the top, there was short wait, undoubtedly to heighten your sense of doom, and then it dropped it you. Of course, everything was in tight control, and it was actually a little on the tame side. I don't recall any negative Gs, but Jolene loved it. She screamed and had a grand time.
Lunch was beckoning, so we grabbed a Snoopy burger, or something along that line and ate a quick lunch. I'm usually the first done, and as Jessi, the toddler/baby, had decided to take a short nap, I wandered over to the aforementioned Boomerang. I could tell by the infamous "You must be this tall" sign, which suggested death or dismemberment to the short, that Jolene could not ride.
Come on cow, lets go!
But, I could. The line wasn't too bad, so about 30 minutes later they were loading me into a roller coaster car. The Boomerang starts you at the top of a very steep hill. No climb for the coaster, you did that on the stairs to get there. So as you gaze down you see that the bottom of the hill is followed by a loop, and another loop, you are turned a complete revolution, and then you go up another hill, and stop on top, right on a set of tracks that is now right beside those you just started from. I knew what to expect when I got in line, but at this point I was questioning the wisdom of doing this right after lunch. Too late. Zoom-Loop-Loop-Twist, and Climb. The ride had been pretty short, but it was only half over. They don't call this the Boomerang because it was made in Australia. Someone threw the reverse lever and we shot back down the track. I could now see what it was like to see the back of someone's screaming head. The tracks that I was now facing suddenly turned upside down as we went through our revolution.
Doesn't she look thrilled?
One backwards loop, another, and then we backed up the hill, and the ride was over. Then it was back to the family so we could continue the day. I had had enough roller coasters for one day.
August in southern California is hot. Not Phoenix, Arizona hot, but short of the Sahara, what it? Still what is better on a hot day than a water ride? Knott's Berry Farm had recently installed just such an animal.
Jolene and Jessi
It was called Big Foot Rapids. On this ride you got on a custom built inner tube looking device. It was circular like a tube, but had seats facing the center. In the center, where the hole should be, was a table looking thing for you to hold on to. After everyone is buckled in you are sent down a theme park river, filled with man made rapids, to bounce, spin and splash you about. Those never seem to splash the occupants too much. Towards the end, however, there is a waterfall on one side of the river. It is up to chance who might be in just the right spot, if anyone, to get full benefit of the free shower. Our tube was lucky enough to go underneath it, but we were only caught a glancing blow. We got a good splash, but did not get soaked.
We spent the next few hours either backtracking to CampSnoopy, or looking for rides that Jolene was tall enough to ride.
This was the ride the Jessi cried her way on.
There were plenty of those, and actually the ones she couldn't were the exception. Towards twilight we ran into one that gave us some trouble. It was a simulated ballon ride, with a gondola underneath. You would strap to kids in the gondola, and around and around it would go. It seemed pretty tame to look at. But it was height regulated, and we missed the sign. I think the ride was in CampSnoopy, so Jolene was plenty tall enough. The issue was with Jessi. She was evidently borderline when they measured her at the front of the line. Her sister was already loaded up, and anticipating a good ride, when the guy told us Jessi was too small. We had to tell her, and she started with the crocodile tears. Those tears have been known to persuade her father (yes, that is me) to buy the piece of junk toy at the front of the store, or to go back to McDonalds and get the Orange drink.
Ride's over. Everyone lived.
This is particularly true when the tears are accompanied by the quiet sniffles that do not signal a fit, just exteeemeeee disappointment. It was at this minute I knew that I was going to be in trouble when she hit her teens. The guy who had just finished telling us she couldn't ride, picked her up, put her in the seat, and apologized to her. She of course rewarded him by turning off the water and brightening up a degree or two. Then when the ride started and she was laughing and yelling to her sister, his smile was bigger than hers.
That was pretty close to our last ride of the day. Three amusement parks in three days. The one the girls had been looking forward to since we told them where were going was tomorrow, Disneyland!
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