Ever since the Burlington Carousel Festival Sam discovered two months ago, she has been bugging me everyday to take her back. Every. Single. Day. “I want to go to the Carousel Festival again with you Mommeeee!”
Knowing that the words “it happens only once a year” won’t really mean much to her, I have instead tried to shift her attention to other activities that might interest her. They do distract her for a while, but then she always remembers it at one point in time and requests to go again. I started to pray that we’d find another carousel venue to stop this maddening request.
As fate and luck (and being friends with Christina) would have it, we discovered that an old city park in Raleigh was scheduled to re-open, and with a new Carousel house at that (Thank GOD). So in spite of the below zero temperatures, last Saturday we lugged everyone into the car, and drove 30+ miles to Pullen Park.
Listening to the Mayor’s speech at the opening, I learned that Pullen Park will be 125 years old next March. Apparently they had closed off the park for a while and only decided to re-open it last Saturday, with a brand new Carousel building (that houses what apparently is a historic 1911 Dentzel Carousel) at the center of its Amusement Park. They also had a train with a newly built tunnel and it circles the park and a lake (Well, it was really a muddy body of water to me but we carry on…) where people can pedal boat around for $6. It’s actually a very scenic and nicely landscaped area, with two bridges to cross over. On the other side of it are the age-appropriate playgrounds that lead up to an Aquatic Center and a Community Center as well.
In any case, the weather turned out to be perfect and Sam of course jumped on the carousel ride first. She did it twice, and did not mind standing in line for about 15-minutes each time to get her chance. I will have you know, she will wait very patiently for something to get what she wants when she wants it. Tickets per ride were $1 a turn, which really isn’t a bad deal considering it is the park’s main attraction.
It was a good thing too that we hit the Carousel first, because after that more people arrived at the park and the lines snaked out of the building to approximately 40-minute wait times. By then Sam had already made her way around and driven the Kiddie Boat ride, and played on the playground. Of course, even if there were signs for “age-appropriate” structures to play on, that didn’t stop her from trying out the 5-12 year old monkey bars and slide set. Her daddy did all he could to keep up with her.
Then we took our place in line for the Pedal Boats around the lake, where Sam wore her first life jacket. It was Jamie’s first time too come to think of it, although she hated the life jacket because even with the smallest one, she was sinking into it until all you could see were her cheeks and her eyes. I wish I caught a picture, but then I was too busy worrying about my children falling into the lake (or me falling in with them). I tell you, motherhood has done something to my adventure gene…
By the time we got back the lines to the train were also another hour’s wait and it was getting dark, so we opted to skip it and instead allowed the girls to enjoy a little bit more of the playground before heading home for the day. As they played we also caught a bit of music from the Carpe Diem Quartet. Jamie was mesmerized and liked their jazzy tunes!
The only thing I would advise on a trip down to Pullen Park would be to bring your own snacks and food. There are lots of grassy areas to lay out picnic blankets and let the kids run, so it would be a nice thing to do on a warm sunny day. We didn’t plan for it, and instead had to buy from the sole food concessionaire at the park, Pullen Cafe. The food wasn’t bad (they had gluten-free chocolate chip cookies!), but we just felt it was a little pricey for the quality and the options available.
Sam was extremely exhausted and in spite of two little bars of KitKat, she knocked out cold 5 minutes into our ride home. Of course, now her pleas for riding a carousel have morphed into,”We’ll go back to Pullen Park, and ride the carousel, and a red pedal boat, and then we’ll ride the train and play in the playground… okay Mommeeeeee…”
It has only been two days since the trip and already I have heard it over fifty times. Obviously, a second trip to Pullen Park is in our future. 🙂