COLUMNISTS

Taking fun to new heights with grandkids

Susan Manzke
Rachel, Arianna, Wyatt, Susan, and Eli below the large Ferris Wheel.

Early one Monday morning my phone rang. It was my daughter Rachel on her 40th birthday.

It’s hard to believe that my baby is now 40. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was taking care of her baby needs. Now she has three children: 12-year-old twins Eli and Arianna and 8-year-old Wyatt. 

That morning, Rachel wanted to know if I was busy. She had her birthday off from work and she wanted to take me and her children to Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay.

Luckily for me I wasn’t busy so I could join in the fun.

It’s a two-hour drive from Rachel’s home to my farm. She picked me up so I didn’t have to drive. The five of us made it to Bay Beach when it opened at 11 o’clock.

Bay Beach Amusement Park is known for fun rides. All the kiddie rides cost one ticket which is 25 cents. Some rides take two tickets. The bumper cars take three tickets. The most expensive ride is the Zippin-Pippin which would set you back four tickets. It’s one of the best places to take a family.

Rachel, Eli, Arianna, and Wyatt chose the Scrambler as their first ride. I watched as they zoomed around and around. I remembered that ride and knew my old stomach couldn’t handle the spinning. I got dizzy just watching them.

Eli and Wyatt on the Bay Beach Scrambler.

The one ride I wanted to go on was the large Ferris Wheel. For a short time, I thought I’d have to go alone. Everyone else thought it was too scary. The boys said they were afraid of heights.

As we walked away from the Scrambler, I was surprised they were leading me toward the new Ferris Wheel. They were going to join me in a gondola. Hurray!

When we approached the ride, the children all looked up at the large wheel. After that view, Eli never looked at it again. He said he was going to get on with us, but he wasn’t going to look while going around.

The gondola of the Ferris Wheel easily held all five of us with room to spare. True to his promise, Eli joined us, but even before we moved an inch, he put his head down to his knees. Wyatt soon joined him.

The ride on this big wheel may go up high, but it is less jarring than the regular model.

When we crested the wheel it stopped to let more riders on, Eli shuddered. “We’re swinging!” he said. “I can feel it.”

 “It’s the breeze,” I said as I looked at the surrounding park and bay. “No one is moving us. You should look up while we’re stopped.”

Eli and Wyatt kept their heads well below the gondola's sides. Arianna wasn’t so bothered by the height and liked the view she saw.

Arianna on the Ferris Wheel.

I told them a story. “One year, your grandpa took me to Bay Beach for my birthday. The big gift he gave me was riding the Ferris Wheel with me. He was afraid of heights too.”

It wasn’t my birthday, but the gift of riding with me on that tall ride made it feel like it was. The only other rides I ventured on were the two trains. Rachel and her kids went on other rides. Rachel and Arianna took on the swings. All four of them bumped on the Bumper Cars and slid on the giant slide. Eli joined his mother on the Zippin-Pippin rollercoaster, which really surprised me.

Rachel waved as the rollercoaster went up, but not Eli. He was white-knuckling the bar holding them in, but he did it.

Our family fun lasted over three hours. Our total ticket cost was about $15. We ate at the concession stand, but if we had brought a picnic lunch we wouldn’t have spent any more than the cost of the ride tickets.

Happy birthday, Rachel. Thanks for sharing your special day off with me.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; susanmanzke@gmail.com; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.