I don't know how far-reaching those horrid ads for MARINELAND go. Maybe if you live further than a hundred mile radius from the place, you don't have to suffer through an entire season of assinine commercials with a woman belting out how magical the place is, and how "EVERYONE LOVES MARINELAND." Well, I'd like to say that not EVERYONE does--my three year old daughter wasn't much of a fan yesterday.
Yesterday. Saturday. It was a nice, cool, autumnal day; not too hot, not too cold, nice for walking around outdoors. I opened my yap and said; "today is the perfect weather to go to Marineland." And so I sealed my fate. I guess it's not a bad thing to do stuff with your own family, right? I guess it's what I should be doing right? Well people, you forget that I am inherently SELFISH and LOVE, LOVE, LURV solitude. Ah, even the word just rolls of the tongue and makes me feel calm:
sollllllllituuuuuuuuuude.....Aaaaaah...wasn't that like putting your ear up to a seashell for just a moment? So, my ideal Saturday would have gone like this: after having my coffee, I put on my grubby gardening gloves, head out to the front yard with my bag FULL of spring bulbs, dig random holes all over the front garden and plug bulbs into the ground. Then, for even more excitement, I would take the precious bag of potting soil I just bought, and re-pot my bouganvillea, and that other house plant I made the man pick up for me at Wal of Evil recently, because it was SEVEN BUCKS and that is a FANTASTIC DEAL, and while I was sorry that he'd already cashed out with our purchases, and my kids were HAVING A RANG (read: PITCHING A FIT), I apologised to him and said; "I'm sorry, but this is too good a deal to pass up. You're just going to have to go back into that [hellish] store, and buy this for me." Oh, where was I...yeah, so after dropping bulbs like little Easter Egg treasures, I would then re-pot a couple of plants, all the while letting the calm and the fresh air and the SOLITUDE wash over me. Oh man, doesn't that sound dope? Or, does it sound like I'm tragically middle-aged in mentality? Whatevs.
So, instead, we packed up the kids and headed off to the local theme park. Okay, so, two adults, one six year old, and one three year old. Great, that'll be ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO DOLLARS PLEASE. Ha ha ha, that's funny--it sounded like the girl just said it'll be $132.00. OMG, that IS the price. The best part is that my daughter got in for free! Mon dieu, what a rip. Okay, so the park's not a bad place to take the kids: the aquariums are neat. I even like it there. Ella almost jumped out of her skin when suddenly a seal zipped by her line of sight as we were taking in the first aquarium's underwater viewing area. Hilarious.
Then the kids nearly had a panic attack that we weren't going to make it to the first theatre in time to see the show, so, we had to sit there for 20 minutes until it started, in the windy, treacherous bleachers. I say "treacherous," because they are steep, and my daughter is perhaps one of the clumsiest people on the planet. All I could imagine was her tumbling down those bleachers like a sack of potatoes, and I was swooning with horror. Then the show started, and I have to be a bit of a jerk for a minute. Okay, it's great that the seals can do some tricks, but they need to cut the seal portion of the show WAY back, because while I can appreciate that it must take time to get a seal to wiggle his back end back and forth, it just doesn't translate way up there in the back row (nor in the front row). Also, we have seen seals balance balls on their noses forever and ever, and that too, though cute, fails to be exciting. On with the dolphins! However, by the time the dolphins came out, Ella was so disinterested with the whole aquatic spectacle, she started to turn into SUPER ANGRY ELLA until we were forced to quit the show.
Onward to the rides...oh wait, there's an ice cream truck. Make mandatory ice cream pit stop and wait for ten agonizing minutes as the children eat their rapidly melting soft serve.
kids: "WE WANT ICE CREAM! CAN WE HAVE ICE CREAM PLEASE?"
me: "yeah, how much are two cones going to cost--fifty bucks???"
Onward to the rides! First stop, the Viking Ship. Hooray! This is starting to be fun! Oh wait, 3 year olds don't get the concept of waiting in line. Or, they get it, but they think it's totally stupid and completely intolerable, and they HATE IT. 3 year olds also hate getting off the ride when it's over, and they really, really don't give a crap that other people need a turn now. Ella's rage-ometer rises further.
On to the next ride--some typical, "scrambler" or "octopus" like thing, whereby you sit in a "bee" car and spin up, down, and around the central "hive" until you feel a little bit like hurling. Fun enough, Ella is once again FURIOUS that she had to wait in line.
Next stop, some horrid ride that hurtles you UP to the top of a pole, and then drops you down, then raises you back up a bit, then down a bit, then up, then downthenupthendownthenup and finally back to the ground, so you can put your prolapsed uterus back in place. Ella is turning into the baby Hulk at this point, and starts trying to beat her father up. Jack, in outrage, comes up behind her and gives her a shove. I peripherally notice many heads turn and watch us exit the ride. Good times.
Two more rides, one of which sucks so completely it's not even worth talking about, except I refused to go on it, because karen does not and has never liked rides that only go in a circle, and that's it. The other ride was a tiny roller coaster, and the only thrill for that ride was trying not to have your back broken on the upward thrust over the first "bump" in a car that's probably too small for an adult, since the top of the back of the seat neatly hits the lower back.
Ella is now nearly apoplectic with rage at not having continous, unbroken fun, so we decide to abandon the family rides section, and head over to see the Beluga whales.
Interestingly enough, where the Belugas are located is charmingly titled "FRIENDSHIP cove." In one tank are the friendly Belugas, with their weird, wobbly, kinda gross, jelly-like heads, and in the other tank is one solitary KILLER WHALE. Friendship cove...killer whale...friendship...killer whale. Hm, must ponder this. I should also point out that it was at friendship cove, where Ella had enough of her brother bugging her and headbutted him in the chin. Oh, and don't forget that as Jack and I were enjoying the smiley-looking Belugas at the top observation level, Ella was behind us shrieking:
"I WANNA GO HOOOOOOOME! I WANNA GO HOOOOOOME!"
So, after the headbutt incident we decided to go home. We couldn't decide what the best part of our day at Marineland was: Ella headbutting Jack in the chin, or Jack trying to hit Ella's leg, while Ella was on The Man's shoulders, and instead of hitting his sister's leg, accidentally squares his dad. Kudos to the man for maintaining enough presence of mind to still be able to safely set Ella down on the ground.
And now who thinks the idea of planting tulips sounds silly?