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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Lights and Lots of Fun at Theme Parks




This picture looks like an average shot of bumper cars at your local amusement park, but look closer and you will see that everyone is bundled up for winter.  Europe has long mastered the idea of just sucking it up and going out to ride the rides at the local amusement park, but Americans have just recently really warmed up to it.  Maybe it has to do with climate change, or maybe we're just bored with sitting inside waiting for spring.  Whatever the reasons, many amusement parks around the country that normally are closed up tight this time of year, are beginning new traditions with Christmas light festivals.  Only some of the rides are open, but the entire park is aglow with amazing light displays.  There are all kinds of thing to do, and most importantly, it gets the kids off the XBox for a while.

  

 
Now, there are several parks going this way like Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, some of the Six Flags, Busch Gardens, and many more.  So, you can't do it all.  Well, me and my son decided to go to our local amusement park for Holiday Lights.  It just so happens that our local amusement park is the oldest continually operating theme park in the country--Lake Compounce in Connecticut.  The park already opens pretty early in the spring and runs through Halloween with the haunted graveyard, so it didn't surprise me a whole lot that they were ready to take on Santa Clause and Christmas.


It was 30 degrees the night that we went to Holiday Lights, but the sky was clear.  The whole park was aglow with beautiful Christmas lights.  Kiddieland was open and certain other select rides.  These included; Zoomer's Gas N Go, the Airplanes, the bumper cars, the carousel, and the train ride around the lake.  The train ride is a must do.  Almost all the games were open.  Several of the restaurants were open and a couple of stores that had been converted to Christmas shops.  The pavilion where the shows are in the summertime had been converted into a Santa's workshop where the kids could visit Santa, have some hot chocolate, eat, or spend some time decorating cookies.  It's a lot of fun for the kiddies.


Now, most of us are worried that we might be too old for something like this.  Well, my son is 14 and I'm old, and we had the best time.  We didn't worry about the cold--we just dressed for it.  We didn't need a thrill a minute--we just had fun spending some rare time together.  This is family fun, and we don't have enough of it these days.


Sometimes you just want to get out and have some fun.  Sometimes when you work in a Christmas frenzied business like I do, you just want to take a minute and enjoy the season for once.  This is a great way to do just that.  You have to pay to get in, so no one is protesting the fact that you're celebrating Christmas.  It's nice.  You get to do something, eat a lot of Christmas junk food, like roasted chestnuts.  It's calming and beautiful in a way.  You can ride the carousel instead of the roller coasters, and it makes sense.  That doesn't happen often after your kids start school.



The park is only open on the weekends from 5 to 9 on Fridays and 4 to 9 on Saturdays and Sundays, so you don't really have time to get bored or tired.  The train trip around the lake is lined with light displays and there's the tale of Rudolph on the speaker for all to enjoy.  You can even get 3D glasses at the gate that make all the lights look like candy canes or elves or whatever.  It's cute, and we could all use a little of that in a world gone wild.  If you're frugal about things like that, you can put the entrance fee towards a season pass in most parks.  That makes it a bargain.



So, give it a try.  Bundle up and head out into the cold to enjoy a theme park at Christmas.  You'll be glad you did.
Merry Christmas and Enjoy!

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