I really, really don't like amusement parks. (I'm tempted to use the word hate, but that might be too strong.) But here's the rub... my husband thoroughly enjoys amusement parks, Sea World in particular. We have season passes, and last year Kevin took the kids at least once a month to visit Shamu and all his marine buddies. More often than not, I stayed home to do laundry or write articles or do anything other than spend my day at Sea World.
Today, however, I went. My kids really wanted me to come along, and Kevin just got back from a business trip so we hadn't had any family time together. Plus it's Spring Break so we're trying to build some family memories, right? So I went, fairly willingly.
The first three hours were tolerable. The kids love the Shamu rollercoaster, which it a kids' sized verson of a traditional coaster. It's not too thrilling, but the kids love it. And I got a kick out of watching Caelyn raise her hands up and make goofy faces for the camera. Of course, we didn't buy any of the astronomically priced Adventure Photos, but they were funny to look at. It was great to see Caelyn having a blast, when a year ago she cried and refused to get on that same ride.
Then we went to the waterskiing show, which was pretty entertaining. Those people are quite talented and I enjoyed watching them do their skiing tricks. And watching Jessica, who's the "star" skiier in the show, motivated me to hit the gym. You should see the abs on this girl -- they're amazing.
The park was getting crowded, so I went early to secure seats for the Julie Scardina show. Julie Scardina is the animal expert who brings all the fun animals onto The Tonight Show. She had a host of kangaroos, lemurs, alligators, and other creepy-crawly things. I love animals, but it was the exact same thing as last year. And that's where things went downhill for me.
For the next two hours we battled enormous crowds to watch mediocre shows, and I've watched those shows a dozen times already over the last few years. OK, the Viva show was different because the dolphin totally rebelled and wouldn't perform, so they actually had to cancel the show 10 minutes in. Other than that, it was pure drudgery.
The problem with amusement parks is reflected in the name itself. For you non-Latin students out there, the root "muse" means to think, and the root "a" means not. So amusement means your are spending time NOT thinking. And that's not a concept I embrace.
Actually, I was thinking during my time at Sea World today. I was thinking about all the productive things I could have been doing instead. And I was thinking about how much I am dreading our family trip to Orlando this June. (That story is a whole 'nother blog. I'll come back to that trip, I promise.) And I was thinking that I don't want to raise my children to expect to be entertained. Tomorrow's going to be a non-TV, non-amusement, non-non-thinking kind of day.