Sunday, August 19, 2012


With the ungodly heat and humidity finally subsiding somewhat in the month of August, The Inmates and I have been on a mad scramble to squeeze the last drops of joy out of our summer.  The last two weeks have been an exhausting push to complete as many items off our summer bucket list as possible:

*  SUNLITE POOL - Coney Island's swimming pool, originally built in 1925, has the distinction of being the world's largest flat-surfaced, recirculating pool.  Unfortunately, The Professor's favorite pastime on visits is to let his swimming noodle fill with water and then blow into one end, shooting his mother and Uncle Chester in the face. More information about Sunlite Pool can be found on Coney's site here.

*  THE MALL - I realized we were turning a frightening corner when my daughter wanted "go to the mall" put on the bucket list.  I was even more afraid when we arrived and she began giving long explanations of the clothes hanging from the racks.  ("Now, this would be perfect because orange is so in this season and the thin straps would...")  We ended up at Justice and an hour later The Vulcan was $87 poorer, but Foghorn had a kick-ass new outfit she picked out herself.  I tried to make it clear this was a splurge, that I was not taking her to the mall and plunking down $100 every time she wanted a new outfit.  If I'm feeling twitchy at this new development, you can imagine how the parsimonious Vulcan is feeling right now.

* RIDE THE DUCKS - NEWPORT - This was a big hit last year and Foghorn desperately wanted to do the amphibious vehicle tour again.  Grandma came along with us this time and enjoyed the trip, although she was wishing the tour guide would shut his mouth for two seconds so she could just look.  This was followed up by a visit to Newport on the Levee's Fun Zone.  The latter was less successful, partly due to the intense sun that was beating down on big vinyl inflatable slides and burning legs as kids descended.  For the money I was also ticked that there were only two employees, leaving parents to run the mechanical bull themselves, which I suspect their insurance company would consider an absolute no-no. More information can be found on the Ducks' website here.

SKY GALLEY RESTAURANT/LUNKEN AIRPORT - Before the Greater Cincinnati Airport was built in Northern Kentucky, Lunken Airport was the landing spot for the city's air travel.  (The Beatles landed here for their concert in 1964.)  The airport building has a wonderful art-deco look and now houses, among other things, the Sky Galley Restaurant.  The food is tasty but basic (club sandwiches, burgers, etc.).  The real draw is the view of the runway, where you can see small aircraft depart and land.  Down the road is the Lunken Playfield, a city park that has a long bike/jogging trail, tennis courts, golf, mini golf, and playground.  The Inmates insisted the playground had to be on the bucket list and then they did almost nothing when we got there.  The Professor sat in a swing, staring into space, and Foghorn sat in Grandma's lap, interrupting our conversations.  I'm willing to concede that they've gotten too old for the playground; they insist it's tradition and they're going to go...even if they don't enjoy themselves once they get there.

"I wanna get my picture taken
with Dad" -- Foghorn
CINCINNATI ZOO - One of the finest (and arguably the most eco-friendly) zoos in America.  Each visit has to include a ride on the carousel and train.  New this year was Cat Canyon, giving visitors an up-close outdoors view of some of the cats.  The Professor's favorite continues to be the Komodo Dragon.  Foghorn's favorite is the Manatee Springs exhibit, not so much for the critters as for the sound effect buttons that let you hear a manatee fart...over and over and over again...

KING'S ISLAND AT NIGHT - While diurnal excursions are common, we usually only make it to the park at night once a year.  (We ended up squeezing a second trip in last night, a rarity.)  The park is usually crowded, so The Professor and I are mainly interested in one thing -- The Beast.  This classic coaster is still, for my money, the best thrill in the park and is popular with coaster enthusiasts across the country.  It races through woods at speeds nearly 65 mph.  Feels fast during the day.  Feels like flying at night as you race through near complete darkness with the trees flying by.  While we stood in long lines for the thrill, Uncle Chester and Foghorn got Icees and took in the Peanuts-themed lights display.  It is my understanding that Foghorn puts on quite a dancing show (and one point swinging from a pole, heaven help me).

*  BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR OF THE BEAST - This was a mother-and-son event.  The tour acts as a fundraiser for the park's Kings Island for the Cure (breast cancer awareness month).  We got the story of the ride's creation, details on the engineering and construction, and a full tour of the track.  Among the surprises?  The vast majority of the track is not all that high off the ground.  With the surrounding trees you feel like you're high in the air.  In fact, in some places you're not more than a couple feet above ground.  It was a full hour-long tour with lots of photo ops and worth the $50 per person price for Beast-obsessed The Professor and me.  The guy even pointed out to me where the lake and island had been, featured prominently in the Brady Bunch episode.  (You remember, Jan and Marcia are searching the park for Mr. Brady's plans in the yellow tube and they climb into a canoe to check on the island and Jan looks down and finds it and then the Pony Express race across the park begins to the "William Tell Overture" and I am not obsessed with that show I don't care what anybody says.)  If you're interested, all my photos can be seen on Flickr here.

This is the look of someone who just got a
hole-in-one?!?  Sheesh...
*  MINIATURE GOLF - Foghorn declined this outing in favor of swimming in Grandma's pool (a very popular activity for her this summer).  The Professor and I went to The Cincinnati Golf Center near King's Island once again and I wowed him with my hole-in-one.  Well, I was wowed, anyway.  He looked at me with contempt, especially given the way I was hopping up and down with my club aloft singing "We Are the Champions," and muttered, "There's a hole in your head."  On the very next hole, he got a hole-in-one.  He turned to me and, with that condescending voice of his said, "Not so impressive now, are you?"

TOTTER'S OTTERVILLE - Another activity that my kids have sadly outgrown.  The Professor wanted no part of this trip, but Foghorn insisted on going.  Otterville is perfect for preschool age kids, with various indoor pretend-play areas.   You can play vet,  have a puppet show, do ballet, be a mail carrier, work at a grocery store, do arts and crafts, and take care of dolls.  Outdoors is a pond full of plastic fish, a sandbox, playground equipment, and a water area.  Foghorn did a little fishing and put on a puppet show (which was mildly obscene) before deciding she was ready to go.  She insists she wants to return, but at 9 years old she's really beyond the target age group.

SOAK CITY AT KING'S ISLAND - Their newly revamped water park was not a hit with The Professor.  Most of the area remained unchanged, but among the changes was a complete overhaul of the lazy river.  Instead of a peaceful float around a meandering stream, it is full of waterfalls, spraying hoses, and guns on bridges that spectators can use to blast you as you float by.  The Professor was furious and we didn't return all summer.  We managed a second trip last week and he was still ranting over the ruined lazy river.  He does, however, enjoy the new wave pool, which is large, has big waves, and allows inner tubes.  We both stayed in so long we got seasick.

*  KING'S ISLAND - Most years we visit King's Island amusement park once a week, since it's a 15 minute drive from our home.  With temperatures hovering close to 100 for the month of July, we had managed only a couple of trips before the beginning of August.  We've made up for it in the last couple weeks.  The Beast is still The Professor's ride of choice and he's old enough to wander the park alone, which leaves me to take Foghorn on her favorite - The Backlot Stunt Coaster.

The Professor paid his monthly visit to the chiropractor this past week and was asked what his favorite thing was that he had done this summer.  The Professor thought a minute and then said, "I don't know.  We didn't really do very much."  Sigh...

1 comment:

quilt32 said...

If they had to write a school theme on "How I spent my summer vacation", they would never have enough time or paper.