…only better. Because, does Canobie Lake Park have LIONS? I thought not.
Kid activities are sort of hard. And sort of boring. And, in the summer, often sort of super horribly hot. Walking places, playing tag, throwing balls when you really just want to sit in the shade and drink beer – all of these things represent the victory of children over adults in the “What Should We Do Today Since It’s Vacation?” wars.
But some time ago, a sweaty Spaniard at the zoo probably had a series of exchanges with his kids something like this:
Dad: Hey, guys, want to go to the zoo?
Kids: Not really. Can we watch TV and then, when it’s hotter, play tag?
Dad: Ask your mother. C’mon, let’s go to the zoo.
Kids: Can we have ice cream? Then YES!
… (two hours and 50 Euros worth of tickets and soda later)
Kids: We’re hot. We’re bored. We’re bored and hot. We saw the elephant and it was just sitting there. You won’t buy us any more stuff. We’re hotter now. And now we’re even more bored. Can we go home and watch TV?
Dad: (Does math in head…25 Euros/hour is not a good deal) Ummm…let’s go see the lizards. (But thinks: Christ, there has got to be a soccer match on tv in an air conditioned bar somewhere. This is hot and boring and it sucks. Am I a bad or good father for staying here regardless of what my kids want to do? Oh, I’m so torn!) To the lizards! (Why don’t zoos have pools, anyway? Holy fucking shit, why *don’t* zoos have pools?) I mean, let’s go. Daddy has to go get a huge commercial loan to buy a zoo and build some pools at it.
Yeah, so, AguaLeon. Even if you didn’t take any Spanish or Latin in high school, you can see they worked overtime on the naming of this place. First, you drive past some antelope. Ok, not bad. Antelope (or something with horns, anyway) and then zebras, five feet from the car.
Then you get in a bus to go see the tigers and lions and bears and super crazy acting black panthers, which are apparently so badass that they live in the same gated field savannah thing as the lions, but they are in a cage within the gated savannah. And we were in a reinforced bus. So I do not want to know what those panthers did before they decided to double cage them like Hannibal Lecter.
And then, after 45 minutes of animals, the kids, right on cue, got hot and bored, and WHAT LUCK – there was a water park there, already bought and paid for with the same ticket. First we sent Abe down a kiddie water slide. As the velocity he achieved made it impossible for me to catch him, he shot under water, then came up in a small breath-holding ball and declared “I had enough” in a very small and waterlogged but not fucking around voice. And so we just swam with him, and then he fell asleep.
Max went down the same slide for about 4 hours in a row. I tried to not look wimpy while also being very wimpy and avoiding the waterslides. But then they started to look fun and Leah and I did one of moderate challenge. Then, we heard about a “lazy river” type deal where we could all go together on floats. But when we got there, it turned out it was not Abe-friendly, and it was every man for himself, not flotilla-style, and Max was having no part of that.
Having already hiked up a huge hill to get there, I waited in line for whatever was nearest. It looked, to be honest, really slow. First I was worried that it actually would get super fast by the bottom, and then, watching people go, I got worried that it would be so slow that, like many of them, I would get stuck and everybody would yell at me in Spanish, and then I thought, “Oh, that never happens,” and then I remembered, “Whenever I think that, the thing I think it about happens to me,” which is why I got pretty much completely stuck on a waterslide. Luckily, a 200 pound woman behind me picked up quite a bit more speed than I did and smashed into me, sending me mercifully into the pool. To redeem myself, I found the scariest, steepest slide and ran into line before I could change my mind. Of course it was so fun that I forgot why I had avoided it all afternoon.
On the way home, to distract all the kids from asking to stop on the way to dinner for snacks, we went around and named our favorite things: everyone’s was my getting stuck. Max said, “That was so great when you got stuck because I was so bored watching for you from the bottom and then it was SO FUNNY when you couldn’t get down and that lady smashed into you. Did you do it on purpose?” And man, was it tempting to say yes. Which I almost did, except all the other adults spoke up first and clarified things for Max. But it was nice to be the highlight of everyone’s day.