Our summer with no big vacation plans has turned out to be our summer with one mini vacation after another.
We were home from the camping trip in Michigan just long enough to wash six loads of dirty — and I mean ground-in dirt, sand, creek sludge and lake water DIRTY — laundry before we were off for a trip to meet up with CapableDad’s family in southern Indiana.
We planned this trip about six months ago when we realized we would be celebrating 270 years of milestone birthdays this year. We have a 90+(50*2)+(40*2). That is cause for a family get-together!
I had the bright idea to add on a trip to Holiday World to our weekend get-away. In case you haven’t heard of this world-famous amusement park, second only to Disney World, it is a holiday-themed wonderland in the middle of absolutely NO WHERE at the southern edge of Indiana.
I learned during our journey that just because two destinations are in the same state, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily en route to one another. It seems there are no really good highways from Chicago to Santa Claus, Indiana, (where ELSE would you find a place called HOLIDAY world?) and the amusement park is actually about three hours from the lodge we are renting with family.
Oh well. Fortunately, my husband’s family likes to have fun. And they never complain about little things like driving hundreds of miles unnecessarily. Or about rain.
This has pretty much been the summer of rain. It rained on our first camping trip. Rained on about half our trips to the pool. We have had cooler temps and more rain than any July in the history of the universe in Chicago. (I made that up, of course.) It’s a good thing we didn’t plan a trip to Seattle this summer, because we would have been stuck in our normal Chicago temps of 90 to 100 degrees everyday.
And honestly, I’m starting to enjoy life in our new Seattle climate here in the midwest.
Back to Holiday World. I love this place for several reasons. They have a lot of rides for the smallest of riders. Little flying airplanes. Bumper boats. Carousels. Trains. The smallest roller coasters you can imagine. A tiny canoe ride.
The park has plenty of big rides and big roller coasters for adults, too. Plus a huge waterpark. And the best part is that throughout the park, they have drink Oasis stations with self-serve fountain drinks that are free. All you can drink for free, all day. Our kids, who usually don’t get to drink pop (or soda, depending on where you are from) were enjoying a Root Beer high all day!
It turns out, the little kid rides were great for our two older boys, who are 8 and 6. They are a little timid when it comes to moving quickly through the air and dropping suddenly.
But our daughter, who is 4, could have spent her whole day on the biggest waterslides in the park. Once she got a taste of her first plunge around a spiraling flume and into the giant “toilet” as she described one ride, she couldn’t get enough.
About every two hours, a dark raincloud would open up and drench us for about 20 minutes. We finally accepted the fact that as long as we were already wearing swimsuits and wet from water rides, it really didn’t matter if we were pelted with rain.
We were quite amazed, however, during the final storm, which was at the end of the day. The rain was coming down in sheets so thick we could barely see the trees in front of us. But off in the distance, we could see that people were still filling the largest roller coaster and braving not only the big descents, but doing so while being completely drenched.
Once the storm stopped, we made our way to the parking lot. The only way across a big road to the car was to walk through an underground tunnel. The drain had backed up, and the tunnel was now full of knee-deep dirty rain water.
The park staff were working furiously to open the drains and got the water to only ankle level after a short wait. Still, people were demanding that the park workers help them climb a 6-foot fence to cross the busy highway.
Because, you know. If you have already spent a whole day at a water park, and your clothes are already drenched from rain, you definitely would NOT want to get your feet wet!