Big Bird’s Basket of Terror


After a successful family trip to Hershey Park, my husband and I figured it was time to bring our children to Sesame Place. Huge fans of Elmo, like most kids their age, we figured they’d like to meet him and see his face plastered on nearly every light post, sign and dinner plate we encountered.

Our day went off fantastically. We took our time getting to the park, had a leisurely breakfast and missed the rush hour traffic. After a few meet and greets with characters, we headed for the rides.

On the first two rides, my husband and father were the adults in charge. As expected the kids were a little antsy waiting in line, and very enthusiastic on the rides. Smiles and waves were plenty.

For the third ride, my mother and I stepped up to accompany the children on a balloon ride featuring Big Bird. For those unaware, it’s the equivalent of a slow moving teacup ride which elevates to what seems like 20 or 30 feet off the ground.

No problem, I thought. I now know, I thought wrong.

Because what I learned is this.  The problem with a ride that slowly elevates and swirls at a snail’s pace is that it gives little kids a chance to wiggle around in their seats, attempt to stand up and move around– at 20 or 30 feet above ground. It gives new moms a chance to envision all sorts of terrible outcomes. And it gives grandmothers a chance to join in the mayhem of worry.

No way would there have been time to entertain my inner Nervous Nelly if I were whipping around in Grover’s Tea Cups trying to keep down my lunch.

My logical brain knows that our ride was no longer than any other. But at the time, it seemed like we took a lifetime to get back down to a scraped knee’s distance from the ground. If the Gods of Amusement Park Rides were smiling down upon us with extra ride time—thanks, maybe next time.

Then, as quickly as it began, the ride was over. We were all on land again, laughing. And if I’m being fair to the Big Yellow Bird, I know, the terror is mine. I brought it into the basket with me. Most likely, I brought it into the delivery room with me.

And while I’m sure next time I could just duct tape the kids to the inside of the basket, or bubble wrap the ‘em individually, I know that the worry is part of my job. Like it or not.

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5 thoughts on “Big Bird’s Basket of Terror

  1. Nice post! It is scary enough when kids climb around on a ride on the ground. The elevation only magnifies it. It’s funny how in those situations the ride feels like it is never going to end.

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