Friday, August 12, 2011

For the Sake of Amusement

   Summer is a wonderful time of year and brings with it exciting outings and activities. Many people visit amusement parks...and I must admit to being something of a connoisseur of getting the most “amuse” from any park I visit. On my last visit, I took time to make some interesting observations that I never noticed before. Perhaps that’s not an accurate statement...I noticed, I just never gave it any thought beyond my visual observations.
   There are different types of park goers, as varied as people can be, anywhere you find them. In a park built for profit through amusement, specific types stand out be they a couple or in groups. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone frequent this type of park alone...and would find it unsettling and frankly, suspicious, to see. As a parent, this is just the way I’m going to view that subject. There are certain objectives that are looking to be met depending on the type of park goer you are. For example there is the ultimate thrill junkie that will seek to get on all the best roller coasters as many times as possible before the park closes. Then there are the passive enthusiasts that enjoy a thrill here and there, but are most interested in the quality time spent with friends and family.
   It doesn’t matter to which of the extremes you belong to or what group in between these extremes you fall’s parks cater to everyone. It’s noteworthy that at a glance, such places are not built for the very young, or very old...and yet both can still be seen among the crowd. That’s because these places are still family destinations and despite the different type of park goers that make up a family, we just like to be with our loved ones having a good time however we define it.
   If you are like me, a passive enthusiast, that has come to view these outings differently than I did in my youth, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I have a great time watching my children have a blast and enjoy certain aspects of the park I completely ignored in my youth as I searched for the next coaster. Where I would carefully map my way through the park for the best rides, I now map my way through it for the best places to eat. Running by the skill stops for prizes on my way to the next thrill has given way to stopping and trying to figure out the scam...convincing myself that science and added maturity can overcome the “fix” that has worked for decades.
   The smells, the screams, the music...the kaleidoscope of sounds and sensations is always enough to put me in the mood..or “park mode.” There is something about going to an amusement park as a child that will always stick with me, no matter how old I get. Perhaps this explains the “very old” that I see in the park? Perhaps this is why there is something there for everyone, even if that something is the family you came with.
   I would be remiss if I talked about an amusement park and didn’t give any insight on how to best be a roller coaster and thrill seeking junkie. First, always grab a park map and become familiar with the names and locations of all the best rides you want to go on. You’ll know which ones they are since, as a thrill junkie, you’ve already researched them online ahead of time. If you’re really hardcore, then look into whatever program the park you’re at has for bypassing the long lines that come with going on the best rides. There’s nothing like getting off an awesome ride...and getting right back on it again. 
   Once that is all set you simply go from one end of the park to the other hitting the rides in succession until you’ve gone on all the ones you’ve targeted...then go back the way you came repeating the method. As the day winds away and evening falls, you will find that your route has internalized itself and you’ll know exactly where you’re going. 
   No matter what park type you are...there is plenty of fun around for everyone, just waiting for you to acknowledge you define your own amusement.

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