Sunday, July 5, 2009
Story Land, Glen, New Hampshire
There isn't much less appealing to me than amusement parks. In my mind they are overpriced marketing nightmares designed to get you to spend as much as possible while standing in line before the kids collapse from exhaustion. Yet, after so many of my friends shared rave reviews of Story Land in Glen, New Hampshire, I began to rethink my preconceptions. And, in fact, my friends were right. Instead of being a repository of commercial hype, Story Land is a model of family fun. It was clean with great rides for children (especially under age 8) and adults. And best of all, instead of being filled with cartoon creatures, the theme is nursery rhymes. While I can't say I am sold on amusement parks, my family had a wonderful time.You can check out the Story Land website for the full map and descriptions of all the activities. One of the brilliant parts of Story Land is that there are a range of great activities for each age. For example, four of the rides are designed for older kids (e.g. a roller coaster, and two water rides.) However, the preschool area was one of the highlights for our kids. There were two different ball pits (one for toddlers and one for infants) as well as some animals, a giant piano, and many other little rides.My three year old loved that he could ride on a train, drive an antique car as well as a tractor and fly in a whale and a shoe. He was just as mesmerized by the ferris wheel and the sprinkler park. He loved the chance to get on his first merry-go-round, while I appreciated that it was over 300 years old. We also went for a lazy ride in some swan boats. He was too skittish to stay in the circus, but my husband raved about it afterwards.Throughout the park are little designs that make this place so perfect for families: free strollers, "Mama's Rooms" for nursing and changing babies, misting rooms to cool down without getting soaked, buttons to press so children can listen to stories, calm characters meandering through the park, such as Mother Goose, and clear signs that made it easy to decide which rides were best for our children.While Story Land isn't cheap (it costs $25.00 per person over 3 years old), it is still a good value for a few reasons. First, as Story Land covers over 35 acres, has 20 rides and 5 theme shows, you can literally spend an entire day there. In addition, after 3:00 p.m. on the first day, you can then use the same tickets to return the very next day. Story Land also offers promotions and a number of hotels offer special deals that include tickets to Story Land. Be aware that as the park is 56 years old, there is a charm in some of the more dated sections (such as Little Red Riding Hood's house.) However, there are also rides such as "Bamboo Chutes" that with Chinese music playing are not the most ethnically sensitive. Finally, bring your own water, snacks and food and picnic inside or outside of Story Land. Not only does it save a tremendous amount of money, but despite offering carrot sticks, the majority of the food was more typical of the greasy, calorie ridden types that you would find at most parks. This time Story Land generously provided us with tickets to try it out and next summer we will be back on our own!
Story Land, Glen New Hampshire Route 16, 603-383-4186