Monday, July 8, 2013

Enchanted Forest!

Ever since he could talk Jack has been curious about Enchanted Forest. "What even is that place?" he wanted to know every time we passed it on that often traveled stretch of I-5.

"Oh, that place? I don't know. I think it's closed," I fudged each and every time, knowing full well the world of veritable enchantment that lay beyond that overhanging foliage and those sloped roof cottages.

I remember going to Enchanted Forest on Willamalane no school day field trips and making best friends for a day with someone I'd never see again in my life. I remember ducking down into the damp darkness of the rabbit's hole. I remember spending my pocket money on cheap, plastic novelty items from the gift shop in the western town and coming home to show them proudly to my parents. And I certainly remember mustering the nerve to ride the rickety old roller coaster.

In the spirit of summer bucket lists, I told Brent that I thought it was time to take the kids to Enchanted Forest. "What even is that place?" was his response.

And I found it hard to describe Enchanted Forest to a person who grew up in San Diego and went to Disneyland for his class field trips. It's weird. But it's cool weird. It's just the Enchanted Forest. That was the best I could do.

Jack and Sawyer were beside themselves with excitement about this possibility. We looked it up online and measured everyone to make sure they could ride the roller coasters. I got sucked into the bizarre narrative about the history of Enchanted Forest. Jack scrolled through all the pictures over and over again. "This is going to be so awesome!" he repeated to anyone who would listen.

And then the big day came! We caravaned with some friends and were delayed by Sawyer's 20 minute visit to a gas station bathroom, but at last we arrived.

Everyone loved the Comedy Theater. We saw a modernized Pinocchio, which had the boys laughing like crazy and a Shrek-like touch of grown up humor to keep us all entertained.

Something about this next picture of Sawyer reminds me of my Grandma Catherine. Does anyone else see it?

Then we moved on to the kiddy rides. Sawyer cornered some kid on the bumper boats who kept shrieking "Don't bump me! Don't bump me!" which was hilarious and pathetic at the same time.

My god. This baby. She is the sweetest, cutest, happiest little thing. As my friend Melanie says, she's like a purse chihuahua.

Like brother like brother. Oh, these two.

I wondered if Sawyer would chicken out on the log ride. You can't see him, but he's in the boat and for the next few days he would tell everyone we saw about the "40 foot drop!"

Yes, Brent, just like I said. Cool weird.

Jack and Sawyer were all about the haunted house. We handed over our tickets just as a boy Jack's size came bawling out the front door. "Too scary for us!" explained the dad as they rushed back down the steps. "Are you guys sure about this?" I asked, giving them one last chance to back down.

They were sure. Until we got upstairs and they were both clinging to me with their hot and sweaty paws. "It's not for real. It's just pretend," Sawyer assured me as we navigated through familiar skeleton displays and dayglo zombie graveyard scenes.

They both emerged pale and clammy. "I wasn't even scared." Jack tried to save face. "Well, I was!" Sawyer exclaimed proudly.

After our friends left, Jack and Sawyer decided they wanted to see everything a second time.

And I got a chance to take the witch's mouth photo that is a requirement for all native Oregonian children.

When it was time to leave I could tell that they boys didn't want this day to end. "Please can we look in the gift shop?" they begged. "Can we get a souvenir?"

And even though we are not usually souvenir types, I remembered buying that crap myself when I was little. So when Sawyer picked out an oversized novelty pencil and Jack decided on a squishy rubber dachshund, I just handed over my debit card and smiled.


  1. I love that you are so aware of your convictions and so flexible to let your children explore at the same time. This looks like the kind of kid memories that are never forgotten! <3


  2. You write sweet, sweet prose.

    Best wishes from Switz!

    PS I think your baby is much cuter than a purse chihuahua!! (She is veritably scrummy.)

  3. Oh my gosh, when we move back to Oregon we are going here. I love it!!