Elitch Gardens and the Usual Calamities

The night before she was so filled with anticipation, even a soft, comfy bed after a long day couldn’t contain her. I had tried to keep Saturday a surprise, but it slipped. We were going to Elitch’s! After seven long months of waiting, and waiting and waiting, Elitch Gardens was finally re-opening, beginning with Season Pass Holder’s Day, Saturday, April 28th.

Every day since the last day Elitch’s had been open in October, Reagan has asked, “Is Elitch’s open yet? Can we go to Elitch’s?” Even a foot of snow on the ground with more still falling couldn’t dissuade Reagan from a day at Elitch’s; what was wrong with everyone else? My answer that it was too cold outside was never adequate and called for the same question the next day. And the next. And the next. So you can imagine her excitement when the day finally came.

I was excited for her. That’s why it was so hard when we almost didn’t go.

Listening is hard. Especially for five-year-olds. We have lots of time-outs when Reagan’s ears are closed, as we did Saturday morning. And then there was the whining, complaining, screaming and just acting out in general. Not a good thing to do on a day we’ve got plans. So, I did what any mom or dad would do. I took the fun away. No Elitch’s. Painful. For her and me.

And, like many parents, my resolve quickly dissolved after Reagan worked me. She apologized for her behavior, offered to draw a chart of when she’s being good and bad, cleaned her room and smothered me with hugs and kisses telling me I was the best mom in the whole wide world. I know when I’m being manipulated. I caved anyway.

It was already 2pm when we got to our first ride with our friends who arrived shortly before us. Reagan loves the Tea Cups. Luckily, today she had 14-year-old Ben to ride with instead of me. I had forgotten my Dramamine.

The Tea Cups at Elitch Gardens

The high that day was 59, but that didn’t stop Ben and Reagan from wanting to ride Ship Wreck Falls. I snapped this photo of them right after their plunge down the 50′ waterfall. Everyone looked happy and relatively dry.

Shipwreck Falls Elitch Gardens

So how was it that when I went to find them at the exit, Reagan came walking out looking like a shivering, drowned rat, completely drenched from head to toe, and crying hysterically while Ben was still relatively dry?

Reagan had shut her ears again.

If you cross the bridge at the exact time another boat hits the water – you are bathed in a tidal wave of icy cold water about 20′ high as seen in this video…

After getting out of their boat, Reagan darted up the stairs and across the bridge despite Ben’s warnings to stop. It took us some time to dry out what we could of her clothes under the hand dryers in the bathroom. I bought her a new shirt at the shop directly across the way while she cried hysterically about how cold she was. Poor thing. There was no drying off in the warm sun that day.

TIP: Turns out, that location is discounted merchandise and Reagan’s new souvenir shirt cost only $5.

Later, a skinned knee brought more tears as Reagan tripped in line for the Thunder Bolt. Could be because her shoes were never dry enough to put back on so she was walking in socks when not in the stroller. Two band-aids later (I knew I carried those for a reason) she dried her tears and hopped right back in line.

It was some time after this that Reagan confessed to Ben’s mom that she should’ve listened to Ben and that she needs to listen to mommy too. All was not lost. Maybe my daughter had learned something that day.

Now it was time for my lesson.

Despite no Dramamine, I rode every roller coaster in the park with Ben, and a couple spinning ones against my better judgement, with both Ben and Reagan. Boomerang, Sidewinder, Twister II, Mind Eraser, The Spider and Troika, made for a long, queasy drive home with the window open that night. I was determined not to be the last calamity of the day.

I almost made it too.

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    • 2


      I kept telling Ben, it’s not me, it’s my age. I don’t know anyone who has gotten older who hasn’t said the same thing about their tolerance for theme park rides, Jenny – it’s just gone! As for how I kept from puking at the park? Tried to put some distance in between rides, drank lots of water and made sure I ate lunch. Other than that, I PRAYED!

  1. 3


    Parenting. That makes me dizzy. Some of the spinning rides have always been a no-go for me, but the coasters, I have always loved. But they beat me up a lot more than I noticed before. Great tip about the shirt shop, or to pack socks, other shoes and a second outfit for the water rides.
    rajean recently posted..Birthdays Teach Us Lessons – Wednesday Words


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