Keeping up appearances

As we walked into Busch Gardens on the first day of our vacation, I noticed my seven-year old couldn’t take his eyes off the towering roller coasters. He’s not the thrill seeker that his older brother is, never has been (in fact, here’s a tale about it¬†from back in 2006).

“Those are a little too big,” I said to him in an undertone.

“Yeah.” he laughed nervously. “Way too big.”

We started our day with an animal show, and then went to Tidal Wave, which is one of those boat rides where the boat goes almost straight down, creating a giant wave of water. As the boat approached the top of the fall, the little guy went from nervous to petrified. He pulled himself together afterward, though, quicker than I would have.

As we continued through the park, a light ran rolled in. Busch Gardens, we learned, can detect¬†lightning a long way away, and if it does, it closes down all the rides. It’s understandable, but incredibly frustrating, because you can’t see any lightning or hear any thunder. You’ll be waiting in line, and then get the announcement that’s everything’s closed. Half an hour later, things are turned on again.

We ended up waiting for and missing ride after ride, until we gave up and just decided to focus on the animals.

It was particularly tough on my oldest, who was dying to do the rides.

“I know,” my youngest chimed in. “It’s really hard for me too. I really wanted to ride the roller coasters, like that one.” He pointed up at one that had previously been “way too big.”

Because, after all, nothing is safer than a roller coaster that has been turned off.

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