“It’s ‘Blackpool Pleasure Beach’ in the sun!” we both said in unison as the children ran around us in excited circles waiting for their tickets.
Old-fashioned rides blended with fair-ground games, candy floss and hot dog stalls were on every corner and the sound of screams, mixed with shrill laughter, filled the air. The only thing missing were trams and donkeys. On the expansive beach there were people in a lot less clothing than on your average day at Blackpool too, but then this was Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park in sunny California.
The symphony swings flew out in an arc over the beach, as the sun beat down on the beach below. Our seven year old daughter rode on the swings over and over again, whilst her oldest sister rode on the boardwalk’s landmark ride – ‘The Giant Dipper‘ – with her Daddy.
Whilst the screams of excitement, intermingled with music and laughter, rang out from every direction of the boardwalk, our youngest, Miss 3, took a nap in her buggy. Her dreams filled with riding a friendly dragon, as her Mummy and Daddy smiled on with delight; as she pulled back on a lever to fly her dragon into a cloudless, blue sky.
And whilst she continued to dream, I watched the smile on the face of one of my daughters. She was having the time of her life, riding on a car waltzer, making me reminisce on days when the fun-fair would visit the town where I grew up, in Hampshire, England.
There were some rides that filled my husband and I with less than pleasant memories from our younger years, but filled our two older girls with rapturous glee, calling out to go, ‘Again! Again!’.
The first time they rode the spinning machine of stomach churning madness I thought they’d come off green, with tears streaming down their faces! But their stomachs are obviously made of something stronger (that perhaps age makes worse!).
They delighted in getting their Mummy and Daddy to go on the ‘scary’ rides with them – taking huge pleasure in seeing us cope less ably than them.
Thankfully we had the excuse of young Miss 3 to ‘cop’ out of too much stomach churning. As much as we still love a good thrill, we got equal pleasure from watching our youngest child’s face light up riding independently on boats, whales and ‘Pepsi’ delivery vehicles!
She rode a little boat with such concentration, truly believing her actions on the steering wheel would make a difference as to how the boat moved.
Whilst cuddly toys called out to be won…
And ghosts were preparing to meet with their demise as our older two ‘ghost busters’ powered up for action.
This was definitely one family adventure not to be forgotten. We’ll be talking about this for a very long time!