It was a hot, humid Friday in the New York city area. But hot and humid or not I had planned to take the kids to Victorian Gardens so there we went. We had a great time which translates into, the kids had a great time and CC and I had a great time seeing them be happy. Yes, THEM. Both Ace and Jay.
Places like this are custom built for Ace. I knew he would love it. Jay is not as easy to predict. He’s not very expressive with his face or his words but the fact that he kept asking to back on a couple of the rides and the fact that he wasn’t being grumpy and the fact that he sat with us and ate his Doritos and the fact that he let the ride attendants help him onto and off the rides told us that he was having fun. What his words don’t tell us, his behaviour does. And his behaviour was loud and clear.
First there was a “roller coaster”. I asked CC to go on with the kids but he was sure they could handle it themselves. For the record, he was *cough* right. Both boys rode once and then we moved onto a big “potato sack slide”. As it turns out Jay wasn’t quite tall enough for that one but Ace went and loved it. Jay rode a twisty balloon thing which he didn’t love and then he went on a boat thing and a truck thing. Those he liked. THEN, Jay found the bumper boats. Oh how he loved the bumper boats. Again, I asked CC to walk Jay all the way to the top of the (3) stairs and help him get in the boat and make sure that he was OK but CC said “Let him do it himself. He’s a big boy now.” I guess I am still struggling with him being more and more independent. It’s a good thing he has CC who pushes him. Twice in one day CC was right. That must be a 1st. (Ha! I kid)
Jay must’ve rode the bumper boats about 6 times. All along, he listened to the attendant. He waited his turn in line. He was amazing.
OK there was 1 time he tried to cheat and sneak in the exit door to cut the line but hey I don’t blame him. It was worth a try.
We all took a break to get some food and then we went back in. Another example of his behaviour telling us more than his words. If Jay hadn’t been having fun he would surely have pulled us towards the exit after we ate instead of quietly going with us back to the rides area.
Once we went back in, Ace ran around wanting to try every single ride. Jay went back to the original roller coaster and never came off till it was time to go home. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded so he could just stay on. Whenever the attendant asked him if he wanted to get off he said no and stayed in his seat. She thought it was very funny.
As I watched Jay navigate the carnival area, I couldn’t help thinking that this was a great place for him to practice his social skills. The (2 minutes of) waiting in line. Following instructions from new people. Being around other kids and seeing how they behaved and interacted. Waiting till we were all finished eating before he was able to do what he wanted. While we ate, Jay thoroughly entertained himself by chasing the birds that gather in the food court.
Victorian Gardens is the perfect size for our family and the crowd was very manageable. New York city has so much to offer but that gem in the middle of Central Park may be my kids favourite. The walk back to the car isn’t too bad either. Central Park has lots of rocks to climb and grass to run through and cute little huts to oooh and ahhh at. I really love seeing them in that kind of environment. They also have lots of horse drawn carriages which Jay loves to see.
Note: The day cost a lot more than I had anticipated (about $150) but if I had known better we could have saved about $75 between parking and entrance fees and food. Here’s a couple hints for anyone who’s thinking of going … No need to buy the “all you can ride” armband for any adults. All the rides are perfectly kid friendly. Also, you’re allowed to bring your own food and drinks so no need to spend over $20 on 1 hotdog, a bag of Doritos and 2 chicken fingers with some fries like we did. Lastly, parking is the complete opposite of affordable so take the train.