My feet hurt! They hurt because we spent Saturday at Knoebels Amusement Park. It was a family day to kick-start summer and to celebrate the boys getting such good grades in school this year.
When we go to Knoebels it's usually in August – right before school starts again. But last August we didn't get to go because Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee left the park with historic flooding and an early closure for the year.
We had about $75 worth of ride tickets burning a hole in the can we store them in; it was supposed to be cool with low humidity on Saturday, so we said – 'let's go!' Plus – now that we've gone, I won't have to listen to Palmer ask me every week this summer, 'When are we going to Knoebels?' He can cross it off his list of things to do this summer.
We had never been to Knoebels until a couple of years ago. But Scot's company held a company picnic there a couple of years in a row – and we really enjoyed it. It's a 'must do' summer activity now.
I'm not a thrill ride rider – I don't go more than five feet in the air, upside down or backwards, and I really don't like rides that go too fast. As I have gotten older, just watching the kids on rides like the Scrambler is enough to send my equilibrium into a tizzy. But I still like to go.
Since there aren't a lot of rides that I will go on anymore, I feel like it's kind of a waste of money for me to pay at a park just to walk around with the kids. But at Knoebels – it's pay as you go.
We even brought some tickets home to save for next year! Everyone rode the rides they wanted at least once (and re-rode a couple). And for less than a half tank of gas, it was a pretty good deal for a family of four.
I did make Brannon ride something he didn't want to (The Haunted House), just so I could ride it. I actually bribed him to do it, and offered him any treat he wanted. That promise could have been dangerous, but this is Brannon we're talking about. Would you like to know what he asked me for? TIC TACS!
It was a gorgeous day, although it was a little warmer up in the mountains than I had expected. It took less than two hours to get there, and the parking was free!
I don't know why, but the park wasn't very crowded at all. The lines were short or non-existent until late in the afternoon. But even then, it wasn't crazy. By 6 p.m. or so – we were all ready to head home. We had a little dinner, gathered our favorite snacks (kettle corn and caramel corn) and headed home.
Because I don't ride too many rides, I spent some time on park benches in the shade. I took pictures, and people watched. And if Scot wasn't riding with the boys, he was sitting with me.
At one point we commented on what is a milestone it was for our little family. The boys headed off to ride, while we relaxed in the shade, and talked (!) to each other (!!) until the boys came to find us. No more standing in line with someone to get them on the ride. How liberating!
The last ride of the day was the Carousel. I needed to document something for Palmer. On his summer bucket list (yep, a bucket list), he has 'Get a brass ring.' Knoebels' Carousel riders have the chance to pull a brass ring as they ride, and Palmer wanted at least one. Once he figured out how to do it - bingo! He got one.
As he reveled in the glory of grabbing the brass ring, I couldn't help but think it was the first of many he will grab. To Palmer it was just a brass ring. To me it was a metaphor. I hope he always goes after the things he wants and takes time to enjoy the moment.
As we do after every fun filled family day, on the ride home we asked each other, 'What was the best part of today?' Was it seeing the smiles on their faces when they came off the Italian Trapeze, sitting with Scot on the bench in the shade, the hug from Brannon mid-way through the day thanking me for taking them or seeing Palmer grab that brass ring? When it was my turn to answer – I just smiled, because I knew I couldn't choose.
'I loved everything about today, because we spent it together,' I told them.
We would love to see a snapshot from something fun you and your family do this summer. Send a photo, and a little bit of information about what makes it a favorite summer memory. You can e-mail your photos to: email@example.com. We'll publish your submissions them in an upcoming edition.