Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ozarks Trip Day 5

Day 5 of our trip was our second full day in Branson.  The all inclusive package we'd reserved included two day passes to Silver Dollar City and we decided to check that out instead of catching another show.  We were a little worried about the weather, but decided to just take a chance and head out there after our buffet breakfast. 

Of course, as we pull into the parking lot, it starts raining.  You aren't allowed to park where you want at Silver Dollar City.  The parking lots you can walk from are reserved for season pass holders and handicapped visitors.  The other parking lots are too far away to walk, you have to wait for a tram.  And there isn't really covered waiting space (there's a very very tiny covered bus stop, but it wouldn't come close to holding everyone).  We decided to bring the umbrella and make the best of it anyway.  Thankfully by the time the tram got to the gates, it had just about stopped.  The rest of the morning was muggy, but we didn't get drenched.

The girls aren't interested in big rides and neither is my mom, but I had heard Silver Dollar City had a lot of craftsman demonstrations, so I figured we'd find plenty to do for a couple of hours and we really only wanted to spend the morning out there anyway. 

My main complaints were that you had to both enter and exit through a large gift shop and the parking was a bit ridiculous.  Besides that, it reminded me a lot of Astroworld in Houston during the late 80's/early 90's.  We started out watching a glass blowing demonstration

Then we found this "rope" bridge to walk across.  This was the site of the infamous "BUG IN THE EYE!" incident.  We got to the end of the bridge and Sierra screamed that there was a bug in her eye.  Sure enough, a gnat had met it's fate by flying straight into her eyeball and wedging itself under her lower lid.  She was FLIPPING OUT.  Got her to hold still, stop flapping her hands, and let me get it out, then she told it off (no really, she lectured it and threw in an, "I HATE you bug!"  for good measure.)
With our newly bug-free eyes, it was a good time to check out the kid's playground/maze:

Sedona was super excited to see the carousel and took a few rides to practice waving at her adoring fans

Then we found the generic version of the Dumbo ride.  Sierra's in the front elephant, Sedona and I are two behind her:
I accidentally left the camera on the wrong setting, so Grandma had a hard time getting pictures.  Here's me at Sedona's mercy...why keep the elephant low or high when you can continually bounce it back and forth?
Nah, it was really okay (for the most part)
And then they spotted the tea cups.  Hard to see, but we're in the front cup.  I can handle riding with them and letting them spin at top speed, the problem is the employees expect you to actually get OFF the tea cup ride and walk to the exit when the ride is over.  It's really the ultimate field sobriety test
We spotted this teeny tiny roller coaster that looked perfect for the girls.  I rode with Sedona (in the second to last car) and Sierra was by herself (last car).  I thought it was totally fine for them, but neither was too impressed.  In the pictures, you can see Sedona try to raise her arms for about 2 seconds, Sierra maintains a death grip on the handle and her seat "belt" bar for the entire ride.  I'm not sure they'll ever be coaster enthusiasts.
By the time all that was done, we were ready to make our way towards the front of the park.  I spotted a pottery shop and had to go look around.  Poor Sedona ended up in tears because I had told her not to touch anything, but she was still being Sedona and I told her she was making me really really nervous.  Before I knew it, she was crying and finally told me she was afraid she was going to break something and be in big trouble.  Mom fail.  She and Sierra sat on a nice, safe, unbreakable bench outside while my mom and I finished checking out.  I ended up with a gorgeous oil bottle and serving dish
Back at the hotel, we had lunch and then went to scope out the indoor waterpark onsite.  The girls wanted a chance to play and grandma was ready for a rest, so we went back to get swimsuits on and grandma stayed behind for a nap while I got the kids out of her hair for a little while.  I wasn't super impressed with the waterpark and would not suggest it be a deciding factor if you're planning a trip and planning to stay at Grand Country.  Online, it looks like this might be somewhat equivalent to Great Wolf waterparks, but it's not.  The water is COLD and there is only a very small area to play in.  The benefit to the size and Sedona's newly acquired swimming skills was that I didn't actually have to get in the water.  I followed them around and watched closely, but stayed dry (and warm).  I also noticed the life guards were no where NEAR the Great Wolf life guards.  They were the bare minimum, looking bored and inattentive.   The girls loved the slides, but the guards weren't even watching those closely, so while I always supervise really closely (maybe too closely) around water, I made sure to have eyes on them all the time.  All in all, the kids enjoyed it and it was a good afternoon break, but I would have been upset if that was planned to be a major part of our trip.  Our all inclusive package included food at the waterpark snack bar, so I got the girls a funnel cake and we headed back to the room just in time to beat the rain.

There was still another mini golf course we hadn't played, so after cleaning up and changing clothes and hitting the buffet for another fabulous dinner, we made our way to the indoor black light golf course. 

This was a fun course, but it was raining outside, so it was pretty crowded with a lot of families looking for indoor activities.  About 9pm on the fifth night in a row of being up past bedtime is not really the ideal time to work with kids on their patience.

Downstairs from the mini golf, I let the girls play a few arcade games, which ultimately ended in Sierra trading tickets for a whoopee cushion.  If you think girls are nothing but sugar and spice and everything nice, put them in a car for 2 days with a whoopee cushion.  They thought it was absolutely hilarious.  That all inclusive package included ice cream and it was still raining, so we sat down with ice cream while we waited for a break in the rain. 

Back at the hotel room it was time to start collecting our things together, the next day was the start of our drive home!

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