Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bigger Is Not Always Better

As I mentioned yesterday, the Hubs and I decided to take the kids to the Georgia Aquarium over the long weekend. Traveling with two small children requires a little prior planning and preparation which I thought we had done fairly well. We pre-purchased tickets from the military base, packed lots of snacks and the DVD player for the drive and woke up early the next morning in an attempt to get to the Aquarium when it first opened. We figured we would beat the crowds on a Sunday Morning. Boy were we wrong! By the time we got there the lines were wrapped around to the surounding sidewalk. It was a little confusing as to where we were supposed to go with our advance purchased tickets. I jumped lines and asked an employee who told us to go in. We attempted to go in and were told that we had to wait in the "Will Call" line. What does that mean anyway? This line seemed to take longer than the line for purchasing same-day tickets. When we get our ticket it says entrance time: 1:00-2:00 pm. Are you kidding me? There was no mention of this on the website or when I purchased tickets. We finally get in and are blown away by the mobs of people everywhere. We decided to try to grab lunch first since the kids get grumpy when they are hungry, just like their Momma! The food lines were also insane. Not one to stand in line patiently, I walked around from line to line to see which was the shortest and managed to grab a few mini pizzas in a relatively short amount of time while the hubs and kids stood on the sidelines . The hunt for an empty table or even a chair was as crazy as trying to get into this place. There were not any empty tables as the table hoarders were in full force. You know the ones, the ones that sit at a table with like 12 empty chairs and say that they are all taken. Or the ones who hang a coat or purse across three or four chairs. We could have sat down and finished our pizza before any of these people emerged with their food!!!! Finally someone offered us a table and a chair while they were waiting for the rest of their party and food. And just like I said, we were finished before they even made it out of line! (Thank you nice lady or my kids would have had to eat pizza on the floor!!!) After scarfing down our pizza we decided to start the tour and realize that amongst the mobs we are in major trouble as I did not bring a stroller. HEY, I said I had prepared fairly well-not perfectly! But, in my defense, we don't even own a stroller anymore. We had an umbrella stroller but it was covered in black mold (gotta love Alabama) and after trying to clorox it without sucess, I chucked it! Besides, Sprite hates being confined in anyway and part of the attraction of the aquarium was that there would be plenty of open space for her to run around and squeal in delight at the fish, or so we thought. Afterall, they proudly boast that they are the "largest aquarium in the world!" Apparently, this is not large enough for my Sprite! I decide that it may be in our best interest to rent a stroller, you know the ones that look like a whale with Georgia Aquarium proudly displayed along the side. I head to the information desk and ask the grumpy old troll behind the desk who coldy replies, NO! when I ask her if they have strollers for rent. Gotta love customer service! Come on-I mean every zoo I have ever been to has had strollers for rent. Right? You see, I refuse to admit that any of this was my fault in any way and prefer to blame everything on the Aquarium so just humor me ok? OK? So, we head off with Sprite in her Daddy's arms in an attempt to have some sort of fun on this trip and immediatly run into trouble when the first exhibit, or gallery as they like to call them, is crammed so full of people that you can't even see the tank of brightly colored, exotic fish. I mentioned that Sprite doesn't like being confined right? And have I mentioned how strong-willed she is? No, oh, well, let's just say it is stronger than Titanium, which is one of the strongest metals in the world. While this will serve her well someday, it makes for some tough battles in these early years. So, I let her down but told her she had to hold my hand. Well, she didn't like this either and started pulling away and almost got lost in the mobs of people who could have cared less that they were about to run over my daughter. I pulled her off to the side and told her that she either had to hold hands or be held but she was not fond of either of these choices and so the 'screamin demon,' 'screacher creature', 'bucking bronco' emerged. We tried to calm her down and reason with her but once her head starts spinning around, there is no turning back! (Can you really reason with a 19 month old in the midst of a major tantrum anyway? If your answer is yes- please leave your secret in the comment section.) The mobs were silent and staring at this child thrashing around in my arms. Not knowing what else to do, I took her outside and told the hubs and Sprout to try to enjoy the rest of the Aquarium. We manage to find the exit amongst the chaos, stares, and whispers. I thought once outside, she would calm down. Wrong again! The odds were not in my favor today. The three mile trek back to the car was one of the most pleasant walks I have ever had with my daughter. I hope you noticed the sarcasm there. I think the entire city of Atlanta witnessed the 'screamin demon' in all her glory. I tried a few times to put her down so she could walk the rest of the way but we were past the point of no return. So, I continued to avoid all of the onlookers as my sweet, precious daughter that I carried and nurtured in my womb for 9 months, continued to thrash, scream and hit me. Oh- this was a doozy! We finally get back to the car and I set her in her seat and turn on the DVD player, one for distraction and two because I needed a minute to regroup and dial the Supernanny! She eventually calmed down as I sat in the front seat shaking my head, wondering how my husband and I are capable of producing such strong-willed children . I figured Sprout and the Hubs would be a while so after she seemed to be recovering from the tantrum I asked her if she wanted to go to the park to play. Of course she said NO, so we just sat there in the parking garage watching Max and Ruby! To my surprise, Sprout and the Hubs return in less than an hour later and had seen the entire Aquarium!!!!! You mean to tell me that I just drove 3.5 hours, paid over $60 (and that was the discounted price not including lunch) to see what is touted as "The World's Largest and Most Engaging Aquarium"- in less than an hour!!!!!!
I know I didn't actually get to see the aquarium but I would have to wager that this one is overpriced and overrated!

Now, I was hoping to have some fabulous pictures of all of the aquatic life in the 8 million gallons of water to share with you but instead of seeing the Beluga Whale as hoped, this is what I got to see:

The inside of my car!

And instead of the giant Whale Shark that I was so looking forward to seeing, I offer you this:

Nice consolation, huh?

Oh, you wanted to see pictures of the JellyFish? Yeah, so did I!

Maybe next time. Oh wait, there won't be a next time!
I am still trying to figure out if bad luck follows us or if we are chasing it!


Amy said...

Oh my goodness! You poor, poor mama! Maybe supernanny will meet her match with your little angel. Or maybe it was the weather. Let's go with that one ... it was the weather!

The Pitter Patter Boutique said...

:-( That stinks! That Whale Shark should take on our Killer Whale.

P.S. I could've told ya that Aquarium sucks. :-/
Sean's mom went not to long ago and she love's a lot of things but had nothing good to say about the Atlanta Aquarium.

Katie said...

Sorry your trip was so crazy. If you ever decide to travel for fun again and want to try another aquarium, the TN Aquarium in Chattanooga is awesome and it's only 1 hour farther than Hotlanta. The whole city is great actually. There's tons to do.

Anonymous said...

Next time she throws a temper tantrum - walk away.

You don't need to go far - just out of her line of sight - but still within yours, so you can keep her safe.

Temper tantrums are only effective if
a: the parent gives in
b: the parent pays attention to the kid

By walking away, you are telling that child her behavior will not be accepted.