As part of Alex and Ben's summer reading program at the local libraries, they got free tickets to Lakeside Amusement Park in Denver. Lakeside was built in 1908 and was known at the time as "the Coney Island of the West." It is truly that, a throwback to a different era. And my kids loved it.
They have a Kiddie Area with 15 or 20 different rides, all geared toward that 2-7 year old crowd. Always a little hesitant to try new things, we weren't sure how the boys would do, but as you can see -- they loved it!
Alex was my big boy who bounced and spun and floated and rode with only a hint of hesitation masked behind his smile. The best part was during each ride when the mask of glee would turn to actual glee. I could always see the exact moment when he mentally settled in and realized this was something he actually liked, instead of something he simply thought he should like.
He even rode on the ferris wheel with a boy he didn't know - and talked to him. This is a huge step for my little guy who even a year ago would cry uncontrollably if I got more than 5 inches from him in new situations.
And my little Ben, in his too-cool-for-school sunglasses, spent most of the day gleefully skipping from ride to ride -- following his brother into the unknown world of bounces and bumps. He especially loved the flying sharks and the bouncing ladybugs. Not a big fan of rides that spin too fast. I should have know this given the fact that he is terrified of tire swings. I think he gets his dislike of circular momentum from Kevin. Luckily for me, Alex loves dizzy rides, so I'll have a partner in crime when the kids pass that magic 48 inch mark and can ride the adult rides.
And finally, a lazy boat ride to end the day. They were exhausted, their legs covered in grease from climbing in and out of the ancient rides, and ecstatic. Lakeside was definitely one of the highlights of their summer. One little boy who rode behind them on the bouncing UFOs put it perfectly. "Mommy, that ride made my heart feel so happy!" And it made my heart so happy to see it!