We were up reasonably early, but we did sleep in a bit. Today we were going to go to Six Flags-Magic Mountain. We plan to visit a different amusement park each day. Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Disneyland would follow on the next three days. But today was Six Flags. Back home in Denver we have just two amusement parks, Elitch Gardens and Lakeside. Both are smaller than Six Flags, but Elitch's is close. As such we figured we could handle it.
We arrived and about the first thing we did was see Daffy Duck. Both girls noticed him and wanted to get closer. Evidently Daffy Duck must emanate some sort of aura that effects the very young. Because at first both girls seem to share the same level of desire to meet Mr. Duck. Nearly seven year old Jolene confidently walks towards him.
Margo trades me in for a new husband
2 1/4 year old Jessi never lets got of her mother's hand, and does not drag her along. She walks at an almost reluctant pace. As they get close to duck striking distance, Jessi's free had goes to her mouth and she begins to chew on a finger or two. This must act as an antidote for the aura as it seems to give her courage to go on. Jolene strides up to Daffy and is rewards with tickles, and head rubs, and a duck hug. Jessi never releases Margo's hand or get with in range of the ducks grasp. She just continues to utilize her finger talisman and to watch her sister with a combination of envy and wariness. Wariness was the eventual winner, as she never touches Daffy. She settles for returning Mr. Duck's good-bye wave, with her sister. Dad gets some nice video of the exchange.
The next few hours are spent moving from one Kiddie Ride to another.
Jolene and Jessi
Because Jessi is still so small, we didn't attack the older rides. We staying on the carousel like rides. The ones that went round and round, and basically did nothing. That is until we found the kid size roller coaster. This one made one complete circle, at about 25 yards in diameter, with three hills. It went relatively fast. It would be tame to an adolescent, but to a 6 year old, this was the big time. As luck would have it Jolene and Jessi got the very back seat. Jolene had ridden tame rollercoaster-like rides before, so this was just great for her. Her sister was very enthusiastic, too. She was going to be a big girl. The attendants strapped them in, then yelled "Is everybody ready!" The expected chorus of YEAAAAAH was returned. Then he yelled "Does anyone want to get off?" As if there was any doubt the kids yelled back "NOOOOO".
Another roundy round ride
So they were off. Up one hill, down, up, down, up down, fly into the station. The whole time the kids are yelling. Some are imitation the big kids across the park by putting their arms in the air to show how tough they are. Jessi had not faired as well as I had hoped. The momentum and inertia of the hill kept snapping her head back. So when she got back in the station, she was rubbing the back of neck. This was only going to be a third of the ride. There were still two more circuits to be completed. But, first the attendants had to gauge the willingness of their riders. The two questions were asked and the responses were as expected. But, the attendants had noticed the same thing I had, and made a point of asking Jessi, in a much softer voice "Do you want to go again?" She wasn't sure, but she gave a tiny double nod, with one hand at her mouth.
On the Kiddie Roller Coaster
Then to show that she wasn't scared she put her arms up too. Although she did not do it in adrenalin filled adolescent manner, with both arms straight up, and waving. Her's were in the "Hand's Up" style of the poor guy being robbed in an old western. Her hands were no higher than her ears. Then the train pulled out again. Up-Down-Up-Down-Up-Down, around the bend, into the station. More head snapping for Jessi. The questions were asked once again. Jessi did not answer, but as the train pulled out, I thought I saw the smallest nod, in answer to the "Do you want to get off?" question that had just been answered. But, it was too late. She endured, but did not enjoy the last lap. She didn't cry, but she rubbed the back of her neck. She was later able to explain that she kept hitting the back of her neck on the back of the car.
Turtle at the Petting Zoo. Jessi wouldn't touch it either
This was a good time for a break so we ate lunch, taking full advantage of the overpriced, and highly diverse selection of amusement park food. But, as this type of food is second cousin to candy for a child, and Dad is just a big kid himself, we weren't too put out. Not long after lunch we found the park's petting zoo. A favorite of kids all over, except my baby. While Jolene happily went from goat, to deer, to whatever other cute furball was nearby, Jessi refused to let go of mother. She wasn't even crazy about walking in the same pen as the animals. As it was well cleaned, and 2 year olds are known for the care they take about their environment, I am sure it was not for fear of stepping in something. Nothing her mother would say, from "Look, how soft they feel" or "They feel just like Sugar (family dog)", could convince her to touch on of these completely docile animals.
Where is that Snoopy anyway?
Even when Dad took over, and Mom manned the camera, she was no more willing. We finally gave up, as she would tread closer and closer to a fit as we pushed harder and harder. But, she at least got within touching distance.
The rest of day was spent like the beginning. We went from ride to ride, stopping for a snack or potty break. Jolene and were able to do some of the big kid rides. There was the signature Magic Mountain. A roller coaster that goes in and out of a synthetic mountain. It was fun. Probably our favorite was a water ride call Tidal Wave. You were placed in a large car, that would seat at least a twenty people, and it owuld haul you to the top of a hill. From there you went over and down a steep hill that ended in a large pool of water.
Jolene and I after coming off of the Tidal Wave Bridge
Everyone got splashed and it helped to cool you down from the August sun. The neat part about the ride, is that when you get off you cross a bridge that spans the part of the ride where the big splash is thrown. So if you did not get wet enough, you can linger on the bridge and get soaked by one of the next cars. Jolene & I did exactly that.
Towards the end of the afternoon we went over to Magic Mountain’s Sea Lion Show.
It is not on par with what we saw at Sea World four years ago, but it was still a good show. There was one large sea lion and his trainer. He actually opened the show by coming out on the front stage and rearing up to the microphone. Then a recorded voice, pretending of course to be the sea lion’s opened the show. That got everything set. There was comedy and the ball balancing, and such. She then brought the sea lion up to the front so everyone, from their seats, could get a good look. Then she did a Q & A. There were a lot of questions. On of which, “Was if she (the trainer) had ever been bit” She answered she had, and by this guy here. She said most of the sea lions were cheap shot artists and would bit you on the butt and take off. This one would give you nip and then just look at you as if to say “Yah, I did it”.
They closed the show with the sea lion doing a back flip.
All tuckered out.
Amusement parks are exhausting, especially with two young children. But, we lasted until early evening when we went back to the hotel to collapse. Jessi gave us no trouble about sleeping. She was both exhausted and probably convinced that sleeping in a strange bed was a small price to pay for the fun she really was having. The times she spent on the rides had all been full of smiles, laughs, and waves. Even the roller coaster was something she and sister could share war stories about. Bed was calling. Tomorrow would be Universal Studios.