Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Day Two of Spring Break was pretty uneventful. A fine day, but not really blogworthy.

Now, Day Three, that's a blog and a half, baby. Today we paid homage to the best day of last year's spring break by visiting Marine World. Thankfully, Marine World is so lame, that it can easily support the mocking of another blog entry. Bless you, half-hearted amusement park.

Once upon a time, Marine World was all about the marine animals: shows, exhibits, places to learn, etc. Obviously that was a big failure with the kids. What do kids like? They like to be hurled through the air, while viewing familiar characters and eating colored/misshapen sugar. So now Marine World is half animal shows and half crappy rides. It's frankenworld.

The worst part of the park is the kiddie section. In every possible way they attempt to suck all the joy out of the various go-around-in-a-circle kiddie rides.

First off, I can't decide if the majority of the employees there are child molesters, or merely common convicted felons who happen to possess that child-molester cachet. Either way, their presence adds a certain edge to the merry go-round.

Secondly, before allowing the children onto the ride, the ride attendents/molesters lecture the park guests about the various legal requirements of that particular ride, which always consist of height rules, keeping track of loose items such as syringes, and sarbanes-oxley specifications. The part about the height requirement usually goes something like this (NOTE, this next part is NOT a joke!):

"Any rider less than 36 inches in height must be accompanied by an adult who is greater than 54 inches in height. Riders between 36 inches and 54 inches in height may ride alone. Riders who are taller than 54 inches in height must be accompanied by a child less than 36 inches in height..."

Neither prison, nor their breakfast of Jack Daniels, prepared these poor amusement park employees to mumble such complex speeches correctly. Often we'd get to hear it twice.

The only time I heard an employee skip this speech was when my daughter went on a ride twice in a row. This ride was so tame and so boring that she went straight from the exit right to the front of the line and was the only kid on the ride. The park employee stared at her for a couple seconds, contemplating whether to perform her Marine World soliloquy and eventually said, "Well, I guess you're still the same height" and let her on.

Incidentally, my daughter is pretty timid about rides. The first time she went on this ride, the other kids literally had their heads in their hands with boredom. My daughter, however, beamed and screeched with glee. It was damn cute.

One of the other rides, the kiddie roller coaster (and I use that term loosely), was literally 20 seconds long. I timed it. The speech about height requirements was longer (and nearly as exciting). Plus, we got a bonus speech on that ride. As the ride attendant came by to make sure that we were properly strapped into our coaster, she leaned in close to my daughter and me, and improvised an inspirational speech about how I'd keep my daughter safe, and having my arm around her was the best seat belt, and that she'd slip into our house at night and kill us in our sleep. I may have day-dreamed that last part, but I don't think so. I was creeped out.

The best part of the day, however, was that we did actually make it out of the kiddie section and we enjoyed a couple of the big kid rides. My daughter screamed just like her mother does on these things. I was charmed.


tinyhands said...

Blah blah blah blah cachet blah blah blah.

Stacey said...

Can I just tell you how much I hate the word sarbanes-oxley?

Seriously what is it with people thinking everything is going to be the next damn Enron or whoever it was that set this word in motion.

Ugh. Must get out of rat race. Must fight micro management. Must find a way to become independently wealthy ...

Colby said...

Marine World and Sea World must be ugly cousins, because that post pretty much detailed my exact feelings about Shamu's Seven Levels of Hell.

There was a Budweiser microbrewery at the back of Sea World, however, which I'm sure kept some visitors pleasantly occupied throughout the day.

Mike said...

Tiny, my Gary Larson knowledge tells me that you respond to the word "cachet". If only I knew what it meant.

Stacey, oh this house hates it too. As near as I can tell, it's the law that ate my wife. It literally (ok, figuratively) consumes her.

Colby, I took a long hard look at the beers available in this park. Ultimately I decided to continue pretending to be a good parent.