Where: 2206 South Overland Trail, Fort Collins
Info: (970) 221-1244; holidaytwindrivein.com.
Entrance fee: $12
Food: $11 (one large popcorn, two candy rings)
Speeding ticket: $110
Where: 2000 Elitch Circle, Denver
Info: (303) 595-4386; elitchgardens.com.
Tickets: $60 (with season-pass coupon)
Food: $28 (three pieces of pizza, three large drinks, one vending machine drink)
This is the story of two $100 family activities.
One of them was a success; the other was not. We spent a week planning for one; the other was mostly unplanned. Not surprisingly, the former ended up being fun for us. The other one was miserable. Here's a closer look at each adventure.
Parental Units Movie Night: Failure
It all started when I saw an advertisement for a Fort Collins drive-in movie theater. I had never been to one and had always been curious about its attraction.
Hubster grew up going to the drive-in near his east Colorado hometown, so the novelty had long worn off. Big Girl E was the tipping point; she loved the idea of hanging out in the back of our car in the dark while a movie showed on a big screen.
We left about 90 minutes before showtime, figuring we'd have a good half-hour to get settled in. Though we decided to go at the last minute, we still remembered to pack chairs, bug spray and blankets.
What we didn't expect was to get pulled over for speeding. We also didn't anticipate the 45-minute wait to get in the theater. I forgot snacks, so we waited in line for 20 minutes to get popcorn.
Hubster took care of the movie preparation: we just had to pop the back hatch and turn on the radio, right? Except our car doesn't have a dimmer feature; no matter what we tried, we couldn't have the back hatch open without having the lights on.
Finally Hubster jammed the latch to trick the car into keeping the lights off. We couldn't keep the keys in the ignition so we couldn't use our radio to hear the movie. Without public speakers, we had to eavesdrop to hear anything.
I'd love to say the girls enjoyed themselves, but both of them fell asleep halfway through the movie. As we pulled out of the parking lot, Hubster turned to me and swore we'd never do that again. Perhaps with a different car it'd be a different result.
Parental Units Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park: Success
Eleven years after moving to Colorado, I finally went to Elitch Gardens.
As I've said before, Hubster isn't keen on crowds or roller coasters. Somehow we still managed to con him into going to the theme park to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Once inside the park, we headed to the non-water rides first. We quickly realized that we had a problem; Big Girl E is in a ride "bubble." She's too big for toddler ones but too little for the "thrill" rides. The only rides she went on were the Ferris Wheel and Carousel.
Children Baby Girl A's size have an entire section devoted to them at Elitch's. Startoon Studios has climbing structures, a ball pit/slide area and "gentler" rides. Though the rides are smaller and go slower, Baby Girl A did not enjoy any of them. Fortunately, Elitch has a great policy of letting children try out most rides. Any ride with several loops is stopped after each one to make sure riders want to continue.
The water park was a much bigger success.
Both girls loved the wave pool and the pirate-themed tree house. Since it was the Fourth of July, the rides lines were massive. Big Girl E and I waited in line for one raft ride before we gave up on them totally. We spent most of our time in the wave pool.
If we went again, I'd do some things differently. I'd rent a raft early in the day; the wave pool is a great place for them but they can sell out by noon. I'd also snag some water-park chairs. Because we didn't do that, we never sat down and relaxed during our six-hour visit. I'd also wear better shoes. Lightweight mesh water shoes are the best choice; after a few hours even wet concrete was too hot to walk on.
As we pulled out of the Elitch parking lot, Hubster again swore we would never do that again. He did crack a smile though, which means that we'll get him out to the park again. Not so for the drive-in.
Contact Katy Sinclair at KatySinclair09@gmail.com.