Sunday, September 8, 2013

amusement olive.

Sunday was a good day. We didn't really have anything planned. I have been wanting to take Olive to Como Town, the little kid amusement park at Como Zoo, for a while now but was putting it off over the summer for fear of giant crowds. I was disappointed to see that since school started it is only open on weekends through the end of this month. I mentioned to Tyler and I wanted to try to take her this month and today ended up being the perfect day. The weather was cooler than planned, it was cloudy, and drizzled on and off, though the weather called for a little more rain. I think this made for smaller crowds and made the day a lot more comfortable. We did some things around the house, Tyler searched for a place to go out for lunch, and we eventually headed out the door.

 Our first stop was Colossal, in St. Paul. I love this little neighborhood on Como Ave. It has a mini town downtown feel.. I like that this happens throughout the Twin Cities in many places, though not really near our home.


 You order cafeteria style at the front counter and serve yourself coffee and water. There are two water options - regular water and carbonated, which both come from a tap. They provide lime for the water and multiple creams, sugars, as well as honey for the coffee. I enjoyed both the coffee (with honey and half and half) and the carbonated water (with lime) greatly. My eyes were hungry - I ordered myself a short stack of flappers (yeast pancakes) with seasonal fruit, a seasonal fruit and granola parfait for Olive, apple juice for Olive, and a GIANT cinnamon roll for us to share. Tyler ordered a sandwich though he would like to return and try breakfast - specifically the biscuits and gravy.. with bison!


Tyler added his hand for scale.

I saw it there, in the pastry case.  One last lonely giant $3 cinnamon roll.  How could I not order it?  How had no one before me snatched it up?  It was a sign.



Olive asked a lot of questions about our little street sign.


 Olive slowly enjoyed her parfait but I think Tyler ate most of it. She also had some of my pancakes and Tyler's pickle. She also enjoyed watching another little kiddo at a table who was watching Dora on an iPhone that was inside of a kid friendly iPhone holder. She said she wanted one of those. At one point she asked us to scratch her armpits. Not tickle them.. scratch them. So I did. And it did not tickle her. It was quite strange.




Olive made herself a sandwich.  A flapper, pickle, juice cap sandwich.


Overall I loved Colossal. I loved the food, I loved the self serve beverages. The carbonated water was a great touch. The atmosphere was perfect. And I wanted to take the bathroom home with me.



After we left we felt a few raindrops but continued on toward Como Town.  We started with the carousel which is outside of the both the zoo and Como Town.  It was playing music loudly and Olive repeatedly insisted that she ride on it.





It was surprisingly fast but Olive held on tight.







We walked into Como Town and stood by the signs explaining ticketing for a long long time while Olive kept slowing gravitating toward the tilt-a-whirl. She was ready to ride but we wanted to figure out the best plan for our afternoon. It was around 2:20. After some calculations I decided that after 3:00 we should purchase the discounted unlimited arm band for Olive and the adult armband for Tyler. That way they could ride frequently together, we wouldn't have to calculate and prioritize.. we could just have fun. But fist we walked around the park to see which rides she could and would want to enjoy, to see if the unlimited band was worth it and to waste some time before 3:00. Basically she wanted to ride everything. So we took a walk to car for her to go potty to waste some more time. The bathroom inside Como Park is typically amusement park bathroom and I'm fairly certain she wouldn't have been interested in it. Hooray for car potties.

I took way too many photos at Como Town but I was trying to get a little more practice using manual settings. Typically I use Aperture Priority Mode which is a manual setting but it lets the camera choose your exposure. I would like to get more comfortable with adjusting exposure in a changing setting so this worked out well. :) There were also a million moms taking a million photos of their million children on all of the rides. It made me feel a little silly. So I had to remind myself that I'm a professional and sort of practicing and not trying to be all crazy mom paparazzi and such. Right? Right?


Olive enjoyed sitting on these little "rides" scattered throughout the park.  They're the $0.50 things you find outside of grocery stores and inside of malls.  We didn't put any money in them but she insisted that she was on a ride each time... or driving somewhere.  And we had to let her finish before she was ready to venture to another actual ride.


Waiting in line for her first ride at Como Town.


Tyler was pretty lucky that he had a wristband, too.






If you zoom in, Olive has pretty great facial expressions in most of these.  I'm still getting used a new lens... it doesn't zoom.  I can crop in post processing but I enjoyed keeping most of the ride in the frame.







Looking at these photos makes me really want to do an engagement session here.  It'd be great to have a couple on the swings together, holding hands.  Or hanging out in the teacups like Tyler and Olive did... :)


While waiting in line Olive settled on a blue teacup.



She spun their teacup pretty well!






Olive rode on the "horsey ride" twice.  The second time she tried to ride ON the horse and seemed pretty upset with us when we told her she couldn't.  She reluctantly buckled herself into the carriage.




I left our umbrella at this ride and was amazing to find it there after searching for it a long long long time later.  The funny thing is, after she rode this ride again, I left our umbrella again.  In the exact same location.  Really weird.


For this ride you could either go inside the fire truck or in the basket and aim the shooting water at the fire in the building.  I asked Olive to make a choice of which one she wanted while she was in line and she picked inside the truck.  Later when we got home she said she wanted to ride in the basket, too, but we only did this ride once.





The Frog Hopper was by far her favorite ride.  She actually screamed in excitement, which was really funny.  :)  The ride operator had Tyler sit in the center seat.


Tyler was required to ride only a few rides with Olive, because of her height, but if he was able, she usually liked him to join so they could enjoy it together.




Olive almost wasn't able to go inside this bounce house thing.  For many of the rides children have to be at least 36" tall to ride.  Olive is exactly 36" with her shoes on.  This ride requires no shoes... so she was too short!  But only tiny kids were in line with her so the operator let her go in.  It was nice that he was flexible but also nice to know he was looking out for her safety by only letting her go in with other younger kids.

She really liked it inside.  I think Tyler was a little concerned since they can be overwhelming to be in and kids can easily get hurt.  She jumped and ran into things and did an awesome job looking out for other kids.  I suggested she run and "boom" into the big middle post.  (She loves to run into people and say "boom")  But there were kids running in circles so she told me she had to wait for them to be done. I kept an eye on them and when I could tell she had enough space I told her to GO!  And she did!  :)


The first ride that Olive saw as we were walking to Como Town from where we parked was this train ride.  She, of course, informed us that she wanted to ride it.


Train rides like this are a little amusing to me.  The lines are always somewhat long, everyone always seems to want to ride them, but almost always, everyone looks so bored when actually on them.  They go slowly.  They don't do anything interesting.  Maybe it's just a nice place to sit?  Unless you're riding in the engine of course.. then you get to ring the bell.


The kiddo in front of Olive and Tyler was crying almost the entire ride.  I'm pretty sure he wanted to ride in the engine but the kids who were first in line ended up in there.  I guess that's a perk to a wristband - you can keep trying!




Next up was the Tilt-A-Whirl.  Tyler was a little concerned about his stomach but Olive was really excited to ride.  This information about the history of the ride is interesting.  It was invented in Minnesota and most of them are still made in Minnesota.



Did you know that photographing specific people on fast moving rides, especially the Tilt-A-Whirl, is not easy?  I should get an award.



Olive's face.  It's great.  :)



We made it back to the back end of the park where there is a cluster of little kid rides.  The operators were rotating between rides so these weren't open last time we went past.  The man operating these couple of rides was really great at his job.  He was really good with the little kids and kept the parents entertained to.  He was patient with the little ones and helped them with buckles, getting in and out of the cars, and helped them find their parents all while keeping the ride operating quickly.


Olive picked out the purple car while she was waiting in line.



Just before the ride started Olive acquired some passengers.  She seemed to really enjoy having them behind her and looked back at them to talk a lot during the ride.  All three of them had the exact same hair color.



Then we went over to another of the cluster of three.  They're basically all the same.  But this one was bumpier, which I think Olive enjoyed.


If only her name were "Ashtabula".



She spent about half of the ride steering with one hand and leaning all the way forward to ring the bell on the hood of her car with her other hand.


And I think she liked the roof.



And she found some more of these.


This is my favorite photo from the day.


We had to visit the Frog Hopper one more time on our way out - at this point it very obvious that Olive had to go potty but, amidst all of the fun, I don't think she ever would have told us.




More screaming.  :)


I think the girl next to Tyler was checking on Olive.






We had a really really great time.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Nice Emma! I love to stand by the frog hopper and watch the little kid's always makes me smile