Every summer, there’s a magical village that opens in a park in town. The name is totally silly, and it’s nothing fancy, but for the 1-6 set, it’s perfect. Kiddie Park is filled with pint-sized carnival rides with a 1950s vintage. The word around town is that these type of parks were popular all over the U.S. in the post-war period, but that in time, along with drive-in theaters, most have gone under.
But not ours. Every summer and a few other special times during the year, the park is open. It’s staffed by high school students who usually appear pretty miserable to be standing in the heat for hours on end, but they’re also usually pretty sweet with lifting kids up into rides and buckling them in. It’s a summer job, I guess. For all the years we’ve lived here, rides have gone for 25 cents a pop – a price for entertainment that can’t be beat. This year, they raised it. To a whopping 50 cents apiece. I think we can handle it.
We’ve visited Kiddie Park lots over the past four years, but this is the first year that this sweet kids really got it and enjoyed it. No crying on the rides, confidently running to the next ride he wanted to go on. Nearly every visit starts with a trip on the cars.
These cute little vehicles are all custom painted in various color schemes. I think local auto shops donate their services.
The cars are a perfect starter ride because they don’t go to fast. And, the little guy can pretend he’s steering as they roll around in a circle. For two minutes. Which the workers time on a kitchen timer while they sip their drinks and act bored.
A new favorite are these mini semi-trucks that go around on a tiny track.
This year, little sister is there watching every move, but not quite big enough to go on any rides. Next year will be double the price for us!
Last year we made a fun discovery.
These World War Two era planes spin around, but they also rise up if you pull on the stick.
Last year we’d be screaming and screaming at the kid to pull the stick to go up and he sometimes couldn’t quite figure it out. This year, he’d pull up right from the beginning, and stay up, grinning like a cat that swallowed a canary.
They remind me of the Flying Ace.
This one can’t wait to be next.
The roller coaster is not a favorite.
That’s his friend Brody and his sister. His sister wasn’t a fan, either.
The motorboats are also a favorite, especially when he can ride with his buddies and ring the bell.
So that’s the town Kiddie Park! Cheap thrills and big smiles all around.