Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Adventure & Amusement

We spent 10 1/2 hours at an amusement park on a day the best index was more than 100 degrees. I should have known it would be ridiculously hot because that's what always happens when we chose an outdoor activity in St. Louis in the summer. Duh, I know. But the Midwest is unpredictable, really; it was 82 the other day.

Anyway. Despite my introductory statement, 'twas a fabulous day for our group of three adults and five kids who range in age from almost 4 years to 8 years. If you're a long-time reader, you've heard lots of stories about Jaclyn and I and our five kids in five years when there was a time we weren't sure either of us would have one. Add this one to the memory books!

That's how we roll.

Speaking of rolling, two of my favorite parts of the day involved roller coasters.

1. Everyone in my family of four is at least 42 inches tall. Hello, real roller coaster for us! This is the kind of milestone worth celebrating! So we did! On Pandemonium!

2. My 7-year-old girl rode Boomerang, an intense roller coaster with Jaclyn and I. She won't admit she loved it, but I'm so proud of her for willingly going with is while Greg hung out with the other four kids at a playground. "It tickled my belly! Too much!" was her response when the coaster came to a screeching halt after six upside loops – three going forward and three repeating the course backward.

(Also. Jaclyn and I asked her to take a photo of us afterward. She took the phone and then as she was snapping said, "I'm sorry if these are blurry; my hands are still shaking." They were blurry. But who cares. Adventure was had!)

I realize the peak of amusement park season is ending, but, shhhh, we aren't talking about how school will start soon. Jaclyn and I originally planned this trip because our three oldest kids had free admission tickets from a reading program their schools participated in last semester. Cate reads constantly, so I knew when she brought home the form reading the hours necessary would be well worth it. Turns out it was a $58.99 value per those three kids who are all taller than 48 inches!

So how about some tips for tackling an amusement park with children?

1. Bring snacks. Like the Airheads and Fruit Snacks I had tucked away in my backpack. You will likely find yourself in a long line, possibly in the blazin' hot sun. Distractions (sugary ones!) may be necessary.

2. If a water park is involved, wear your swimsuit. Even if that involves purchasing or borrowing a respectable, comfortable coverup. I wish I had. Changing from sweaty clothes into a swimsuit in a cramped bathroom stall isn't my idea of fun and I wished I dressed like Jaclyn did. Greg and Ben wore their swim suits all day, which worked out well.

3. The 3:5 ratio is good for adults to kids. And mostly sticking together was preferred with our group. When we split up, it was just for one ride at a time and we stayed close to the same vicinity.

4. If you're hesitating about a stroller, bring one. Especially if the kid in question is coming off an illness.

5. Get your money's worth. Well, you know, the best you can. Greg and I ended up picking up dinner for the four of us on the way back to our hotel and eating around 10 p.m. It was worth not buying a second severely over-priced meal at the park but letting the kids exhaust themselves and the opportunities there. Plus we fed them sugary treats around 6:30 p.m. to tide them over.

Oh and, hey, if you're thinking of going to an amusement park on a date without your kids, that is an option too. Greg and I have done it twice {2008 & 2013}. But, you know, the amusement park outing with kids also is a welcomed adventure.

What summer adventure have you enjoyed lately? Are you a roller coaster fan?

With this post, I'm joining Beth Stiff at Simply Beth, who shares today about her favorite summer activities in her weekly Get To Know You series. Amusement parks are definitely among my favorite summer activities. And then on Wednesday, I linked it with Beth's Three Word Wednesday.

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  1. So much fun in this post. Sounds like a fabulous time was had. Btw, you usually need to force me to go on a roller coaster. Not my cup of tea but afterwards I'm usually smiling too. Love your family. xoxo

  2. KristinHillTaylor7/31/2014 8:49 PM

    You're so sweet, Beth! I'm happy to drag you along on a roller coaster - sounds like a good reason to get together! :) I loved that my post fit your Monday post and then I named it a three-worded title not thinking about how it would then fit you Wednesday one. :)

  3. I think I actually enjoy amusement parks more as a grownup than I did as a kid. Maybe I'm braver? Love summer fun and your tips. And I'm always loving a reason to wear a swimsuit with a cute coverup. Just feels so summery!

  4. KristinHillTaylor7/31/2014 10:02 PM

    So. Where do you get a cute, comfortable coverup? :) Thanks for reading, Beth!

  5. I usually go with a sundress. Something I wouldn't really wear as a dress itself because it's shorter than I typically wear or strapless (& I couldn't wear regular undergarments with it) or thin. But with a swimsuit underneath... perfect! Happy shopping!

  6. KristinHillTaylor8/01/2014 7:50 AM

    Yes, these are good points. Now I just need some time to browse for such! :)