At the end of last week, our family took a trip to Six Flags Great America.  I have not been to this grand place for 9 years.  That’s back when Craig and I were just dating.  Young, in love, & spontaneous!  So to say that this trip was slightly different than the last, would be an understatement. 

This year’s trip was a completely new experience in that it wasn’t about me and how many roller coasters I could ride.  This trip was about experiencing a theme park through my kids’ eyes.  And the result did not disappoint.  One thing Great America has done since I last visited was to add more things for the shorties to do.  As a kid, I remember some sort of Bugs Bunny area with a big fun house and some other stuff.  Now, there are three dedicated kids areas, plus additional rides that shorties can ride outside of those areas.  It was awesome.

Waiting to ride The Whizzer!

Cole loved every second.  Well, okay, maybe not the end of the day when he got really mad that we would even suggest that the park was closing and we only had time for one more ride.  How dare we stop the fun?  I mean, really.  Anyway, up until that point, he was so enthusiastic, ready for more rides, more thrills.  He rode his first big roller coaster as the first thing we did upon arrival.  The Whizzer.  Chicago folk, can I get a woot woot for the Whizzer??  Aw yeah.  The Whizzer is a fabulous introductory coaster for the shorties.  You sit in a car, with the front person essentially in the lap of the one behind.  Perfect for a parent taking a kid on the ride.  Perfect for a couple to ride.  Extremely awkward for brother and sister.  Which was me and my brother.  Cole wanted to ride with Daddy, so Jon and I rode behind them.  Once we got situated, we just sat there waiting for it to start, feeling more awkward with each passing moment.  So Jon broke the silence by singing, “Hey!  It’s weird to have to sit with my sister!  It’s very awkward to be sitting here with everyone watching us!”.   I started laughing and looked at the people who were next in line, and they were looking anywhere and everywhere except at us, sharing in our awkwardness.  We just had to laugh.  What else could we do?

The awful Ricochet, pre-ride, pre-desire to vomit.

The bummer part of the day was that I was somehow nominated as the official “circular and vomit-inducing spinning ride” chaperone for the shorties.  I used to love those types of rides when I was younger.  Not so much now.  There was one in particular called “Ricochet”.  Just the name should tell you what horrors it had in store for riders.  It started up and as I sat with Cole and he screamed with delight, I was praying to not puke all over the people riding in the car behind us.  I needed a moment after that one.  I also rode the Great America version of the teacups.  Good gravy.  Can I get some sort of Awesome Mommy award for having to endure all of those horrific rides, please?  Urp.

One of the best rides was Roaring Rapids, a white-water raft ride where you pretty much get soaked no matter what.  Caroline was tall enough for this one so Grampy waited off the ride with Myles (who was passed out at that point anyway) and Craig and I got to ride with both Cole and Caroline, and Uncle Jon and Grammy.  It was so much fun.  I have to say, for my little prima donna daughter, she was incredibly brave that day, willing to try whatever ride she was big enough for.  She even went on Logger’s Run, another water ride, that had a huge, fast hill at the end.  Prior to plunging down at the end, it’s pretty mild, just floating along “rivers” and clicking up hills.  She was loving it until the end.  Craig sat with her (it was another sitting in the lap type ride) so he could basically envelop her for the hill.  I turned to see how she did once we splashed down, and she burst into tears.  Poor baby.  “I don’t ever never ever want to go on that ride again!!”, she sobbed.  Okay, baby.  I’m shocked she even wanted to go on in the first place, but I kept telling her how proud I was that she was so very brave.  I said she didn’t ever have to go on again, but wasn’t it great that she could look at the ride now and say, “Yeah, I’ve been on that ride.  I’m pretty awesome.”  That satisfied her enough to calm down, though she had to report to Grammy that the hill was pretty awful.

Myles totally soaked at Wiggles World

The highlight of the day for Myles was Wiggles World.  He was able to ride every single ride (5 of them), and of course, play on the Captain Feathersword pirate ship playground and splash in Henry the Octopus splash area.  Oh boy, did that kid splash.  At one point, he was peering into an opening on the side of this little splash structure, and it sprayed him right in the face suddenly.  He backed up in shock, looked at us, screamed in delight, and went back for more.  The child was SOAKED, and loved every second of it. 

Cole on The Little Dipper, all by himself!

Another fantastic kiddie ride was the “Little Dipper”, a kid-sized wooden coaster that Great America bought when the infamous “Kiddieland” closed for good last year.  At least its glory will remain for more generations!  This beauty of a coaster was special because Cole insisted on riding all by himself.  He was tall enough to ride without an adult, and he was set on it.  So, we waited while he got in line, waited his turn, and finally got on.  They even made an announcement: “We have a 5 year old on board with us today who is riding all by himself, ladies and gentleman.  Let’s give this young man a round of applause!”  It was so very cool.  Caroline even went on (another shocker!  I never thought she’d want to go!) with her uncle Jon, and loved it, begging to go on again.

Caroline with her Uncle Jon on the Little Dipper

Perhaps the best part of our day, was that because we were there at the end of August, on a weekday, the crowds were far less than normal peak season.  A lot of schools are already in session, so it seriously cut down on the amount of people.  It made for a much easier time packing in the most fun possible, since the lines were so short.  Seriously.  Like, maybe a 5-10 minute wait for major coasters.  We will keep this in mind and likely do it again next year.  Who’s coming with us?

Cole and Caroline on Busy Bees

Wiggles World: The Big Red Airplanes

Daddy with all the kids in the Wiggles plane!

Waiting to ride the teacups

Oh Look! Here's me trying not to hurl!