No, it's not Christmas season! It's Amusement Park Season! And we have 2 down and 3(or more) to go.
We conquered Canobie Lake in our annual trek before Memorial Day. I love that park for several reasons, but mainly because it's 10 minutes from our house. And because it is geared toward kids under 10 - for the most part.
Yesterday we took on the challenge of Six Flags in Agawam. That is NOT 10 minutes from our house. But in the spirit of the season we loaded up the CR-V and headed "West Young Man". And in the spirit of full disclosure, I love the portable DVD Player...keeps stir-crazy kids at bay on trips over 2 hours.
We had a fantastic time. The kids enjoyed the park and the chaos. I thought it was clean and not overly crowded. However, I was pretty amazed at the cost of this trip. Not including the 1/2 tank of gas that runs about $300 these days (OK, not really $300) and the fact that we scored free admission tickets from my cousin - we still managed to drop $150!
Let's break it down:
Tickets: Free (otherwise $120 for four until June 30 when it spikes higher for adults)
Gas: Not included in this breakdown
Parking: $15 (not included in ticket price)
Lunch: $40 (we're talking 4 slices of Papa John's pizza here...not a sit down meal...and you can't bring in food or coolers)
One round at "spray the water in the clown's mouth": $5/player x 2
One round of "hit the bell and win a prize": $5/player x 2
One round of "throw dart at pictures": $3/player
Ice Cream - two kiddie, two small: $20
Medium Diet Coke: $3.49
Four bottled waters: $16
SMALL toys from Thomas the Tank Engine area: $25
One batman cape: $5
I didn't break it down to complain, but more to question how families less fortunate that mine could possibly afford a day like that - especially if I did factor in ticket prices and gas? The idea of a "day at the park" has evolved into a "day to remortgage the house". It's unfortunate because it really did provide an escape for the kids for 7 hours where they could meet superheroes, ride the Big Red Car from the Wiggles and walk away with a few trinkets from their successful carnival games.
Just like Christmas when my brother and I were CONVINCED there was a Santa Claus because there was no way Mom & Dad could afford all those gifts, I now have a full appreciation for those family summer vacations where we would spend 7 hours (or more) riding rides, eating from a menu that only included lard or sugar, and falling sound asleep at the end of the day.
Up next - StoryLand...here we come!