For a long time I thought of Kiddie Park as kind of silly - in the "this is so cheap/run down/NOT Six Flags and seriously, do these kids even have fun?" kind of way. I mean, I do remember it as being totally COOL when I was little. I loved the boats and the ferris wheel, the cars and the turtle roller coaster. But then I worked there as a teenager and the entire thing lost its appeal. Trying to teach a 4 year old how to drive a bumper car...not fun. "Push the pedal, turn the wheel." Yawn!
Then Brenden came along and changed the way I see things, not just this little park in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, but several different things. A night out, movies, bedtimes, what constitutes "fun", what TV shows I watch during the day, how the grocery money should be spent (who knew I would ever pick a better formula over pizza?!?), even how I fix my hair.
We've been to Kiddie Park with Brenden before. The huge difference between last summer and this summer is the fact that Brenden can walk and actually enjoy the rides. It's free to get in and tickets are only $0.25 a piece, with most rides only taking one ticket, and I ended up spending $5.00 and having some left over. Even though you cannot turn left over tickets in or get money back you can bring the same tickets back and use them later. Amazingly cheap AND entertaining.
Just like last year, we met up with my cousin Delayna and her twin boys, Jackson and Dillon, who are 3 years old. Brenden is totally impressed by his older cousins, which drives them crazy most of the time, but they get along fairly well. Dillon even let Brenden ride with him on the rides when his brother wasn't interested. The first ride was the cars. I'm pretty sure most people who have been to Kiddie Park remember these cars. Most of those cars have been at the park since it opened...back when my mom was a child. I was slightly nervous about putting Brenden in them. I remember the injuries we had when I worked there - kids getting their fingers stuck in the tires was the worst one. To my surprise, Brenden kept his hands on the steering wheel and enjoyed every minute.
Oh yes, the boats. Walking up to the gate I thought for sure he was too short. There is a line posted that he must be taller than, and I just knew he was going to be too short and would be SO upset when I didn't let him ride them. So I walked him up and stood his next to it...only to be shocked when he was at least 3 inches taller than he needed to be. Growth spurt? Yes, sir. We managed to get the twins and Brenden into one boat, which worked out very well. They floated along, pretending to drive (which isn't a stretch for Brenden) while I tried to keep from crying. :)
Next stop, the turtle roller coaster. It's not really much of a ride. It goes around in a circle and over a few humps and that's it, but it's enough for little kids, especially my 22 month old. The first time I rode with him. He very bravely draped his arms over the back of the seat and held on and I sat there with my mouth open, amazed at how much older he looked. See...the mommy brain kicked in, again! The next time he rode with Dillon and my mom almost had a heart attack when she realized I wasn't going to ride with them. It only took a few seconds for her to see that he was fine, which is probably when her grandma brain went into overdrive! :) You'll have to ask her how she felt about that.
We made our way around the park and Brenden rode the carousel, the ponies, the big trucks, the ferris wheel (with Dillon again), and even got to sit in a firetruck. Eventually the fact that bedtime had come and gone caught up with him and we made our way to the train for our final ride. He loves the train. Even when he was on other rides he would hear the whistle, perk up, and start yelling, "Train!" Of course he enjoyed the entire ride and was happy to go home after that.
I'm so thankful that Delayna invited us to join them. We all had a great time and I know that Brenden enjoyed it even more because he got to follow his cousins wherever they went. I'm so ready to go back and so happy that my view on this tiny place has changed. Anything that makes my son that happy - especially when it only costs $0.25! - is worth it.
(Even more pictures HERE!)