I took my kids to a regional amusement park called Silverwood in Idaho.  We had fun, but it’s a small park.  Smaller than most Six Flags parks.  Two nice roller coasters.  Brand new water park attractions.  All in all a nice way to kill two days. 

We took one of my son’s friends along, so I had four kids with us, all between the ages of 8 and 12.  Kids at that age are playful and social and still enjoy spending time with Mom and Dad, so it was a good family experience.

Things I learned:

  • You cannot stop a hotel door from swinging shut by putting your thumb in the door jam.
  • When the ice melts in your cooler, that bottle of CoffeeMate Coffee Creamer will not float upright.  
  • When floating on it’s side, the top of the CoffeeMate Coffee Creamer bottle is not water tight.
  • Roller coasters + fried breads (elephant ears) = vomit
  • If you bring a board game with lots of little pieces in it, no matter how careful you are when cleaning up the game, you will end up wearing one of those pieces in your sock all the next day.
  • Just because you asked for adjoining rooms, and called to verify that you will get adjoining rooms, and prepaid to get adjoining rooms, that doesn’t mean you will get adjoining rooms at Days Inn. 
  • The hotel version of “Free Continental Breakfast” is edible if you bring along meats from your cooler.  You can save a lot of money over eating breakfast at IHOP by simply supplimenting the hotel’s offerings with your own items.
  • No matter how good you are at wrapping things in cellophane, water will get in if you put it in the cooler.
  • Frango mints (chocolates from Macy’s) are wrapped in cellophane.  It is not water tight either.
  • Wet frango mints are pretty gross.
  • If you have a kid that refuses to get in the water, put him in a swim suit.  Then go to a water park.  Then get in the wave pool.  Scream with delight.  He will follow.
  • Waterproof sunscreen isn’t.
  • Every park posts signs that say “no running.”  Kids ignore them.
  • Bring bandaids for when kids ignore the “no running” signs.
  • Sometimes, the magic show tries to sell stuff (Dollywood).  Other times, the magic show is of near-Las-Vegas quality (Silverwood).  Don’t judge one park by the experiences in another.
  • A picnic at a rest stop in the middle of a desert on a very hot day is a very short experience.

All in all, the cost of tickets: $350. 
The cost of hotel: $650. 
Four days with four kids: priceless. 

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

21 thoughts on “Things I learned on vacation with kids”

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