Thursday I went to Elitch Gardens. The water park was not open so it was just the rides. Perhaps I am not the most seasoned traveller, but I did have enough forethought to print out directions to the park and even found an $8.00 coupon. I arrived at the park just as it opened and was immediately faced with giggling gaggles of gidgets all around. Apparently a local junior high school was having a last-week-of-school field trip.
I was mildly baffled by the park’s motto:
“Not to see Elitch is not to see Denver”
I get what they are trying to say but this motto doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
I got into the park and was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of crap being sold: t-shirts, cotton candy, hats, swimsuits, hot dogs, funnel cake, stuffed animals, etc. Then I started walking towards the rides and passed by the scam midway games, “every player a winner.” The park is not all that big and I would say that maybe only 15% of it is rides.
I finally got to the first ride. It was called the Boomerang. The ride goes through loops forward and then backwards to the beginning. I hadn’t been to an amusement park for several years. I was a little scared. But, not as scared as the girl in front of me who decided last minute to not get on the ride. The ride was super fun – and short. I left the ride feeling exhilarated and not a small amount of schadenfreude at the teenage girl who’d ridden a seat ahead of me and was now weeping and shaking.
At the end of the ride there is a booth with pictures taken of you as you ride. My picture turned out pretty good. But, it was $15.00 and was not available in soft copy for uploading.
Dear Theme Parks – it’s 2012. Love, Hadas.
My head was a little achy from the spinning of the ride, but I was ready for the next one. I got to Half Pipe quickly and there was a slight line. Half Pipe is made to look like a snowboard. Each “boot clip” is a circular people holder that spins as you ride up each side of a half pipe. It, too, was invigorating; however, the throbbing in my head increased and a mild nausea started creeping into my belly.
So, of course, the next thing I did was pay $10.00 (early bird special) to ride the XLR8R. Here is bad footage on YouTube of someone else on the ride that gives you the idea.
I got into the flying contraption and they hoisted me to the bar on the left in the above picture. Then they told me to pull the rip cord that would release me to flight. Great, I was going to be responsible for my own death. I wondered just how many people had to be brought back down by some other method. Then I looked around me and realized that there really did not appear to be any other method to get down. I pulled the rip cord. My stomach seized, then all of a sudden I was flying and it was wonderful and I didn’t care that I was about to die at an amusement park. I smiled with unabashed glee and savored every second before they brought me to a halt.
Back on the ground people talked to me, but I didn’t hear a thing. I unsuited and contemplated finding a chair to sit in until my equilibrium stabilized. Unfortunately, with the pounding headache, I was unable to make appropriate decisions and instead went to the next ride.
I rode three more rides – all pretty much iterations of a combination of spinning and roller-coaster-ing. At the end of those rides I almost actually hurled as I exited the ride. That was when I finally gave in to my age and decided it was time to leave the park.
I got to the car and started navigating to Celestial Seasonings. As soon as I made my first turn I realized the car had somehow taken on the same attributes of the roller-coasters I had just departed. It was going to be touch and go to get to the tea place without having to pullover.
All in all it took me about an hour and a half to recover from the rides. At that point I was midway through the Celestial Seasonings tour and having my sinuses cleared out in the mint room. The tour guide was doing her best to help me maintain my headache.
Think of your favorite comedian and his/her wonderful delivery and well written jokes. Now think of the exact opposite of that and you will imagine the tour guide. She was trying so hard to be funny and failing so miserably that she could have been a Portland comic.
I finished the tour bought some tea from the shop (Roastaroma is now my new favorite) and headed back home for a well-earned nap.