Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bay Beach Amusement Park

It's been a long summer for my youngest teens.  With both parents and the older teens working, the summer days grew long and dull for them.  They were forced to entertain themselves with creative (and dangerous) little activities such as mattress surfing down the stairs, practicing cartwheels and handstands in the living room, and taking selfies while hanging upside down on the furniture.

Their mother, too, was showing signs of becoming summer stir-crazed as well, spending her spare time cutting out paper doll sisters just for the fun of it as if she had nothing better to do with her time.  But they are terribly sweet, aren't they?

It seems it was time for a badly needed vacation.  So I took a few days off work at the end of summer for some family fun including a day of delight at  Bay Beach Amusement Park  in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Bay Beach has been in continuous operation since 1892 and is the 9th oldest amusement park in the United States.

A summer day at Bay Beach is a family tradition going back to my own childhood.  My parents would take my eight siblings and I there every summer to enjoy the ten cent rides. And today Bay Beach remains an extremely reasonable family destination.  There is no admission fee, the parking is free, they boast fabulous picnic grounds with lots of playground equipment, and the price for rides is a very low twenty-five to fifty cents each! My family of seven can play all day for under $40!

My original intention for our end of the summer trip to Green Bay was to stop at Our Lady of Good Help Shrine in Champion, for Mass, but the first Mass of the day wasn't until 11:30 AM, so we chose to attend the 7 am Mass at our parish, Old St. Mary in Milwaukee, and then we made the two hour drive and arrived at the park just before it opened for the day.  All of the lines for the rides were short allowing us plenty of time to ride our favorites, like the bumper cars and the scrambler, again and again.  As we watched all of the many people at the park with near-constant smiles on their faces, my daughter remarked, "This is THE place for fun!"

In the last few years, the park has added the Zippin Pippin Roller Coaster for the low price of one dollar per ride.  It looked pretty tame as far as roller coasters go, so I was eager to give it a try.  I don't know what I was thinking.  It was horribly scary!  Whenever I'm afraid, I turn to my Mother for support.  As I took my seat and pulled the safety bar down, I began to pray the Hail Mary silently.  As the roller coaster took the first plunge down, my silent prayer became a scream.  I was praying, "Haaaaaillll Mary, FULL OF GRACE, the Lord is WITH THEE!!!!"  throughout the entire duration of the ride.  I'm sure that the Blessed Mother heard that prayer all the way at her Shrine in Champion even though we didn't actually go there!

We finished off our end of summer day of delight with a stop in my hometown, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for a visit to the world's best and most charming candy store and ice cream shop, Beerntsen's Confectionery.  The long days of summer may be drawing to an end, but our memories of family fun  at Bay Beach will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

For your own virtual taste of the Zippin Pippin, visit this link or watch the video at the end of this post. 

Jack and Mary by the Bay

Never too old for the classic helicopter!

Let's fly away!

the swings

a selfie on the train

love the carousel

Zippin Pippin Rollercoaster

outside the arcade

Beernsten's Confectionery

the inside of sweetness


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