Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pirate's Cove in Elk Grove Village

Misty the Dragon slide is one of the first rides to greet you as you run into this small amusement park targeted to kids ages 2-9.

I had been wishing to take the kids here, especially since it has a pirate theme, so two days ago, we packed up a picnic lunch and drove the 40 minutes there. The cost is really reasonable - $7 per child resident, or $9 for non-residents. Adults are always free.

When they saw the 1950's Herschell Kiddie Carousel with its 22 hand-painted aluminium horses, suddenly the playground slide wasn't that exciting anymore.

We had arrived right at lunch time (Steve had to work most the morning even though this was technically a vacation day for him), and so after the carousel ride we strolled over to eat atop a replica of an 18th century pirate ship. I'm kicking myself now for not taking a picture of the entire ship. We ate lunch at the top, and Jared liked looking through the cannons to the park below.

Our next stop - the adorable hand-propelled paddle boats. The kids first did this type of ride last year at Naper Fest, and they both very quickly caught on how to steer the boat forwards and backwards.

They jumped around in a bounce house for awhile after that. We watched some older kids climbing up the 20 foot high climbing wall, and we asked Jared if he'd like to try. To my surprise, he said yes. Alexa played nearby on a rope climber.

When they started putting the harness on him, I started to get nervous. There weren't any kids as young as him trying this. He isn't a tall boy for his age, and the harness seemed to swallow him up. I wondered how far he'd climb before he wanted to come down.

To my shock, he kept climbing, and climbing and climbing. His legs and arms had to stretch so far to find the next thing to climb up, but he kept pushing himself.

At the very top of the wall, you're supposed to push a red button. He was practically at the top, stretching his little fingers, and was about six inches away from pushing it, when he started crying. With the angle of the rope, the harness was now close around his neck and shoulders, and it just scared him. We quickly asked them to pull him down.  It will be probably be hard to see Jared in this picture at the top, but I wanted to show how high he was.

We were so proud of our adventurous, brave boy.

Before leaving the park, the kids went on a few big slide rides with Steve...

...saw a little musical performance...

...and took a train ride. I think you can tell by Steve's expression we were all getting a bit hot and grumpy. On the way out, the kids picked out a pirate hat, eye patch and hook . We picked up some shakes on the way home, and us adults even had a chance to take some naps at home later in the afternoon. Yeah!

Since I just wrote several posts on the importance of play, I wanted to include these last two pictures of Jared's pretend play that evening. He called me over to show me a "sculpture" he had created on the bed out of different objects to make a Batplane.

Jared's alter ego is Bruce Wayne. He'll often refer to himself this way. The picture below is  "Bruce Wayne's box."  He'll say things like, "I need to put Bruce Wayne's books in his box."  He loves to collect things, pull them out of his box, sort them, and put them back again. It's so exciting to see the different ways kids play. I had never before thought of collecting and sorting things as a type of play.


Nicki said...

I love that place! I remember going there when I was a little kid! I used to take Little Bear, but I've never taken Pufferfish yet. Another thing to add to my list for the summer!

Chris said...

There are so many fun things to do around this area, it's hard to fun time to fit them all in! Also, thanks to your blog, I've been introduced to so many more, too. Thanks!

Stephanie said...

A super fun day!
And a great place! :)

Lynn B said...

Wow, what a strong and brave kid Jared is! That is amazing, Chris... looks like a lot of fun = some tired kids (and parents) :)