Monday, August 5, 2013

You Live Where?: Silver Dollar City

We keep a calendar on the wall in our kitchen to help us keep track of all the comings, going, and doings in our family. Sometimes Justin and I have to be careful what we write up there, because the kids will see it and then hound us until they've worn our patience down to a nub. This summer, I put a trip to Silver Dollar City on the calendar in part to make sure I remembered to block my calendar at work and take the day off, but also because I read an article at the beginning of the summer that one of the ways to make summer feel longer and to enjoy your vacation more, is to savor the anticipation of a fun day. Mission accomplished.

Last week I took two days off from work in the middle of the week to try and spend some time with the kids. After Disney in 2012, we figured this would be a low key summer as far as vacations go. Combine that with a work schedule that has been borderline over the top crazy, and I just haven't been able to find much free time. A local vacation was just the ticket, so off we went.

When people are unfamiliar with Northwest Arkansas, I tend to use the phrase "the foothills of the Ozarks" as a way to efficiently convey not just spot on a map, but topographical features, as well. Boy, did we get our fill of the foothills - Silver Dollar City is in Branson, Missouri, so we had a bit of a drive to get there. Google Maps led me astray with the shortest possible route, and all four of us were car sick from the ups, down, twists and turns by the time we pulled into the parking lot. Probably didn't help that Caroline was reading in the back seat on the way there, but still...

Queasy stomachs aside, it was time for FUN!! Can't you tell how excited John was?

We got pretty lucky - it was an overcast day, middle of the week, and the crowds and the weather were about as good as you could hope for. Silver Dollar City has a great mix of rides, for kids and adults, but in a park just the right size to do it all in one day if you want to. We started off with the carousel - a perennial favorite.

I love that the kids are big enough to ride rides together, without us. I think they have more fun that way, anyway.

Our day in the park was a great study in the contrasts of the kids' personalities. John and I are roller coaster buddies - he and I love the thrill rides, and finally this year, he's tall enough to ride almost every single one of them. Daddy and Caroline, on the other hand, aren't so much for the drops, twists and turns of roller coasters, so they hang out together while John and I have our hands in the air screaming with delight/fear and meet us at the bottom of the craziest rides.
I was super proud of Caroline when she wanted to try some of the bigger rides. I could almost hear her internal monologue, talking herself into the Giant Barn Swing. This thing is a massive swing on a hydraulic arm that, at its height, has you looking up at your toes and then returning down at almost 50mph. As we waited in line, I could almost feel the anxiety rolling off of her; I kept assuring her she didn't have to ride it, but she told me she wanted to be brave and try it. I was so proud of her - facing your fears and doing something even when you're scared is a tough thing, especially when you're not-quite-8-years-old.


When it was our turn, I sat in between the kiddos while Daddy waited for us. Almost as soon as we started swinging, Caroline very calmly looked at me and said she was "just going to close my eyes," and kept them closed the whole time. Her face was so screwed up with fear that I reached over and put my hand on her leg, and I could feel her whole little body just trembling. Nobody ever tells you before you're a parent that you could feel overwhelmingly proud and equally scared for your child at the same time - but that's just how I felt.

After the ride, Caroline looked up at me with her huge brown eyes and told me that she was glad she did it, but that she didn't think she would do it again. I hugged her and told her, you bet, kiddo - but that I was so proud of her for trying it.

On the flip side, John and I rode all the coasters we could, including Thunderation multiple times in a row because THERE'S NO LINE, MOM!!!!! We skipped Outlaw Run, a massive wooden roller coaster that has dips, turns, loops, barrel rolls, who knows what - John saw it and told me he thought we'd just wait to ride that one until next year. Fine with me, kiddo. I don't know that I could've enjoyed it because I would've been so scared for him. Powder Keg was a back and forth decision - pretty long line, which gave John time to almost talk himself out of it. Sure was glad the girl behind us was able to allay his fears, and of course, he LOVED it.

John's only bummed out moment of the day came when he wanted to ride one more coaster at the end of the day, and we managed to find the one ride that he wasn't tall enough for. My thrill seeking daredevil was on the verge of tears because he was denied the opportunity to have the bejeesus scared out of him.

So what happens when it's the end of a long day, the kids are tired, and we have a two hour drive home in front of us? Funnel cakes and the kids' first root beer floats, of course!!

Even with the crazy busy schedule and no big, planned vacation that involved airplanes and hotel shuttles, this has been an amazing summer. If we'd had some major outing planned, we probably wouldn't have made it to Silver Dollar City, and that would've been a shame. Because now I know that when someone says "You live where?" I can include this little gem in the foothills as one more reason this is an amazing place to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment