Thursday, August 23, 2007
We went to Sea World yesterday. My mom generously purchased season passes for us for a year so we are able to go fairly regularly although it still is a treat. This week is the last week the water park portion will be open during the week. I decided we'd go as a 'not back to school' treat before we start school (homeschool) next week. We'll be back to SeaWorld during the fall but doubtfully on the weekend while the water park is still open.
I can hear y'all now. "But wait, Karen, you have 7 children! How do you take them to Sea World and a WATER PARK by yourself?"
This is how it goes. First, I stuff them like foie gras geese all morning so the begging for $42 ice cream and $25 buckets of popcorn is minimalized because you are lucky to get a water bottle past the kind gentlemen searching your bags at the gate-I did manage to sneak a pack of graham crackers, bottle of water and bottle of apple juice in yesterday. HAH! Diapers and underwear make great contraband camoflauge.
Pile everyone in the BIG WHITE VAN and take off for the 45 minute drive to Sea World. Left with 7 children, determined to return with 7 children. Spend the next 45 minutes reassuring Ben (always interested in which direction we are going and what we will find), "yes this is the way to Sea World" which is then followed up by "I see ShamPu?!!" For some reason Ben cannot drop that 'P' and the big famous killer whale is known as Shampu in our house.
Head to the water park. The boys, as usual, are released to take on the world (watch out world), Katie chooses to go ride slides with Grace and I take Emma, Ben and Lucy to the little kids area which consists of a 3 story structure in a 9"-18" deep pool. Splashing, squirting fun! and I get to sit off on the side in 9" of water and watch Lucy splash while Ben and Emma run around and play. Then Ben and Emma and I (toting Lucy) head to let them do the little kiddy water slide (with life vests). Ben was less than thrilled with it but Emma loves it. Run into Katie and Grace there. Eventually end up with all the girls and Ben in the wave pool where we run into the boys (well before set meet time) everyone plays together while I watch Lucy splash in about 4" of water. Boys are done and want to go ride coasters. Leave Emma, Grace and Katie in wave pool. Take boys and Lucy to locker. Send big boys off to meet at 5PM outside Shampu stadium. Back to wave pool. Emma wants to ride big slides. Send Katie, Grace and Emma off. I watch Ben and Lucy play. Little boy comes up to me looking for his parents. I get him situated with a life guard and then spend the next 15 minutes watching the lifeguards try and help this little boy (5-6 years old) find his parents. Now, I admit it, I HAVE been unintentionally separated from my children, sometimes in crowded, scary situations but I can't fathom that this little guys parents (he gave a good description) were not also frantically looking for him. He was little and it was a WATER park. Anyway...on with our adventures.
We got to watch some F-15's (fighter jets) zip around the sky (Sea World is very close to an AFB)-Ben loved that. then BA-BOOM and it wasn't a sonic boom. Thunder.
They close all the pools and water rides (obviously). Good timing. I head to the locker, and like smart kids, the girls were already there. Emma, in tears, because it turns out she was too short (WAY) for the big slides. Go to the locker room, get everyone dry and dressed, hair brushed etc...by the time we are done the rain is gone. Out to the park.
Do some kiddy rides, go to the Shampu show. Meet the big boys there. Shampu was having an off day. We've all seen this show at least 5 times. We know how it goes down and we have seen quite a few mistakes/delays, including a new trainer getting so choked up during her "I always wanted to work with whales..." speech that she had to stop. This time right after the initial dramatic intro the whales had a sit down or would it be swim down strike. For about 5 minutes the trainers ran around like little ants trying to get the whales back out in the tank to do ANYTHING. The weather may have had something to do with it. Eventually all was well, enough fish was plied and the show moved on they're animals, not robots, this kind of thing is normal and expected.
Then the three big kids go off to ride the big rides that have been closed on and off due to the weather. I take the littles to ride the kiddy rides some more and what I believe was our 4th bathroom break of the day. Emma finds a new best friend and now we are moving from ride to ride with Grace, Emma, Ben and ???? all holding hands. Finally at about 5:30 (park closes at 6) the big kids show up again and we head out of the park. We go through the turnstiles and I am leaving with 7 kids, just like I came in with. See YOU thought I meant that I was concerned I would LOSE one, no I'm concerned that I'll ADD one. :-)
Just as we hit the parking Jack says "Hey, look the eye of Sauron", now if you have never seen Return of the King the reference is lost on you but suffice to say there was a BIG BLACK cloud over Sea World and heading towards the parking lot. We pick up the pace. Just as we get to the van the sky opens up. Everyone leaps in the van and I toss Lucy in, literally, good thing she bounces.... and shut the doors and run around to my side. I'm drenched by the time I get there, might have well as sat in the 'splash zone' :-). Someone gets Lucy in her seat and Ben in his and we are headed home.
All in all a smashing success. Everyone had fun, no one lost, no one gained. Minimal $$ spent and the park was EMPTY. We've been there when it is at capacity and 3/4 empty is much MUCH better.
We've got a party here Saturday and I'm supposed to start school Monday (and watch a neighbor child for a week..what am I THINKING). I am so not ready for ANY of it!!