A week ago I saw my first Robin of the year and I've seen many more since then.
Finally the weather is beginning to reflect the calendar year. I can't wait to see the crabapple tree in bloom and smell the lilac blossoms.
For me, there's one more indicator that heralds the arrival of Spring.
Last year I saw my first Adventureland commercial of the year on April 19th. It's only a matter of time.
Like many Iowans, I have been to Adventureland multiple times. I remember first going when I was little.. I remember going on the log flume, watching a high-dive show, going on the Raging River and the Ferris Wheel.
5. The Scrambler
The variation of forward and reverse momentum as you spin within a greater circumference with just enough speed to blow the hair out of your face. If the ride is located right, you can sample all the different smells from across the park as you spin: Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Corndogs and Funnel Cakes. I like it because it doesn't make me feel like I am going to be launched into space and certain death. I also like that it allows for for conversation and waving as you spin around. The constant changing of direction helps prevent me from feeling sick or dizzy - even it I ride it multiple times.
Yes, the animatronics are moth-eaten and out of sync. Yes, the cars are small and the ride will jerk you around a bit. But that's all part of it's charm! Billed as a type of underground roller coaster, this ride sets the scene with a pre-show, telling the "history" of the gold rush in Iowa and how Adventureland ended up being built over what was once one of the most productive gold mines in the state. It also goes on about an outlaw who died in the mines as he tried to steal the gold and how his ghost still haunts the area. I remember being scared of the ride when I was little, but now it's the cheesy nostalgia and lack of perceived hight that adds to my enjoyment of the ride.
So, if you've read this far you have probably figured out that the types of amusement park rides that I enjoy are fairly low-key. I'm not one for hights or things that make me feel like I could die at any moment.
For me, when I was little kid, driving a bumper car was like being able to step into the world of Hot Wheels or Micro Machines. Suddenly, not only was I in control, but I could harmlessly crash and bounce against other peopled cars, just like driving those little cars over those play carpets with the streets...
If you think about it, it's almost a right of passage when you are finally tall enough to hit the gas pedal yourself and power your own car without an adult in the seat next to you.
Also, Bumper Cars, because of how they are designed to work, is like a death version of Don't Touch the Lava - but with electricity!
I like the carousel for two reasons - one because of the music. It's a magical, aesthetic sound, filled with clever chords and forgotten melodies. I never know if the next song is going to be one that I know, one that I can't place or something that I don't know and that I might not ever hear again. I also like the music because it usually has a clearly identifiable form - you can little and find the pattern of repetition.
The second reason I like the carousel is the brightly jeweled and elaborately tacked fantastical animals. White charging stallions, majestic elephants, flying seahorses... The more exotic the better. I always spend my time in line at the carousel picking out exactly what I'm going to ride. It's a combination of that chalk-world scene from the Disney movie Mary Poppins and the excitement, mystery from the book The Thief Lord and the idea that toys come alive when they aren't being watched.
If you went to Adventureland between the ages of 5 and 12 and do not have an awesome memory of waiting for forever in line and then going on this ride - I would hesitate to believe that you had been to Adventureland at all.
This ride has the potential to either make you completely soaked or leave you dry with only your shoes a little soggy from the bottom of the raft. The anticipation of where the raft is going to bounce and who is going to get drenched as you careen over the artificial rapids... Especially on a hot day, after you've been waiting in line for 45 minutes. Exiting the ride and running to the members of your party who didn't go on the ride, showing off your drenched clothes like a badge of honor.
The only deterrent from going on this ride consecutively is the long line.
6. The Himalaya
7. The Log Flume
8. Lady Luck
9. Puff Dragons
10. Reef Racer
20. The Outlaw