Monday, June 29, 2015

Magical Setting, Magic Springs.

Since before I was around, there's been this great theme park less than an hour from Little Rock where families can go and have a good time. I grew up with Magic Springs, and just like me, it's had its ups and downs. With the addition of the Crystal Falls waterpark area, the park has managed to keep relevant and fun for all sorts of folks.

We went down to discover some of the cooler things about the park... and attempt to keep cool while we were there. After all, it was over 90 degrees that day!  Magic Springs kindly hosted the four of us, answering questions and giving us a behind-the-scenes look.

Grav and I toured the park in the morning, while Hunter and her godmother April took in a lot of the "dry" side of the amusements.  Then we all went for a swim. Here's what we found.

The Arkansas Twister is still the best thrill ride in the park, if you ask me.  As far as
I know, it's the only wooden rollercoaster in the state,

The park does retain a lot of its classic rides, such as this big ship.
A member of the park staff has painstakingly repainted and renovated the
entirety of this classic carousel.

And then there's the Sky Shark... a strange combination of swing and bungee jump.
I will never get on this.



There's also Wild Thing... which, I don't know. seems like it will do anything
in the world to unsettle your stomach.

Hunter and I prefer the simpler attractions.  While Grav enjoys riding the
Plummet Summit, Hunter enjoys getting splashed by it.  Everyone wins.

Hunter and I share a deep affection for the classics, such as the carousel and the
bumper cars... and for the original, untouched by time Ozark Mountain Taxi Ride.

This right here was Hunter's first time driving... anything. She was very patient
and slow.  VERY slow.  That's okay.  I'm thrilled to know my child is not a
speed demon.

Of course, it's our duty and responsibility to try out the food and share our
favorites with you.  Hunter found a lollipop BIGGER than her head.

We sampled some chocolate mint fudge.
And we toured the group facility.  You may not know this, but there are rentable
pavilions for groups near the Arkansas Twister.  You can host a group of five to
five thousand at Magic Springs, and there are a few businesses that rent out the
entire park on some late summer and autumn weekdays.

This huge industrial kitchen can cater to those groups, and to the musical acts
that come to perform throughout the summer.

And then, there was this pizza...

This 29" diameter pizza is the largest in the state, and it could
easily feed 10 adults or a battalion of kids.  With cheese, it's $44.99
and it's just a few dollars more for toppings.

We also took a look around Splash Island before it opened. This was Hunter's
favorite place on our trip.  The big bucket up on top dumps water every few
minutes on the kids below, and the contraption is covered with easy-to-ride
ramps and slides.

It's like an amazing, oversized playground.

At any time, there are eight lifeguards on duty just at
the Splash Zone -- and 40-50 on-park.

Grav's favorite thing at Magic Springs is the plethora of water slides.  Not content
to have a single bank of such, there are more than a dozen different slides to
enjoy in the Crystal Falls section.

The slides rang from tubes to open topped chutes to serpentine flumes and even
a giant funnel.

There are beverages available in the park, and you can make a day of it.  My tip -- acquire one
of the reusable beverage containers.  Refills are $1.11 throughout the park.  Stay hydrated, wear
your sunscreen, and have a great time at Magic Springs!
For more information, check out the park's website

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Day In New Orleans, in Instagrams.

There are many ways to tell a story.  This story is about a day spent in New Orleans.

A few years ago, when I traveled, some would marvel at the speed I might get a blog post up -- say, at the end of a busy day.  Today, we're in a very instant world.

This particular Friday was spent in New Orleans.  A lot of things happened this day.  For one, the Supreme Court made a ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.  President Barack Obama, while giving the eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pickney in South Carolina, burst into song.  Louisiana Bobby Jindal refused to acknowledge the Supreme Court ruling and continued to stand against gay marriage in his state.

I was attending the Southern Foodways Summer Symposium.  Grav spent the day looking for what might happen in the city after the Supreme Court ruling.  This story, captured on Instagram, is preserve here.

An interesting day.










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