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Why should we make time to visit themed and specialty parks?

ask the

-play ladypat rumbaugh

Dear Readers, When people ask how old I am, I usually say eight. A couple of years ago while walking my dog Abbie with my young friend Lucy, Lucy told me she was almost six. I responded, “I am almost six too.” Lucy looked at me and replied, “Pat, maybe you can’t count to how old you are.” I then shared, “I have not counted that high in awhile, but on my next birthday I will be fifty-six and I would rather just say I am going to be six.” Lucy giggled and said, “Ok, Pat, you can say you are six.” Why do I share this cute story? Well, I like to think like a child, so I can remind myself what I enjoyed playing back when I was six and eight and so on. Some of the most highly anticipated moments of my childhood came when our family drove from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, California. We have three first cousins who lived in Redondo Beach. Besides seeing them and getting to go to the beach, the highlight of the trip was a day at Disneyland. The six of us would go with our cousins' family of five and spend the entire day riding the rides and playing. I can feel the goose bumps on my arms as I think about how excited we were to go on the rides. I loved to drive the cars. I am not sure why I loved that activity so much, but I thought it was super fun. We got to buy the Mickey Mouse hats and have ice cream treats, which was a big deal. Spending those special hours with our

families was a truly great experience. Just thinking about having those opportunities makes me appreciate my parents for all the sacrifices they made, so we could have a wonderful time. A big thanks to my parents!

If you are an adult and can afford to bring a child or two to an amusement park, I highly recommend you make the time to do so. Memories last a lifetime and believe me, some of my fondest memories are of going to theme parks. As a mother of two young children, my husband Tom and I used to join my in-

laws every summer to go to a company picnic held at another amusement park called Idlewild in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. This park is about fifty miles outside of Pittsburgh with a variety of rides, waterslides, a pool, and a lovely setting for picnics at their pavilions. Tom’s parents enjoyed introducing us to friends they had known for years. We would ride, play, have some lunch, and start all over again. Our children Alex and Sarah grew up going to this park every summer. I can still see both kids climbing the jungle-like rope high in the air, so they could go down a three-story slide. I wouldn’t trade those memories from Idlewild for anything. I urge families to check out amusement parks near and far from where they live, plan a day trip, maybe go for a couple of days’ vacation, or meet some extended family members or friends for a special event like a birthday or anniversary. Spending time together while riding rides, playing games, and just enjoying life is an awesome way to spend time with people you enjoy.

Rumbaugh family at Idlewild amusement park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

24 PLAY AND PLAYGROUND MAGAZINE SUMMER 2017

www.playgroundprofessionals.com/magazine

Why theme your playspace?  

What makes a playground or a park themed? The beauty of the child's imagination allows for any environment or any situation to become themed...

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