Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mixing It Up, Chocolate-Style

In an effort to further one of my New Year's goals, the one where M. and I try to do fun activities with our kids, and where "fun activity" does not equal "shopping," we took the kids to Hershey Park today. Closed for the winter season still, the park was open for a special military appreciation day that allowed not only military service members, but also all DOD employees (like me) to attend. We figured that it was a good opportunity to go see a place we've been meaning to go to, without all the lines and crowds. The fact that the water park section of Hershey Park is not open for the year yet was actually a plus, as I can't imagine doing both an amusement park and a water park all in one day with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old.

M. and I were a bit nervous about going, as Lucy has been more than a handful lately. And Finn has been less than stellar with the whole "listening to what we say and doing what we tell him to do" stuff. But surprisingly, things went very well, and a good time was had by all. The hardest part of the day were the car rides, as the park is roughly two hours from where we live, and Lucy grew weary of being in the car after about 15 minutes. We utilized a slew of snacks and round after round of Raffi's Bananaphone song to get around that, though, and managed to survive each leg.

The park had a LOT of rides for the little kid crowd, which was great, and helped ease Finn's frustration about not being big enough to ride the big roller coasters. There was also a zoo, which was fun to see and a nice afternoon break from the rides. And before we left, we made sure to tour the Chocolate World "Factory" and bought a bucket of Hershey's candy that is sure to sabotage my Weight Watchers' efforts this week.

My only disappointment with the experience was that we never saw any of the Hershey Kiss lamp posts that I remember from the couple of visits my family made to Hershey Park during my childhood. I figured they'd be lining the street that leads to the park entrance, but I guess they are on a different street. A street we did not drive down. And now my kid thinks I'm crazy because I told him there would be chocolate shaped lamp posts and then there weren't any. Oh well, maybe next time. Which Finn insists shall be next weekend, but I suspect will be about a year from now, much to his disappointment.

And speaking of crazy, what's really crazy is that Lucy did not take a nap today AT ALL. She never even so much as took a long blink in the stroller (OK, fine, I didn't really expect her to), and then she didn't sleep AT ALL during the 2 hour car ride home. This, has never happened. Lucy has never NOT had a nap for an entire day. Whenever we've had mid-day activities that prevent her from napping in a bedroom somewhere, she has always made up for it by sleeping on the car ride home. Not this time. She was loud and goofy and demanding and whiny and SUPER tired. But she did not sleep.

She is sleeping now, that's for sure. One of our easiest bedtimes in recent history (which is not saying much, I guess, as bedtime with Lucy has actually become quite difficult lately).

Now for the photos:

This was our first ride of the day - we eased in with some fairly tame cars and trucks on a track. Some of the rides were for children only, which meant that it either had to be tame enough for Lucy to ride with just Finn, or she had to sit on the sidelines while Finn rode alone. This one allowed me to ride with her, though my knees wish that they had made the leg room on this fire truck just a smidge bigger!

Finn chose the race car, of course.

One of the tamer kids-only rides that Finn and Lucy rode alone. They were very happy to sit together, and didn't miss us parents at all. This was Lucy's favorite/most memorable ride of the day, from what we can tell. Finn's favorite was something called the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge - he and M. did it alone as it wasn't Lucy-appropriate - mostly because it involved "shooting guns."

Lucy LOVED the carousel. She rode on one of the horses that moved up and down by herself, though I stood right next to her and tried to surreptitiously keep a hand on her, which she vehemently did not want. Later on in the day we found a smaller carousel for little tykes, and she rode that one all by herself while I stood outside the gate and tried not to hyperventilate. She looked so big and grown up!

Waiting for the "Mini-Scrambler" to get started, hamming it up.

Mid-Scramble, and loving it!

Our pilot-in-training

The kids were allowed to pick one treat to eat, and both chose cotton candy. This picture shows you the "Before", where they were just getting started on their treats. As you can see, the cotton candy was practically bigger than they were. I give myself much credit for not freaking out about how sticky EVERYTHING got. Including the stroller and my hair.

Here is Finn's "After" photo, before we cleaned him up. He ate the whole thing.

This is Lucy when we finally wrestled the cone from her hand and threw it away. You can see that she, too, pretty much ate the whole thing. In this photo, she had already been cleaned twice with a wet wipe, so you don't get to see the whole "sticky pink face" look that she sported earlier in the day.

Here we are, about to exit the park - tired, happy and sticky. We not only survived, we had a great time!


  1. How well I remember taking you and your sisters to Hershey with your Mom and my Mom. . .happpy memories. And, yes, the candy kiss lamps were a highlight! Lots of love to you all. . .Mimi

  2. I suppose M was actually there taking all the photos and you didn't ask strangers to do so. Great that you had a good time!

  3. SO glad you got to go! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Even when they're covered in cotton candy, your little ones are the cutest!!

  4. Oh love Hershey! You look like you all had so much fun. Sad about the kiss lamps - I totally remember those too.