Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dutch Wonderland, Camping and a Skunk

Three summers ago, Trent went on a business trip to Germany. Being the crazy mom that I am, I took my then four children to Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
to see Thomas the Tank Engine:
and to visit Dutch Wonderland:
We had so much fun, that it has become an annual summer tradition. Although we haven't visited Thomas the last couple of summers, we have continued to visit Dutch Wonderland:
I love Dutch Wonderland. It's a small amusement park right in the town of Lancaster. Parking is free, all the rides are geared for children 12 and under and it's one of the few places where the size of our family is not unusual.

This year was a little different in that we decided to camp during our visit instead of staying in a hotel. We had to take two cars to fit all our camping gear, but it was so worth it. We saved a ton of money and the weather was perfect. We stayed at the Old Mill Stream Campground which is on the grounds of Dutch Wonderland. It was great! Our campsite couldn't have been more perfect. We were right by the playground where the kids enjoyed playing:
Across the river was a real farm with a real Amish Farmer:
And right next door is Dutch Wonderland! This was perfect for many reasons. First we could wake up and eat a healthy breakfast of scrambled Eggs, bacon and French toast:
with Nutella, of course:
Then we could just walk right over to the park, but not before capturing this moment with our new friend Luke:
What, you don't see Luke? Look a little closer:
See him now? He is five, hasn't started Kindergarten yet and is wearing a shirt that says "Pull my finger." He would come over whenever we came back for a meal or a rest begging us to take him with us. He wasn't sure what Dutch Wonderland was and didn't seem to understand we were right next to it (apparently the large roller coaster right next door was not something he noticed), but he definitely wanted to go. He happily made himself part of our family by popping into our pictures that were taken while using the automatic shutter feature.

After a fun morning of crossing floating bridges:
getting our picture taken with a large dragon:and a large pretzel:Driving choo choo trains:and embarrassing my children:
We came back to our campsite for a little lunch:
It was back to the park for more fun! Milking plastic cows:driving cars:riding sky rides:and visiting some Amish relatives. The resemblance is uncanny!
After dinner (back at the campsite) and a few more hours back at the park, we were ready to relax with a nice campfire and some yummy smores. Don't worry, Luke is there ready and willing to help us eat those smores. First he would like to know what a smore is.One of the things Trent and I liked the best about this campsite is that it's right in the middle of town, but feels like you are out in the country. I commented that I liked the fact that we didn't have to worry about bears. Maybe because of this comment, or maybe because we were tired after a long day, Trent and I failed to remember to put our garbage sack in the car. Around 2:00 am, I woke up and Trent says, "There's a skunk getting into our trash!" After a few tense moments, it finally wandered off without making too much of a mess. Luckily Trent did not barge out there like he first wanted to do when he thought it was a dog. Now that would have made the trip memorable!

The next day we packed up our campsite, but we weren't finished yet. We were in railroad country after all! A quick trip to the railroad museum:

where I made Claire work hard shoveling coal:
was followed by lunch surrounded by more Amish farmland:Before driving home, we made a stop at the ever popular Choo Choo barn.

Despite making everyone wearing matching shirts, the kids once again had a wonderful time. If you don't believe me, just ask them:


Kayleigh said...

That looks like the funnest vacation ever! I love Lancaster, it's really like visiting another country. Glad you guys had so much fun.

Audrey said...

Looks like so much fun! I loved reading your narrative.