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Vacation destination

Screaming at Six Flags

Roller coasters, pizza, and pools, oh my.

My daughter Kaitlyn and I went to the land of baseball and roller coasters, Six Flags in St. Louis, for two days of fun, relaxation and pizza. It was our third annual trip and each time we go it gets better and better.

The first time we went, the day was so overcast with a threat of rain, we didn’t go to the waterpark side at all. The good was that the park was as empty as an anorexic’s stomach and we rode all the rides multiple times (We went on the River King Mine Train four times). Katie rode the Screamin’ Eagle and the Boss, but while the Eagle was fun, the Boss jerked me around so much that I had a bruise on my left thigh that looked like I hit it with a hammer. The Ice Mountain Splash was a sentimental favorite and the maze in the kid’s section was a good time. The afternoon found us at the hotel’s indoor pool and game room. We ate pizza and headed home in the morning.

Last year we tried to do both the water park and Six Flags in one day. We accomplished this, but I was tired, both parks were really full, and I felt that we didn’t really get to have as much fun. Katie, of course, thought it was great and the next day we met up with my friend Angie and her boyfriend (now fiancé) and headed to the St. Louis Science Center for the afternoon.

This year, dear old Dad (that’s me!) finally figured it out and we had the best, easiest and most fun time at Six Flags/Hurricane Harbor ever. Third time was the charm, as they say.

I took Friday off and I headed down from my lofty perch in Champaign to pick up Katie in Mattoon early in the morning. She was a bundle of excitement, ready to get there.

We made excellent time and arrived at the Six Flags Holiday Inn at 10:30 am. Our room, much to my surprise, was ready when we got there. So we unloaded the car, hopped on the shuttle bus and was on our first ride (The River King Mine Train, of course) by 11:00 am.

After getting very wet in the next three rides, we dried off with the Screamin’ Eagle and Scooby Doo’s Swamp Monster ride. Katie threw a dart, popped a balloon and won a stuffed flower. I bought the two of us T-shirts and we generally had a grand time doing everything we wanted. We talked about riding some rides next year that we never seem to try and I attempted to convince Katie to ride Batman, Mr. Freeze and Ninja. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

By about 3p Katie was getting a bit overheated, so we headed back to the hotel and the indoor pool. She found a friend (as she is apt to do) and practiced her swimming skills. I ordered the pizza, we watched a little TV and she was out like a light by 8pm.

The morning found us lazily getting ready. Room service breakfast was tasty (omelet with everything, my good man) and packing was a breeze. It was the waterpark side this day since I upgraded us with two-day passes. We were in the park by 10:15. Katie found a friend (again) and she slid down water slides and giggled with her new friend most of the day.

Hurricane Harbor is a lot of fun, but five hours is about all you need. Especially when you have a very overcast day. It was actually warmer in the water than out. We jumped around in the wave pool, rode all four tube slides, hit the family raft ride three times and wandered around the lazy river four times. The last thing we did was the speed slide. Katie was nervous, but she did it and I think really proud of herself afterwards.

To dry off, we decided to head back into Six Flags and ride the Screamin’ Eagle one last time. The sun finally broke through and our suits dried as we waited in what was the longest line of the trip. Katie even saw her Hurricane Harbor friend (whom we parted ways with hours ago) in line. We sat in the back of the ride and screamed the entire time.

Leisurely walking back to the hotel and our car for the trip back to my parents in Effingham for the evening was pleasant. All was right in the world and our time together was about as perfect as it gets. In retrospect, our trip went as smooth as silk and I’d like to think that another chapter in me and my daughter’s relationship was strengthened.

All in all I’d do it again… probably next year. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel. Now if I could just get Kaitlyn to ride Batman.