The Cost of Amusement
June 3, 2011
I grew up in a seaside town that boasts a small amusement park and one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the country. I have sweet memories of riding The Giant Dipper throughout my childhood: the click-click-click sound of the long ride to the top with a view of the bay and then the screaming rush back down to the ground. There was a tilt-a-whirl, a carousel, and a funky-smelling caveman theme ride called The Cave Train. These moments of excitement cost just a few dollars and could be easily afforded with a month or so of saved allowance.
This year during pre-school Spring Break, we took our 5-year-old son to his first amusement park, Legoland. Our kid worships Legos, specifically Star Wars Legos. We timed our trip to see the new Star Wars Lego attraction. We spent the majority of the day looking at our kid look at Legos. We met up with one of his friends there and the little guys rode a few rides. We looked at Legos. We had lunch. We looked at Legos. We had ice cream. We looked at Legos.
Including our gas expense for the day trip, admission to the park, all of the snacks, and one “early birthday present” Star Wars Lego set, we were out close to $500. We had managed to blow our stay-cation budget, meant to last a week, in just one day. The experience made me long for the days of The Cave Train.
In August we plan on making a trip to Sea World. We have a two-for-one admission coupon and plan on packing some of our own snacks. Even still, we have already started saving up.
—Lisa is a former comedy writer for television. She now writes about her funny family at her blog Smacksy.com.