Legoland finale: Another drive

The kids decided they wanted one more go at Driving School, so in the heat of the afternoon we went back over there for another spin. This time, it was much more crowded.



Anna had decided to be a pain, and she never came near enough for me to take her picture behind the wheel. So it goes.

Gentle readers, I have some busy time coming up for work in the next two weeks. So we’ll resume publishing on Monday, May 7th. I have so many things still to share – pictures from camping, from the White House Easter Egg Roll, and so much more. See you again soon!

Legoland: Thrills, spills, chills

As the day went on, we started working our way into rides that were a little more exciting for Team Wimpy. Here is Nick on a ride we have seen before at Dollywood. You strap yourself in and haul yourself up to the top of the ride using a rope. Then you glide gently down toward the ground.


Next it was time for an indoor ride on which you shoot targets with laser guns. We ended up going on this ride about six times.


There were almost no lines all day, which meant we had very little time to goof off in line:



They also had a ‘firefighting’ ride in which you race against other families. We really enjoyed that one and went on it a couple times.



Late in the day, the kids went on a ride similar to one we’ve been on at Hershey – it’s a viewing platform that goes 150 feet (50 m) up into the air for a panoramic view of the area.


Tomorrow: Once more onto the course, dear friends.

Legoland: Making the rounds

In an empty theme park, time slows down. You can hop from one ride to the next in a matter of minutes, instead of hours. Things that would take mere mortals a whole day to do, you can do before lunch.

So it was in the back of Legoland Florida that bright morning. Nick and Anna were making quick work of the popular rides.






I want to point out here, even though you can tell from the pictures, that Nick did a fabulous job as a big brother and bemused spectator in Legoland that day. He and Anna have a wonderful relationship, and they got on famously all day. He’s still enough of a kid to enjoy the experience along with her, even though he’s clearly too old to be the park’s intended audience.

They had a Lego giraffe… my Mom loves giraffes:


And there were Lego foxes… Anna loves foxes:


Next stop was a workshop where you can build Lego race cars and run them down a track for time trials. We spent a good bit of time there, again with the place essentially to ourselves.



Tomorrow: Getting more adventuresome.

Florida: Legoland, here we come

Over the rest of this week I am going to finish up our Florida series with a couple of looks at Legoland Florida, which Nick, Anna, and I visited for a day trip. It’s important to know that Legoland California, which we visited in 2002, has earned legendary status in the Sperger household. Nick was 5 years old when we visited, and Maria was 3. Anna hadn’t been born yet. The older kids have dim but wonderful memories of Legoland, and Anna has had her whole life to be jealous.

Now that we have expectations at a nice, reasonable level….

We got there early. So early, in fact, that we parked about 10-15 spots away from the very first spot in the whole parking lot. There was no tram ride. We simply walked up to the gate. Another family took a picture of us.


(Where are Chelsea and Maria, you ask? They went to Universal Studios to ride roller coasters. You can think of my group as Team Wimpy.)

Somewhere we have a picture from Legoland California of me on a bench with a Lego dad taking a nap. They have the same fellow in Florida, so we took the same picture, ten years later:


Nick decided he wanted to get in on the action too:


We arrived so early that we had to wait for the back half of the park to open to visitors. As soon as they dropped the rope line, we bolted for the very back of the place, so that we could go on the ride that everyone was waiting for – Driving School.


It’s humbling to look at that picture and realize that Nick is only a year away from being able to drive a real car, rather than one where his knees are up by his ears.

Anyway, Nick and Anna were the first ones on the ride that day. They had the course to themselves.



What Anna lacked in driving competition, she made up for in concentration. She is easily the most focused driver they’ve ever had on that course.


Tomorrow: Fire trucks, race cars, and more.

Florida: One more fountain

There’s another fountain we have been visiting for years in Tampa – this one is in the neighborhood called Hyde Park, at a place called Kate Jackson Park. They built this fountain when Nick was a wee lad, so it’s fun to see him there now, so much more an adult these days than a kid.



It’s still an age-appropriate scene for Anna:


There are four lion statues guarding sentry over the fountain, and the cool kids like to hang out sitting on them:



It’s funny – the place was crawling with little kids when we got there, mostly toddlers in the 1-3 year old age range. The moms regarded my group with suspicion and horror. Hulking teenagers! Perspectives change fast.

Florida: Another splash in the park

As I mentioned, we made two trips to a beautiful playground and fountains in the middle of Tampa. The place is called Curtis Hixon Park, and it overlooks the Hillsborough River, with beautiful views of the city’s handful of skyscrapers:


(I’m very snobby whenever we go to Tampa: “You call this a downtown? Ha ha ha.” It’s a small city, to be sure, and very pretty at night.)

Anna was delighted to be playing in the fountains:



Here is Nick showing off his year-round athlete’s physique:



The rest of our gang was there, too, and enjoyed clowing around for the camera:


Happy weekend!

Florida: Explain this game to me again…

On another playground visit, the kids wanted me to play some kind of made-up game with them. It was like tag, only the person who was ‘it’ had to climb around the playground structure… with eyes closed. Which meant you had to go very slowly.






Turns out this was really just an excuse for the kids to keep running away from me. Which they did, for a long time. But I got them to take some cute pictures, so who really won? I think it was you and me, gentle reader.

Florida: Playing in the park

Now back to our Florida trip from last month. One afternoon, the kids and I were sitting around without anything to do. Time for a trip to the park! Our local friends suggested a playground with some fountains. We would end up making two trips to this spot.




Tomorrow: More playgrounds, more splashing.

Easter Egg Hunt

Later in the day, people got a little more awake, and a little more into the Easter spirit. Anna had requested an Easter egg hunt, so Chelsea organized a little one for the backyard.




The older kids got into it quickly enough:



And of course, Anna was tickled with the whole thing:


Here are the Three Musketeers all together:


That’s a good-looking group of kids!

Hoppy Easter!

The Easter Bunny stopped by our house over the weekend, though we learned in the process that some of our kids might be getting a little old for the Bunny and his treats. Anna was properly excited, and woke up at daybreak. Her brother and sister were a little… slow to come around.





Nick could hardly keep his eyes open:


Tomorrow: One more Easter egg hunt for the kids.