Yesterday was Little A's first ever trip to King's Dominion. We went after 4pm to get discounted tickets, and wound up spending just over 3 hours of blissful evening at the park. Alastair loved every single thing he did, right down to stealing daddy's french fries.
We started with the Eiffel Tower. Ever the little engineer, Alastair quickly lost interest with the sheer size of the tower and focussed his attention on the machinations of the elevator. Of particular interest to our little 2 1/2 year-old son were the counter-weights. We rode to the top, spent a few minutes looking down on humanity and explained that all those tiny things below were actually really big up close, and then came back down. He was fascinated with the phenomenon of items growing with our descent.
Then we went and drove the antique cars. He was a super little boy while waiting in line, and "helped" me drive the car all around through the woods. He was a little disappointed that he couldn't actually drive the car, but he didn't gripe about it.
He and Momma went from there to the Flying Eagles, Alastair's first actual thrill ride. He and Amanda soared above me in their eagle, and he didn't show a hint of fear. Rock on, kid!
From there we went back to the front gate for food, and he chowed down on my french fries and shared a hot dog with Mommy. Our little shy guy was shouting "Hi" to all the patrons of the restaurant.
Then off to the children's area. First up were the little jeeps. This was his first ride without either Mommy or Daddy at his side, and while this sort of thing usually elicits fear, he just sat there and drove his little jeep, clanging the bell from time to time.
From the jeeps to the 4x4 pickups, which he also rode solo around a big meandering track. This one had him completely out of sight from us, and yet still he soldiered on. I don't think he'd ever experienced such bliss: he was driving a car completely on his own!
On the other side from the 4x4's are little Corvettes on a similar winding track. He drove an orange one (just like Daddy's race car!) twice during the evening, and told us the whole way home that he beat the green car that was behind him.
Then there were little race cars that just moved in a circle. Again: bliss. Alastair is absolutely enamored with driving (score!).
I convinced him to ride the miniature Berserker, and that gave him his first taste of negative G-loads as the boat rocked back and forth.
Our final big event of the evening was his first real roller coaster: the Taxi Jam. We waited very patiently in line for about 3 or 4 minutes, all the time Alastair was telling me that he didn't want to ride. But when we were at the front of the line, his tune changed quickly. I rode with him, and his little face was plastered in the biggest grin I've ever seen throughout the whole ride. Awesome.
While life couldn't get any better than the roller-coaster, he still wanted one last driving experience, and how better to finish than how he began: one last turn on the little jeeps.
At 8:30pm, his usual bed-time, we made our way to the front gate and began the 20-minute drive home. Amanda was terribly disappointed that we couldn't find any ice cream in the park, so we stopped for a milk-shake on the way. She and Alastair shared it in the back seat, and at 9:25pm, he was down without a sound. No late-night muttering, no kicking the wall or wrestling with Monkey, just deep sleep.
Kid was worn out.
Our favorite detail of the whole experience was that, throughout the day (throughout the whole weekend, actually), Alastair never quite mastered the name of the park. He kept saying "King's Miff" or "King's Demiff". With coaching, he'd get it right, but always revert back to "King's Miff" after a few minutes. Where in the world did he get "Miff" out of "Dominion"?