What To Do In Alberta – Summary of the West Ed Mall

West Edmonton Mall 2018 wave pool
West Edmonton Mall 2018 wave pool
West Edmonton Mall. At 3pm, the wave pool was fixed and there was much happiness.

Because school has started and I really need to finish off this trip from July, let me be brief, (which, if you know me, is like asking the Pope to be Muslim for a bit.)

So here it goes. West Edmonton Waterpark – Both boys had fun, and because pretty much everyone in Edmonton had decided not to go to a waterpark that had only 20% of the rides working, there were no lineups. None.

zipline at west edmonton mall, 2018
West Edmonton Mall – the boys gear up for the zipline.

Even better, about ½ of the rides they went on were the ones The-Youngest had tagged as MUST-DOs. As well, they both got to do the zipline with their Edmontonian buddies after The-Youngest reminded me that it would make a good blog.

Then, at 3pm, the wave pool was fixed and they had a blast rolling with the waves and smashing into other kids.

west edmonton mall flowrider 2018
The-Youngest showing off his skills. He was amazingly good at this.

The highlight, though, was not free pop, was not the slides, nor was it even the wave pool. It was the Flowrider. See, you sit on a wave board while water is jetted underneath the board. Looks tricky and both boys took some spectacular falls. I would have broken a hip. And an arm And, likely, my back.

flowrider west edmonton mall, 2018
The Flowrider and The-Oldest. Man, was he good on this ride. Like pro-level good.

On the Flowrider, though, The-Oldest ran into a small challenge that his swim trunks kept falling down. Being me, and sadly flawed, I laughed. A lot. However, it made the attendants very uncomfortable. He was asked to leave or find a way to keep his trunks up.

But despite that, even he said, “Yeah, ok, it didn’t completely suck.”

As well, The-Oldest even got along well with the other kids. Like really well. He and the other oldest boy kinda bonded. Kinda talked. Kinda shared.

The only bad thing, at least for him, was that he was forced to eat. This is something I don’t understand at all. Never has anyone ever had to force me to eat, but then that’s why I’m 600lbs and he looks like he lives in Somalia.

The-Youngest’s only complaint was that they weren’t staying open to midnight. Or later.

Me: I wandered around the mall while the other dad, a superdad by any standards, watched the boys for a bit. Lots of shops. Bought nothing. 

Also got to watch a Timbits hockey game. Didn’t know there was a rink there. The-Youngest shook his head. “Didn’t you do your research, Joe?”

But my best time was watching the boys be goofy, fun-loving goobers.

West Ed Mall has a ship. And shops.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World? Well, she got to spend a whole day with her friend, shopping, talking about pillow fights, and drinking various coffees. Honestly, I have no idea what they talked about, I would find 8 hours of conversation utterly exhausting, but they hadn’t spent time together for a long time so I guess they had catching-up to do.

All-in-all, a great day by any standards, even though it started out looking like a disaster.

We made it home the next day after a very long drive and I would have to say, if you don’t have the time or money to go to Paris, Mexico, or Mars, maybe give a BC-Alberta trip a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

And for a bit of video fun, check out the flowrider.

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What To Do In Alberta – West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, 2018, joe cummings
west edmonton mall
EDMONTON, CANADA – JULY 7, 2018 : Ice hockey arena in the West Edmonton Mall. It’s the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world.

There was only one thing to do back in July – Visit the West Edmonton Mall.

The-Youngest had planned for it, dreamed about it, and now the day had finally come. He had one goal. Have fun!  Maybe do a few rides. But most likely he’d spend hours and hours in the waterpark doing waterparkie things.

What could go wrong?

We knew where we had to go (West Edmonton Mall wasn’t far from our hotel), we had guides (The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s best friend’s family) and The-Youngest was out of bed at 7am to make sure we arrived on time (and there is no better alarm clock than an over-excited 11 year-old wanting to get going.)

He knew which waterslide he was going on first. He knew which one he was scared to go on, but would go on if we went with him. He knew where the free pop was located. He knew how high the wave pool would go. He knew what to focus on if it was super busy, but he wasn’t too concerned.  “Joe, did you know it’s a holiday in the US, like our Canada day, and that means there won’t be any Americans there so it won’t be busy.”

In short, he had it all worked out.

So you just kinda know it would go to hell.

The previous night, we’d decided to go in two wagon trains. 1st one with all the younger boys (4, aged from 9-13 plus the 2 dads) would arrive at opening. 10am.

The next wagon train, with The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, her friend, and The-Oldest, would arrive later, at an unspecified time. That way all the kids going bat-shit crazy about the rides would be in one car destroying the soul of only two parents.

Man, forget wind energy! If you could harness that boy energy as they sat vibrating with excitement and goofiness, you could power the world.

To quote Joe Pechi, they f*** you at the drive-thru!

Since some of the boys hadn’t eaten yet, the other dad stopped at the drive-thru first.

“I’ll have two pancake breakfasts, one with sausage, please,” he began.

“That’s two sausage McMuffins?” And this is where we should have known the gods of travel had it in for us.

“No. Two pancake breakfasts. One. With. Sausage.”

“Ok, anything else?”

“Two medium cokes.”

“What do you want in your coffees?”

“No, two cokes, medium.”

“Ok, two medium coffees, two medium cokes.”

“No, no coffees, none, just cokes.”

“Ok, that’s four medium cokes.”

“No. Only two cokes. Two.”

“Anything else.” (I wanted to stop him here, but he powered on.)

“One orange juice, two hashbrowns, and one side of sausage.”

“That’s two orange juices, two hashbrowns?”

“Sure, whatever, and one side of sausage.”

(Me: ”Can you order one coffee for me, now? One cream, one sugar? This should be hilarious.”)

“And one coffee,” he added. “One cream, one sugar.”

“Ok.”

We got almost nothing we ordered, and at least one of the children in the car ended up staring at an Egg McMuffin like a dog looks at a bowl of celery.

But that was just the beginning because when we arrived, we were met by staff just outside the pool entrance.

That’s super friendly of them, I thought. How very Albertan. How very nice.

But no, they were there to apologize – the storms had knocked out the filtration system and 80% of the waterslides were unavailable.

Have you ever seen a face drop?

An 11 year-old face?

It’s a horrible thing to see. First, shock freezes the face, then like it’s melting, the smile dies, the lower lip extends, the face slackens in sadness and there’s a big swallow, like he’s swallowing his dreams.

To his credit, he didn’t shed any tears.

Instead, he studied the waterpark map like Caesar surrounded by Gauls.

He took a deep breath, trying to steady himself.

He knew each slide which would be open. He knew which he’d planned to see. He knew the expected wait times at 10am, the average size of the child on the ride and where they came from.

West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, 2018, joe cummings
Waterslides at the West Edmonton Mall. Only 20% were working. Gah!

The staff told us it would only cost $20 today and they were working hard on getting everything up and running. Maybe by 3, they said, but maybe not, cuz they’d been working on it for a whole day now.

We could go and have fun elsewhere or we could stay and have a chance at a good time at 3, or maybe not.

I looked at the-Youngest.

He said. “Hmmmm.” Then made his decision.

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And hey, thanks for reading this!  

If you like what you’re reading, please follow on FB, subscribe to my blog, or check out my coming-soon newsletter. Or, heck, just tell your friends, your baker, your accountant and your barista. 

If you want to support a starving writer, check out the coffee link at the top right-hand corner of the website.

 

 

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Seaworld – An Odd Entrance

They Even Made Getting In Interesting

IMG_0608With good weather so rare, we decided we had to go to SeaWorld, right? There would be water there, I’m pretty sure. Some splashing. Maybe some wet rides. All good things on a warm, sunny day.

The only question was, how long would it last? The sun, that is.

We parked in the preferred space cuz I like to feel special. The guy who took my parking money told me to put on my flashing lights so the parking attendants would know I’m special. Good, because when I drive 50 min with my flashing lights on at home, everyone pretty much assumes I’m special as well. It’s why they honk at me.

Anyway, when he said it, I had no idea where the flashing light thingee was in the car. I must have looked at him with a mixture of confusion and terror that sometimes gets misinterpreted as constipation. But in this case, he knew the problem immediately and pointed to the button in the center of my dashboard. I wouldn’t have been able to find it if they said they’d shoot one of the kids if I didn’t. But he found it right away. I guess he knows his Galants.

So I drove through the parking lot with my flashing lights on thinking it may be some kind of joke.

It wasn’t.

We parked right beside all the handicap spots. In ‘the special’ spots.

Hmmm.

IMG_0340We got out, warm sun on our faces, and went to stand in line to have our bags searched. Detecting no bombs, alcohol or non-organic, fair trade coffee grown on the shady sides of mountains in politically incorrect countries, we were let through.

Then we came to the gate. Now, normally, you hand someone your pass or, in my case, the printed tickets, and they take care of everything. Why? Cuz they kinda, usually, know what they’re doing.

Not here. We had to scan the tickets ourselves which everyone seemed to have a problem with so the attendant would usually take over and scan it for us. Then we had to have our fingers scanned.

Why? I’m not sure. If someone stole Shamu did they want a record of the finger prints? Or were they looking for certain people like pedifiles or people who littered? Or was it a way of matching up missing people.

Either way, it was odd and took a long time.

Basically here’s what happened. We came up. Looked at the attendant, expecting him to take the tickets. He pointed to the scanner. Oh, says I, we have to do this our selves. I see. (Sometimes I can be captain obvious.) So I try to scan the ticket. It fails to be read. I try again. The little red light does not turn into a little green light. So I try again. Fail. The attendant takes the ticket and scans it. First time.

Then I go to scan the second one but wait, there’s a message that says I have to press finger on finger pad.

What finger pad?

I look and see it and put my finger on it like anyone who’s told to do something by an electronic message kinda just does it.

Nothing.

I move my finger around until another little red light goes green.

This process is repeated three more times, though the youngest did not have to have his finger scanned. Silly them, if they had to worry about anyone jumping in the shark tank or wanting to ride a turtle, it would be him. I suspect in years to come, he will be on many ‘banned’ lists.

Everyone kinda photobombed this one.
Everyone kinda photobombed this one.

But we got it done about as fast as everyone else which is to say, not fast at all. There weren’t massive crowds, but I just know that when they come and come they will, I think that whole process will be a nightmare. Better to have someone take the tickets, grab you finger, jam it into the finger scanner and have you on your way.

Just my thoughts.

No matter, really.

We were in.

Now what to do first?