For people who rarely go to carnivals or amusement parks, we've been to a bunch of carousels this week. Two, to be exact. Which is two more than we've been to in the past I don't know how long. If I had a chart where I checked off fun things to do, we'd definitely be good to go in the merry-go-round category. (Maybe I should have a list like that. I love (love!) checking things off of lists.)
Both of the carousels we visited are on Staten Island, which also weird, because I grew up there and was not aware that there were any carousels on Staten Island, let alone two of them.
The first merry-go-round we visited is called the Carousel for All Children - and it really is. It's accessible to all types of children, no matter their developmental issues - or how cranky they are. What can I say - some days, my kids are more special than other days.
One of my kids - who shall remain nameless so as not to embarrass him or her (see what I did there?) - is terrified of things that go up and down. Like, for example, 90% of the horses on the merry-go-round. She/he will not sit on any of the horses, cows, unicorns, elephants, it doesn't matter what the animal is - even if it is does not go up and down, and just stays where it is.
You know those merry-go-round animals that don't go up and down? The stationary ones? The ones you're forced to sit on when you're the last through the gate and all the other horses are taken? So those. This child won't even sit there. No, he/she will only sit on the bench, preferably one that is not shaped like a dragon because we are scared of those too. So she/he runs for a bench, which, lucky for said child, are always empty. Except if someone's great-grandma or very pregnant wife is riding the merry-go-round, then she/he has to share the bench. Such is the life of the kid who insists on riding the merry-go-round, but not really riding it.
This very well-maintained carousel is also right in the middle of a beautiful park called Willowbrook Park, with hiking trails, a lake (pond? river? we're not as outdoorsy as we like to pretend we are when we're wearing sneakers), a playground, picnic tables and just lots of green, outdoor type things. And benches. Lots of benches. My family really enjoys sitting on a bench. In my head, we'll visit the park again and hike around the water with the kids, but who I am kidding? My kids run screaming from the bathroom if they so much as hear the bzzz from a fly.
The other merry-go-round is inside the Staten Island Zoo. Again, who knew? I've been to that zoo many times, especially as a kid. I clearly remember riding the ponies and climbing aboard the hay rides (with the accompanying straw in the underwear problem), but I have no memories of a merry-go-round. None. The only saving grace is that my mom doesn't remember it either, so maybe it really is new.
At the zoo, in an attempt to work with the personalities of children who were up way too late last night, I tried to make the zoo more fun with a kind-of-scavenger-hunt I printed off of my good friend, Pinterest.
In retrospect, I should have printed four copies, one for each kid, instead of being cheap with the printer ink, but you know, printer ink, that stuff costs a lot of dollars.
The scavenger hunt listed the ABC's with a line next to each letter, where one might fill in the name of an animal that starts with that letter, as you come across that animal in the zoo. My kids started filling in the lines in the parking lot, before we even crossed the street to the zoo. And the fighting over holding the pen... some summer days are easier than others, that's for dang sure.
We didn't fill in all the lines on the page, but we also didn't make it through the whole zoo, because - you know what, I don't need to explain why, if you've been reading here before, you already know why we didn't make it through the whole zoo. In their defense though, it was really hot out and also, a weird number of animals start with the letter S and T, so we tripled up on some lines.
The merry-go-round winner though?
According to my kids, the Carousel for All Children in the park was way better. My mother agrees. She rode both with my bench-sitting child and the merry-go-round in the zoo is smaller, meaning it makes a tighter circle as it goes around, which also means my mom was slightly dizzy when she came off the second one.
So lesson learned. I'm sorry, Ma!
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)