You know how there are always “b list” attractions at the amusement park? The ones that cost extra so you tell your kids that they’re weird and no fun and we spent enough to get in here and if you ask me one more time we’re leaving and no you can NOT have cotton candy? Yeah, those.
There is a really cool little beachside park here in San Diego called Belmont Park. It’s right smack dab in the middle of the glorious freak show of humanity that is Mission Beach. Alongside the Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster built in 1925, there are various and sundry rides and amusements for the entertainment pleasure of young families, drunken co-eds, and everyone in between. Mission Beach is one of our regular ocean haunts because the sand is vast and the boardwalk is great for biking and we like the restaurants and there is always toilet paper in the bathrooms. An amusement park on the block can be either a blessing or a curse. Our kids know that we’ll almost always say no to a random ride or two on a regular beach day, but if they bring their own money and plan ahead we’ve generally got no reason to refuse. And every so often we find a sweet deal on an unlimited ride adventure wristband, and then it’s on.
The very definition of unlimited would suggest that there are in fact no limits, right? However, in addition to the rides offered at Belmont Park, there are the attractions, aka the “b list.” Arcade, magic mirror maze, high ropes course, mini golf, laser maze, and sky climb. These are where the idea of unlimited meets its tragic end.
I recently came across a groupon for a very good deal on a wristband for the B list, so I bought two figuring that one day while my husband and I sipped margaritas by the seaside, our children could entertain each other dodging laser beams, shooting holes in one, and climbing to the sky.
Last weekend, Beth’s oldest girl had a birthday party at Belmont Park! My girl was thrilled to be invited and spend a few hours with the coveted
unlimited ride wristband amidst a gaggle of likeminded double digit midgets on a summer Saturday evening.
Rather than drive in and out of the busy beach area twice in the span of four hours, my boy and I decided to hang out at the beach while she was at the party, and I casually mentioned that I had those b list coupons we could check out. I wasn’t really thinking when I said “we” that I meant anything other than “You do the weird stuff while mom reads over here in the sun with a cold beer from the snack bar”, but my boy heard differently, and scoffed at the idea of b listing all by himself, and basically double dog dared me to race him to the top of the coconut tree. Did I accept the challenge, you ask? Have you met me?
It’s a dorky little scene, this sky climb. There’s a coolish rock climbing part where you harness up and make your way to the top of the wall to ring a bell. It’s only 30 feet high, little tiny people are zipping up and down, the bell is blasting with irritating regularity. Then there the coconut trees, “a unique twist on the Rock Wall and at 25 ft tall, they are perfect for racing your friends!” There are no foot or hand holds on the coconut trees, just little jutting out bits that are made to look like the trunk.
In my head, it was a cinch. Crouch, squeeze legs, raise arms, stand, repeat. I had my sneakers on because they were required for the high (ish) ropes course, which was epic fun although I still had a sore spot in the middle of my chest from the harness. So my boy and I lined up next to our respective coconut trees, and the guy hit the button and we were off. Well, one of us was off, racing to top in classic crouch/squeeze/reach/raise/stand/repeat formation like a monkey with a mission while the other one struggled to get higher than the plastic green grass that grew among the coconuts.
Whatever. I smoked him in the laser maze challenge, dude’s never even seen Mission Impossible.