Nearly every summer of my childhood included at least one visit to Lake Winnepesaukah, a small amusement park affectionately known around here as "Lake Winnie". So many Saturdays I remember piling in the car, barely containing my excitement during the hour and a half ride. We would spend the day in the hot sun, riding our favorite rides over and over and feeding popcorn to the gigantic fish in the lake. Sometime around dark our moms would herd us, sweaty and exhausted, to the car, usually promising a return trip soon.
Those summer days at our beloved Lake Winnie are some of my favorite memories.
On Friday, I returned to Lake Winnie for the first time in at least 15 years. It was every bit as amazing to see it through my girls' eyes as it was to visit when I was a kid.
We set out for the zoo around lunch on Friday to take advantage of a beautiful day and extremely mild temperature. Thanks to a minor mishap involving Jeremy and a cup of Coke, those plans were soon abandoned and we returned home so he could change out of his (very) wet and sticky clothes. We dithered about what to do before deciding to venture in the opposite direction and make our first family visit to Lake Winnie. I am trying to encourage Jeremy to be a little more spontaneous, so it was a good opportunity for a lesson!
When we pulled up to the gates of the park, it felt vaguely familiar, but the moment we stepped through the entrance, all the old memories came rushing back. I quickly began pointing out favorite spots and landmarks to Jeremy and the girls...it was pretty fun to realize I still knew that place so well.
Addison & Mackenzie were so excited they could hardly stand it. They immediately started asking to ride everything, even the decidedly non-kiddie rides. To my great surprise, they happily rode every ride we suggested, including the full-size Scrambler (my longtime favorite-- which we rode with them, of course) and a child-sized roller coaster. As a matter of fact, I think we rode that caterpillar roller coaster at least 20 times!
We sat by the lake and fed popcorn to the fish, rode the train around the property, played on the gigantic new playground area, and enjoyed some totally unhealthy amusement-park food. It was a bit surreal to see my very own little girls doing the same things I enjoyed so much all those years ago. Circle of life and all that jazz...
When we left the park, just before closing, we all agreed it had been a perfect day. Jeremy and I had just as much fun as the girls did, if not more. Actually, after asking them several times if they had a good day, Mackenzie finally responded, "I already TOLD you I did!" Point taken, Mack, but you're going to have to humor your mama and her sappy nostalgia. I'm sure it won't be the last time!