I believe I could be truly happy in Provo if we could have Tilden Park. I just want the whole thing dug up and dropped in the foothills of the Wasatch Front, complete with migrating newts, fog, and little kids wearing Flapdoodle hats. Until that happens, we make it one of our first stops when we visit the grandparents. We were thrilled that it was open for spring break, so we went there on Monday.
As it was raining, there were not so many people at the train. We had dragged Joss along even though it was perilously close to naptime, but the Tilden steam trains are magic. He went from vague interest to jumping up and down and making "chubby chubby choo choo" sounds. He also picked up the word "tunnel" along with "beach", "hot dog", and "froggy".
Does he look ready for a nap?
The engineer was congenial as usual. He showed the kids the firebox, explained the steam engine, rang the bell and tooted the whistle for us. I know that there are other models of boys -- the dinosaur boy, truck boy, animal boy -- but we only make train boys. They respond to something about trains at a cellular level.
From there we went over to the carousel. This was being refurbished while we were here two years ago. The animals look the same, but they've got new windows and they've redone the floor and it reassures us old timers that it will be around for our grandkids. I think grandpa and his compadres should form a Tilden Park Carousel Tinkering Club and see if they can't get Blanche's baton working again. It was a great thing to try and watch as you were riding around and around.
As a child, I was afraid to ride on the outside horses that went up and down; through the wood beams above I could see the machinery, and having seen Mary Poppins, I knew that carousel horses were in danger of falling off the merry-go-round and pogosticking away through the hills.
I'm glad the kids don't share my childhood frights.