Normally, I’m not a fan of large crowds of people or artificially constructed happiness (i.e. theme parks). There is something about the smell of cheap perfume, cigarettes, and copious fabric softener use combined with the repetitive clash of canned circus music that makes me want to run for the woods screaming after the first hour.
That and I have discovered with age that many theme park rides are just brightly painted torture devices that leave one hanging upside-down, begging for mercy, and promising to give up every state secret if the interrogator/ride operator would just make the ride come to an end.
The kids – and birds – seemed to enjoy themselves.
Understandably, I put off going to them. However, with kids there really is no way to avoid the trips completely, especially during the warmer months, so I made a compromise – we found an amusement park that was (somewhat) lacking in whiplash inducing rides but that made up for it with wildlife. We found it at Chessington not too far from London. I think I may have even enjoyed myself (with a little assistance from a headache pill – I’m human and circus music really is bad).
Having the option to go on an overcast day that threatened (but never actually produced) rain was a definite advantage. The air felt nearly clean and the lines for rides were minimal. The wide paths were ours and ours alone in many cases. The animals (mainly the spider monkeys and some very fancy show chickens) that were willing to acknowledge humans gave us their full attention, having few other people to interact with. Other than a mild case of whiplash, it was actually all rather pleasant.