Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What a great day!

Do you ever have a day that turns out to be a really great day? Maybe you had no reason to think it wouldn't be a good day, but were pleasantly surprised that a good day became a great day? That was my day today.

It started when I picked up a copy of Washington Parent magazine on my way out of Whole Foods one day a couple of months ago. We don't live in the city, so most of the stuff that I read about in the magazine doesn't really appeal to me, because the stores, events or restaurants aren't all that convenient to me, but I enjoy flipping through the pages anyway. So, as I was flipping through it, an advertisement caught my eye. It was an advertisement for a stage production (for children) of Goodnight Moon. Well, both Georgia and Olivia are crazy about the book. Georgia "read" it to me three times a day for about a 6 month period (she memorized it and recited it to me as if she was actually reading). And, now it has been Olivia's absolute favorite book for the past 6 months, and is holding strong. We are on our third copy of the book. The first copy was pretty well worn from Georgia's many readings, and Olivia's tearing books phase. The second copy seccumed to the tearing books phase too, and our third and current copy, is pretty dog-eared. She even sleeps with the book in her bed with her! So, when I saw the ad, I thought, we should take the girls to see this. I tore out the page, and taped it up in the kitchen. It stayed there for weeks before I finally went online and Chris and I bought the tickets and made the plans to go as a family. I knew that there was no way I was going to try taking all 3 girls by myself. We get asked to leave the library, for crying out loud! Could you just imagine paying the money for tickets to the play and then having to leave??!! The play was being performed at the Adventure Theatre. I had never heard of it, so I went online, got the address and plugged it into the GPS. It was about 45 minutes from us. No problem - no traffic, no delays, and we managed to get there right on time. I had no idea where the Adventure Theatre was or what it would be like. It was so cool! It is Glen Echo, Maryland, in the middle of an old amusement park (the Glen Echo Amusement Park) that has been restored and renovated and converted into a community park with really cool art galleries and classrooms and neat stuff. The park is managed by the National Park Service. Many of the original amusement park things are still there - the ballroom, the bumper cars, the carousel, an old trolley car, and a lot of the buildings are being currently used for the community art programs and things like that. And, as the park service, likes to do, there are big signs everywhere with great old photographs and snippets about the history of things. I loved reading all about the history! It made me want to come home and read more about it! More about that in a minute...

Okay, so we got there, and got our tickets at the will call window and went in. The theatre was an intimate setting - very kid friendly. The play lasted about an hour, and the kids were completely fascinated, and relatively still for an entire hour. AN ENTIRE HOUR, people. That, is just short of a miracle! Let me remind you, these kids are 5 1/2, 2 1/2, and 16 months!!!!

The set was amazing! If you can imagine the pages of Goodnight Moon coming to life right before your eyes - there it was. The room was green, and everything was there, the red balloon, the light, the telephone, the mittens, the kittens, the socks, the clocks, the pictures on the wall, even the mouse! And it was at floor level, and the seating was on risers above, so the kids looked down on the stage, and we were only two rows from the back, and we felt so close, that is how intimate the theatre is.

There were 5 actors and they were terrific! They brought all the characters to life, and there were songs and dancing and the play completly held the attention of my girls'! Even the baby couldn't help but clapping at the music and the fun of it all!
After the play was over, we went outside to get a better look at the carousel that we hurried past to get to the play on time. The tickets were only $1, so Chris took Georgia and Olivia for a ride around. The carousel was gorgeous and the kids loved it! But, really, what's not to love about a carousel?
It was built in the 1920s and was sooo cool!

Here are the girls waiting their turn in line.

The happy riders - You cannot see Georgia, but she is on the other side of Chris.

A closer look at one of the horses.

More detail of the carousel.

Since I am always taking the pictures, I am rarely in any of them. The carousel gave me a fun way to include a picture of me!

Here is the pipe organ that the music was coming from.

Here are some pictures of the buildings from the old amusement park. From the history I have read, both at the park, and since I have been home, the park and some buildings have been there since the late 1800s.
The oldest structure still there is a stone tower from a building that dates back to the 1890s, when it was the National Chautauqua Assembly, which taught the sciences, arts, languages, and literature.

picture from the website - around 1891.
I was so busy taking pictures of the carousel, I didn't get a picture of the stone tower :( - but it was really cool - you should have seen it!!! ;)
You can just see the edge of it here, next to this art deco building I photographed.

The history of the park is that Glen Echo used to be a trolley park accessible by the street car system; the park was designed to be the last stop on the cars so people could go there after work. The original park had several attractions, including bumper cars, shooting galleries, and an expansive rollercoaster. The park also had a large pool, the Crystal Pool, the remains of which can still be seen today, and a shooting gallery, which was stopped in WWII because of ammunition shortages.
Here is the building that was once the shooting gallery and arcade building, which now houses a puppet theatre and the adventure theatre.

Here is the bumper car building:

The remains of the pool today:

The sign near where the Crystal Pool was said that it accomodated 3,000 swimmers - can you imagine?! There is a great playground right there now. Olivia and Sophia really enjoyed it!

The history of this park was so very neat. It was fun to discover this really cool place that we had never been before.
What a great day it was! We had such good, quality, family time, and found such a neat place and learned a little about the history of the park too!
If you aren't completely bored about reading about the park, I found another website with some great old photos of the park in the amusement park's heydey on this website.


carlo said...

oh my goodness-- a Goodnight Moon play? how cool is that. ellie would love that...

cherrygarage said...

That park reminds me of the park areas down by the San Diego Zoo. There is a carosel there, as well... Looks like a fun time was had by all! Olivia looks NOTHING like Chris, btw. ;-)

Rosalia said...

People should read this.