With memories of my own childhood, I couldn't wait to take my 20 month old son to Busch Gardens for the first time. Looking back I see my own memories were probably more along the lines of age five rather than age 1 1/2 but we went for it anyway on what we hoped would be a slower Friday evening.
First stop, Sesame Place where our son Will was mesmerized. Startled to meet his best and oldest pal Elmo, he quickly warmed up to all of the characters and even a few of the rides. Most attractions in this area were more for 3-4 year olds, but he was content just to look around and ride the water rides. Note to mom: BRING BATHING SUIT NEXT TIME. There are great water fountains for the kids to play in, if only he were dressed appropriately.
Next stop: The Train. What little boy doesn't love trains? Our child was no exception. He literally could have ridden around and around the park all day and been happy. The authentic steam engine, conductor, and whistle made him giggle with delight. Another note for parents: Try to sit in the front where your child can have a better view of the front car.
Dinner? The Fest Haus. No chicken tenders??? What place that caters to kids doesn't carry chicken tenders. As it happens this is the only meat that my child will eat without a fight. Instead he had french fries and strawberries. Not ideal, but technically fries are a vegetable, right?
While we weren't brave enough to try the sky ride, we did opt for a stop at the Carousel. This was my one big complaint. While the park closed at 10pm, the carousel closed at 8:00pm. Fine I can live with that, what I can't live with is that those of us who were in line before 8pm were not allowed to ride. They simply closed the ride, said its 8:00pm and turned us around. Clearly the young lady running the ride had never been waiting with an impatient child who had already picked out the horse they wanted to ride. Disappoint me, fine. Disappoint my kid and mommy isn't happy!
As the dazzle of Illuminights began it was time for us to head home for bed. Although we didn't get to stay for the fire works it was easy to see that the park was coming alive with the festivities of the evening. So much so that my husband and I may go back alone one night when we can stay later.
One last note: Take the stroller. My son really prefers to walk, so we decided we could live without the extra baggage. There is a ton of walking, and 30lbs feels like 50lbs after one jaunt around the park.