Monday, March 16, 2009

Busch Gardens

We love Embassy Suites when we travel because they have a fridge for milk so our little calf never goes hungry, they have two rooms so we can put previously mentioned calf to bed while mommy and daddy watch tv or otherwise unwind without waking him, and because they usually have really good breakfasts - much better than the standard continental fare. Today the breakfast was terrible, but we still have the other reasons to hang onto. Plus, this one is less than five minutes from Busch Gardens and has a shuttle back and forth all day. You can just call them when you're done playing, and lickety split, they're there to pick you up. We took advantage by going first thing in the morning and then when the boy had had enough, we took him back for a nap, and then returned to the park to play again when he was well rested.

We spent a lot of time in "Land of the Dragons", but I'll post about that tomorrow. Andy went on a few of the adult rides by himself while we played, and then we did a bunch of stuff together. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the day:

Cute boys ready for a day of fun

This gives you a view of the halls that C runs around and around. He also loves the elevators. Going down he gets a bit nervous, but up he finds better than any theme park ride.

If you look at the boy's mouth, you can see that he is growling at the lions. They are by far his favorite animal at the moment. He could watch Lion King all day every day.

Petting the stone hippo. (I had a friend from Kenya who said that growing up they weren't allowed to swim in the rivers because the hippos would bite children in half. They look so harmless, or at least too lazy to go biting anyone. I'm glad Calvin is just content to play with the fake ones.)
Favorite Ride of the Day - The Shiekra:
Both Calvin and Andy agree that this ride was the most entertaining today. Andy loved riding it, while Calvin literally spent hours just watching it with fascination, and living in anticipation of the coaster running through the water at the bottom where he was waiting to be thoroughly splashed.
The boys standing at the bottom watching the fast, spinning, ride.

Boys being splashed by the fast, spinning ride.

I brought my crappy laptop instead of my awesome one, so I have no photoshop with which to make this picture interesting. BUT if you could zoom in you would see that Andy is the third rider on the left on the front row, ready to plummet straight down. I love that he wore an orange shirt today. It makes him very easy to pick out.

The Serengeti Express:

BG has a cute train that drives you around the park, and they actually have an amazing selection of wildlife to enjoy on your "safari" adventure.

Ready to ride. Not sure how I managed to get the boy looking so serious. He had a great time.

Some of the animals:

It was really amazing how they came right up to the train. Even the rhinos were right there within touching distance. The tour guide (who told us several times that she was brand new) had this panicky voice, telling everyone to keep their arms and legs away from the sides and place any small children in the center of the seats while they were near. Drama.

The Log Ride:

Okay, so we cheated a bit on this one. I've felt guilty most of the day for being an irresponsible parent, but C kept ogling all of the fast rides, and we couldn't keep him away from the water, so when we saw THIS:

we knew it was the perfect combination to make him truly happy. I think he enjoyed it (complete with the hardcore lesbian makeout session going on in the log in front of us), but true happiness seemed to elude us as his nails dug into my legs and our park photo came back with his face contorted in fear.
This scan is another result of bad equipment. Andy has a cheap scanner to copy his receipts for work, but when we used it to scan this photo, it came out quite stretched. While I do NOT look this wide, Andy insists that his shoulders do in fact look this broad.


Calvin played archaeologist while his dad rode a big scary ride twice in a row.

Climbing on a cat.

The boy was very proud of himself when he uncovered this sphinx.

A rare two-headed pharoah.

I guess he liked posing on this, because as soon as Andy would bring him down, he kept running back up the stairs.

All clean and content after a long day of playing. Growing up Andy always got a stuffed toy when they went on vacation to a theme park, so he insisted that Calvin have one to take home. The boy picked this one up out of dozens of jungle animals and immediately started growling at it, so we knew it was the one.

(I'm not sure why the two laptops are different, but this one does really weird things with my formatting. When I get home, I'll re-add pictures so you can click on them to enlarge.)