When I was a kid, we had Lakeside and Elitch's as the two amusement parks. They were within two miles of each other (maybe even one mile, as the crow flies), and they had different reps. Elitch's was the park to attend, really -- there were flowers and pavilions and high divers and performers. The rides were cool (two wood roller coasters, for instance, and a large dragon swing plus a log ride), and the whole experience was just plain fun. Elitch's also got a loop-de-loop when I was a teen -- so it had everything!
Lakeside was the 'spin-and-barf' park, heh. With one wooden coaster and one twisty-turn-y smaller coaster, it just wasn't as popular. Today, however, things have changed. First, Elitch's moved when I was in my early 20s. Six Flags bought it and moved it downtown (and expanded it). It lost that amazing home feel, and it became just like thousands of other amusement parks throughout the country. :( Lakeside stayed the same, except it expanded just a bit to update a couple of rides. But it kept that small-town feel.
The kids have also won free Elitch's tickets, so we'll probably try to hit that park too...but I'm not really looking forward to it. It will cost DH and me a ton (probably around $70) just to get in -- and it'll be crowded and impersonal.
But our experience last night was great! We rode the twisty-turn-y ride first (and I'd totally forgotten how much I hate that thing -- I'll never do it again!). E and I took a break after that with a relaxing ride, and then the four of us hit the big wooden coaster. It was great fun (though a little jerk-y), and even E loved it. We rode the 'loop-o-plane' (where you swing around and go upside down -- um, both DH and I decided once was enough for that one!), some swing-y type spinners, a small coaster (very small but still fun), and then hit the coaster again. In between, we did the maze, D and DH did the 'zoom' (where the ride rises waaaayyy up and then drops you -- soooo not my idea of fun, btw...I tried that at Elitch's 20 years ago, and I'll never do it again), they did bumper cars (not me -- I don't like the jerking of hitting other cars), D got to drive a little race car (E was really bummed she wasn't tall enough), they rode the spinning and rising planes, and D and E and I rode the 'round up' (where centripetal force holds you in place as a spinning circle rises and tilts).
It was still mid-80s when we left after 10, but with the breeze coming from the lake (hence the name Lakeside), it was very pleasant. The kiddos were over-the-moon thrilled, and it was a lot of fun to spend some time with them like that (very different from our usual time together in nature). I love being able to build a variety of memories like that with them. :)
What are some of the best memories you've built in your life?