We took the kids to Busch Gardens yesterday. The plan was to meet up with KT and Kevin to celebrate Jess's birthday. We'd sort of forgotten about it being a "holiday" weekend (not for us, of course, but there are apparently still plenty of places that get the day off for Columbus Day) so we weren't really braced for the place to be as crowded as it was -- it took us over 45 minutes to get through parking and ticketing, and everything was crazy busy the whole time we were there.
We did eventually meet up with the others. We watched a dance show that terrified Alex, not because of its spooky Hallowe'en theme, but because it was so effing loud. Once it was over, Matt and Penny stayed with them so they could go do big-kid rides, while I took Alex back over to the Sesame Street area.
He had a blast. Since it was just the two of us, I gave myself up to it and let him make nearly every decision about what to do and where to go. We rode Prince Elmo's Tower about six times, and Oscar's Wiggle Worms once, and Gover's roller coaster once, and he spent ten or fifteen minutes getting soaked right to the skin in the water play area, until a show started and its noise terrified him. (That was a theme.)
The only real difficulty is that Alex has not yet given up his afternoon nap, so going without led to a little moodiness, from time to time. But it wasn't too bad (there was plenty to keep him entertained). He was so completely exhausted by bedtime, though, that he didn't even want me to sing when I put him to bed. So I kissed him and went to take my shower, and when I was done, I peeked in on him -- he'd fallen asleep so fast that he was still in the exact same position he'd been in when I left the room.
Next time, I'll remember to pack a swimsuit, or at least a change of clothes for him.
And there will be a next time, because while we were standing in line, Matt and I looked at the price of admission (almost $70) and then at the price of a one-year pass ($100) and decided, what the hell. So now we're all set for casual half-days or evenings or whatever we want to do for the next year. Matt and I want to go back some evening to see the scary parts of Howl-o-scream? Done. Come summer, want to take the kids over to play in the water park for an hour or two, or run in at night just for the fireworks? Done. Matt wants to take Penny to ride a couple of roller coasters some day when she's got a half-day of school? Done.
Plus half-off admission to Christmas Town, which I really want to do this year. Done.
We'll see how much we actually end up using them. Matt's had a year pass and Penny had a summer-long pass already, and I think they only went a couple of times.
But this morning, Alex is still chattering endlessly about how much fun the Elmo ride was. And I've got these great memories of him dashing in and out of the water spouts yelling, "Mom! This is so much fun!" And I think... Yeah. We're totally going back.