Father’s Day at Oaks Park

June 17th, 2007  |  Published in etc  |  2 Comments

Father’s Day at Oaks Park means dads ride for free. We took a family bike trip to get there. (52nd to the Springwater to Sellwood, then the Springwater up to Bell on the return trip)

Al & I tried to count how many times we were forced to go on the Lewis & Clark adventure ride. It’s a “haunted mine” ride, only with friendly cartoon buffalo, friendly cartoon Indians, a screeching eagle with a strobe pointed at it clutching a rubber snake in its talons, and a mop in buckskins with a wig that’s supposed to be an Indian dancer. It also has a bear that sort of rears up, and some prairie dogs that laugh like Chip & Dale. And a curious mural that depicts a whale washed up on a beach.

Ben calls it “the reindeer,” for reasons we are completely unclear on; and he completely adores it. I think I went with him three times. Al took him three times, and he rode twice on his own, only with other kids in the back seat of his cart.

I think my favorite part is when the cart enters a special corridor at the very end that’s painted up with a day-glo mural of test tubes and rocket ships and an audio montage that includes snatches of voices saying things like “when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut!” and “congratulations to the graduating class of 2020!”

He also took us on the roller coaster four times, the big slide three times, and went solo on the kiddie car and rocket rides. Oh … and three repeats of the frog-hopper, two of a new crazy tilting ship ride, and one ride in a sort of tame balloon ride that goes very high.

The kiddie car and rocket ship rides are sort of puzzling to us, because he’s clearly bored out of his head on them. He much prefers the roller coaster and anything that will either nauseate his parents or utterly bemuse them.

Side note to pk: Look at that little girl with the gun! Alert HuffPo! Note that Ben has been well trained to ignore guns, and even act bored around them. He will be part of the solution unlike all those other sugar-amped warmongers.

Speaking of little girls with guns … on the tilt-a-ship ride we were sort of puzzled by the two 12- or 13-year-old girls seated next to us who spent the entire ride shrieking “Harder daddy, harder! Faster daddy! All night long, daddy! You’re the best!

This weekend we spent some time Friday evening at a Portland Parks & Rec community outreach event Dunetchka invited us to. It had a giant air-filled slide, a sumo-wrestling pit and a ginormous gloves boxing ring.

Ben was sort of afraid of the slide and needed to make new friends to help him go down it. A few runs like that and he was into it. He spilled a few times in spectacular multi-somersault fashion, but never seemed to freak about it.

While I was watching him do that, Al & Dunetchka suited up as sumo wrestlers and did battle. Dunetchka is, apparently, savage in the sumo pit.

Ben tried to throw himself into the giant-gloves boxing ring during a bout and Al had to drag him kicking and yelling by one heel. He nearly got his head stepped on. We were the worst parents ever for the next eight or nine minutes. More of all that here.


  1. pk says:

    June 18th, 2007 at 9:13 am (#)

    Forget the gun–is that independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch in that photo?!

  2. gl. says:

    June 21st, 2007 at 12:26 am (#)

    i remember when it really was a haunted mine ride. i was really sad one year when i went and it had become the lewis & clark ride. how can you pretend to be all scared and shrieky in order to snuggle up to your partner? “oh, no! salmon!”

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