Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Firsts: First Vacation Stop - King's Dominion, Part 1

On Thursday, July 28th, we embarked on our first summer vacation as a family of 5. Eric had to work, so we waited and left around dinner time, driving just south of Doswell, VA to our hotel.  We thought that we were surely in for a miserable drive when, at our first bathroom stop, Eric accidentally slammed Mackenzie's fingers in the van door (like, REALLY slammed them in the door.  Like, had to open the door to get her fingers out!).  After a fearful scream of shock (Eric's!), many tears (Kenzie's), and much anxiety (mine), we were on our way again with ice packs from the cooler wrapped around Mackenzie's hand. Amazingly, aside from some bloody knuckles and minor swelling, her fingers didn't look too bad by the time we got to the hotel.  For several days, they continued to hurt her if she used them, but no dislocated joints or broken bones - thank goodness!!

We arrived at the hotel late. Much like kids on Christmas morning enjoying the boxes more than the gifts, Markos was super excited just to be at the hotel, ride in the elevator, and run around our suite. We could have saved a lot of money if we'd have just stayed at the hotel for a few days and then gone home. But alas, the other two children are not as easily amused, so after a fairly decent night's sleep, we headed out to King's Dominion Amusement Park early Friday morning.

At the gates at opening time
After making our way through the gates, for the first time ever, we all went to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  The worker explained all about the height of the tower, how much metal it took to build it, yada, yada...but again, the boys were just excited to ride up the elevator - especially when this one had glass walls that you could see out.  Personally, I was just happy that the elevator was air conditioned.  It was just after 10:00 AM and it was already HOT!  Weather forecast prediction was for temperatures to be around 100 degrees and sunny for the entire day.  Not the best amusement park weather, but at least it wasn't storming and at least there is a huge water park in King's Dominion.

The Eiffel Tower at King's Dominion
The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower

The Volcano - Eric's and my favorite ride at the park

After returning from the top of Eiffel Tower, we rode a few small rides that were right along the path to the water park, where we planned to get a locker and store our bags.  Poor Markos was so excited to ride something - anything! - and we couldn't find a ride nearby that he was tall enough to ride.  I rode some yucky, spinning ride with Daniel and Mackenzie.  Nothing like starting the super hot day in the park with a little nausea.  Then, we finally found a carousel that Markos could ride. 
I love you, Daniel.  You know this because I'm willing to ride this with you so that you are allowed to ride.

Markos on his first carousel ride

At this point, there were not many people at the park (smart people stay away on 100 degree days).  Our children have, at many times in the past, begged Eric and I to let them ride the Ferris wheel.  We usually say no.  We do this because we're smart we know that it takes FOREVER by the time you get on, wait for everyone else to get on, ride around for a little while, then wait for everyone else to get off so you can get off.  Yet, on this special day, we decided to say yes because it was a day of firsts...and we figured that it wouldn't take as long as normal because there was hardly anyone in line before or after us.   

the dreaded Ferris Wheel
And yet, when we boarded, the attendant informed us that this Ferris wheel was built in blah, blah, blah; the height of the Ferris wheel is yada, yada, yada; and YOUR RIDE WILL LAST APPROXIMATELY 12 MINUTES!

Ah, yes.  12 minutes slowing turning in the hot sun,
baking like a rotisserie chicken.  

12 minutes in a little hanging basket with 3 children ages 4, 7, & 14,
strapped closely together.

12 minutes where we start out looking like this:

But quickly look like this:

And finally end up looking like this:

Needless to say, the Stark family WILL NOT be riding the Ferris wheel EVER.AGAIN.  We attempted to explain to Mackenzie that someday (when she's 30) and she is dating some fine, young Christian man, that riding the Ferris wheel in the evening with the lights on, where they can sit and talk and gaze into one another's eyes, is a nice thing.  Aside from that, however, the Ferris wheel holds little value in the amusement park world.

After the Ferris wheel torture ride, we quickly made our way to the water park where we spent the next four hours staying under water as much as possible.  Seriously.  Not.Even.Kidding.  We all rode the lazy river - twice.  Eric and the older two did some of the water slides.  We all played in the wave pool, where we quickly realized that we would need to stop at a Target or Wal-Mart en route to the beach to buy a life jacket for Markos to wear at the beach because he was not afraid of the waves AT.ALL.  We played in the big splash house for a long time.  A boys' (and grown man's) dream come true - a place with cargo nets, bridges, slides, buckets of water, giant water guns, etc. where they can run and climb and engage in surprise attacks on unsuspecting people walking below.  Normally, I am mortified when Eric and Daniel dump water on strangers' heads, but at least on this particular day, it was so hot that no one cared.  In fact, it was welcomed.

Unfortunately, we do not own a waterproof camera.  So, on the one hand, we sadly have no photos from this period of the day.  On the other hand, thank goodness, we have no photos of me in my bathing suit from this period of the day.  

Afternoon in water park on 100 degree day 
+ no nap 
+ fear of complete and total meltdown by Markos 
= shelling out some bucks to rent this for the day!  

(best money spent - EVER!)

[Side note:  I was so delirious from the heat after I sprinted across the park to rent this thing, that as I read the sign while the guy asked me what I needed, I accidentally said, "a double wheelchair".   I think it might have been a Freudian slip of some nature.  At first, he looked at me strangely; but after I burst out laughing and said, "oh, I mean a double STROLLER!", he laughed and looked relieved as he said, "I was gonna say, I didn't know we had THOSE!".  He said he thought it was a good idea and that he might suggest it to management.  So, if you go to King's Dominion next year and see a double wheelchair, just know that it was my idea.]

The kiddos, dressed and ready to hit the regular part of the park after four hours in the water park. be continued....

1 comment:

  1. This post had me laugh out loud! If they were handing out double wheel-chairs, I don't know how much money I'd be willing to shell out on a day like that. And, loved the pics of the ferris wheel!!!

    Happy vacation for 5!