Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Okay, I realize that very few if any of you can relate to the Indianapolis Zoo. This post is more about the experience of riding with my daughter on her first roller coaster (and finally providing me with a suitable avatar).
My daughter is three years old and stands 38" tall. My wife and I had been talking her up for a while, trying to gauge whether or not she was down for the Zoo's coaster, Kombo. She always answered "yes" every time we asked her if she wanted to ride, but how could we know whether or not she really did, or if she was just trying to please her parents, or if she even knew what the hell we were talking about? There was also the issue of whether or not she was tall enough. My wife said that during their last visit the height marker showed that she was too short, but my at-home measurements confirmed that she met the stated requirement of 38". I assumed that their physical ruler was off, and being an entitled, enthusiast prick, I planned to bring a tape measure with me just in case.
The moment of truth arrived yesterday, and sure enough she hopped right on with no trepidation (and we were right--the height marker was off by an inch, but they didn't even measure her, they just took us at our word). There was even a delay in getting people strapped in that afforded her the opportunity to psyche herself out, but she never wavered. My wife got the first laps with her in the front seat, and though she said she had fun, she wasn't ready to ride again right away.
I understood but was still a little heartbroken. Would I have to wait until our next visit before I could share the experience with her? Was she on sensory overload, where the full weight of what just happened would take a while to sink in? Well, after strolling around for another hour or so, she and my wife had a chat. She wanted to go to Cedar Point with us, but my wife told her that we probably wouldn't take her unless she would ride the coasters (not exactly true), so she came up to me and said she wanted to ride the coaster with me, adding, "Would that make you happy, daddy?" My heart melted all over the asphault. So I got my turn riding with her, towards the back this time, and she really seemed to enjoy it. I was a proud papa.
So, does anyone have any stories about their kids' first rides?
My first memories are of Adventure Express and Top Gun. I hated them. It took until I was 10, when I first rode The Beast, to finally come around, and I haven't looked back since.
I took my son on Taxi Jam at KD and the equivalent at Carowinds when he was 3. He said he liked them, but his body language implied more indifference than anything and wasn't really all that ready to ride again. I was a little uncertain that he'd really enjoy coasters like I do, but last year at Busch Gardens (he'd just turned 6), he rode Grover's Alpine Express with me and was grinning ear to ear. He immediately wanted to ride again, and after that he wanted to ride a third time with his mom. Good times.
I'm looking forward to maybe going to KD this year, as I think he'll be up for Scooby Doo, which was my first at age 6.
I just remember when my son was born wondering how long we'd have to wait for our first ride. But come to think of it, his first "rollercoaster ride" was inside Mom as I raced her to the hospital when her water broke. ;)
He's been pretty open all along, but finally maxed out on Xcelerator: http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Topic/my-7-year-old-has-hit-the-wall#880411
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