Sunday, June 14, 2015

Thrill of a Lifetime

This June I roused The Overlord out of bed and into the shower. She asked if I was taking her to the store to pick up groceries. I told her no. Then she asked if I was taking her to the park. I hesitated. Yes, we were going to the park, but not the type of park she was thinking of.

"Kind of," was my reply. The park we were going to would have swings....

and slides and rides that rocked and could be played upon. I told her we were going to the amusement park.

To be more precise, we went to Kennywood Park out in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Yet for most people heading out, they just say that the park is in Pittsburgh. We arrived when the gates opened at 11am as the admission lines were already long.

I choose this day to go because all the weather reports said that the temperatures would be hovering around 69 degrees and it would be cloudy -- the perfect weather where the humidity would be low, there would be a nice wind, and our skins wouldn't get baked by the sun while standing in line for the rides.

Unfortunately, the weather surprised everyone. It only reached 56 degrees. So it was a bit colder than expected. Yet this didn't stop the number of people there. And nobody looked like they were having a bad time because of the weather. The only difference was that the water rides would get neglected a bit more today.

For several days I had been planning out which rides to go on based on The Overlord's age and height. From her last pediatrician's appointment, she ranged about 36". So I knew KiddieLand rides would see the most action from us. Yet I also didn't want to argue with the line attendants regarding the bigger rides she could board with an adult. So the first stop was the height station where I found out The Overlord has grown since February. The attendant there marked her for 39"with the stamp on the back of the hand and that bumped us up to go on some more of the bigger rides. 

The very first ride, The Overlord's inaugural ride, was the Jackrabbit roller coaster. It is a wooden ride and one of the last roller coasters in the country that has a double "camel back" drop, which is two humps as the coaster drops 70 feet down. The Overlord boarded the car and hugged me the entire ride as we screamed into the wind.

She loved it. She also loved riding the Paratrooper.

These were the first two rides we went to on the park and the last two rides we went on when leaving. While first starting out, she would give me the death grip because it was something new and exciting. So there was still that initial fear to conquer. On one of the rides, a young child cried because he was scared. I wasn't sure how The Overlord would react for her first time. She quickly overcame her first initial fear and jumped at going on the rides by herself.

The only time she cried was when she got impatient about getting off the Orbiter ride herself and couldn't get the belt unbuckled. She didn't want to wait for the ride attendant.

Yet otherwise, The Overlord had a great time. So great that she didn't want to sit down and eat anything for lunch.

We hit every ride in Kiddieland except for the Steel City Choppers (in case you want to see what the amusement park has to offer and are wondering what rides we enjoyed.) For roller coasters and thrill rides, we went on the Jackrabbit and the Pirate ship ride. We skipped the water rides.

We did go on the Classic & Dark rides as we visited the Auto Race, Kangaroo, Merry-Go-Round (the big one, not the one in Kiddieland), Turtle, Whip, and the Paddleboats (which is a separate price for the ride and you have to do the pumping of the boat as you steer around the lake trying to avoid running over the ducks).

The only mishap I had was riding the Lil' Phantom ride where I lost my cell phone although I did get it back (obviously since I'm posting these photos). I had made it a point to skip lugging around any purse or backpack to Kennywood. They do offer lockers ($5 and $10 return key deposit). But I didn't want to deal with having a large bag that I would need to drop off into the bag holder every time I boarded a ride. All I needed was my cell phone and money. So I carried a very small pocket book that could fit into my pants pocket. My hands were free for the day while I still had all the essentials to pay for food and check my email for work assignments (and I got slammed with work while at the park, but it could wait until later).

All in all, it was an enjoyable time. We never waited longer than 10 minutes -- if that -- to get on a ride. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to take The Overlord to the park before the end of the school year. We will probably head back there in the late summer/early fall when the kids go back to school and there are again less people at the park.

Oh, and if you took note of the small speck in the top left-hand corner of the last photo, that is not a bird or bug flying into the camera shot. That is a ride called the Skycoaster where people are strapped into a harness as they swing in the air over the pond that has the paddleboats. One of the few rides at the park that I can guarantee that I will never go on even if The Overlord is 7 feet tall.


  1. What a wonderful day! Though mine are older now, I remember the thrill of introducing them to new experiences like these :) So happy that you both had a day you'll remember forever.

    1. Definitely a great opportunity for kids of any age. And the number of rides just for the older ones are amazing now.

  2. Michelle.,,, you are brave as is your dsughter! What adventurous girls!!
    Such fun, and I'm so glad the day was a happy one. The photos are great!!
    Sending you hugs.

  3. Your careful planning paid off! It looks like you both enjoyed yourselves, even if you were a bit hungry at lunchtime! I love the photos, and will try to picture myself somewhere where the temp's are in the 50's, because it is stinking hot here. :-)

    1. I can imagine the heat. Right now Mother Nature isn't sure what to do. It is in the 90s and then the weather dips down to the 60s the next day. But I'll send cool weather thoughts your way.


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