Have I already said this somewhere?? I simply love, love, love amusement parks!! I have ever since we moved to Florida when I started High School. My parents bought all of us season passes to Disney World (we lived 15 minutes away) and we all went there every Sunday afternoon after church. It was the first year they offered the season passes and it was the year that Epcot opened too – so we got to visit both as often as we wanted. My mother still has her season pass and still pays the same fee per year she paid back in 1982 – her “charter” membership price (unfortunately, they don’t offer this option anymore).

I’ll tell you, my brother and I loved, loved, loved our afternoons there! We were old enough to go off just the two of us and do what we wanted to do while my parents enjoyed the portions of the park they wanted to visit. We knew those parks like the back of our hands, and I swear we rode Space Mountain about a thousand times in a matter of months. It was truly one of the coolest things to happen in my teenage years. I love all the imagination, creativity and passion that goes into those parks. It’s all about that for me, and I feel inspired there as they make you believe all your dreams can come true. We also got the benefit of going to the parks during the off-season when there were very few people there and NO lines! We loved it so much that both my brother and I worked there in high school when we were old enough to.

I still try to visit at least one of the parks every time I go back to Florida to visit my mom. It’s a “fix” I need to have at least once a year. I even ran my first marathon at Disney World.

Also, Pop’s and I got married in Kissimmee – near Disney – where my parents lived, so we could take Mimi and Libby there for our honeymoon. I simply cannot wait to someday take Hunter and Westly to those special “worlds”. We are, however, lucky enough to have a few theme parks close to where we live and this year we already all have purchased our summer season tickets.

Soon, I’m sure, I’ll be posting many photos of our trips to Great America and Gilroy Gardens, but this past Saturday we went to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (formerly Marine World). My mom (aka Grandma Jan) is out here visiting, so she and I met Libby, Robert, Hunter, Westly and Libby & Robert’s friends up at the park for a day of fun and celebration for Hunter’s 5th birthday. Here are some photos from our day:

This Two-Toed Sloth named Chewy met us on our way in

Mom and I arrived at the park before the kids got there, so we went to see the Tiger show while we waited.

The Tiger show stage
The kitties look so cute and cuddly
Except maybe when they're eating meat under water...crazy!

Then we met the kids over at the “butterfly” house.

Libby and "Lini"
some of the butterflies are so pretty - like this one
and these two look pretty harmless, but....
this one is huge and downright scary!!!!

Then we headed for some rides:

Hunter's such a big boy now - 5!!!!
Robert even got in on some "ride" action with Westly
Libby too (Westly's the only one not looking thrilled)

But Westly does love….

the Characters!
could it be because he's such a character himself??

and everyone enjoyed the shows

Westly hammin' it up with Grandma Jan
and with Daddy (Robert)

I liked all the animals, but I kinda had a place in my heart for the tortoises…um, I think I really need one of these on my farm!!

sooooo sweet!!

This was a precious moment….everyone watching the Shouka show…last show of the day. The music was awesome for this show and the kids really, really loved it!

Hunter and his friend Eliza super focused...pick me!
The show has their full attention.
This is "super hero" focus (notice their capes)
Wow - Imagine lifting all that weight out of the water
again and again and again....

It exhausts me just thinking about it….even 2 days later.

What’s your favorite theme park? Wanna share any tips on your trips there? Please comment below….thanks!

(I need to rest now)