Two years ago, CJ and I visited a place he remembered from his childhood as being fantastic. I later discovered this beautiful childhood moment from his primary school books:
We really weren’t sure if the Magic Mountain adventure playground was going to be good or terrible – and it was great. CJ even injured himself by falling off the toboggan at high speeds.
THIS time, we knew exactly what we were in for, and we moved with purposeful strides between the three greatest exhibits.
Magic Mountain costs about $35 per adult for as many rides on everything as you’d like. You will want to go more than once, so don’t buy individual tickets.
We went to the rollercoaster first.
That little green car is at just the position that I think, “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all.” From there you can either look out across the trees (very pretty, but not reassuring) or straight down through absolutely nothing – no struts or supports or bits of track – to the ground (even less reassuring).
Immediately after that there’s a long drop all the way back to ground level. I scream easily it’s true – but I never heard anyone NOT scream at that point. Also, you get great air (so much so that smaller children need to be physically held in by their parents).
All of it is driven by a few rickety little engines like this one:
Here you can see the carefree joy on our faces:
After we were thoroughly woken up (several times), we moved on to our next port of call: the toboggan (aka “CJ’s Doom”).
The roller coaster is frightening, but the toboggan has something it lacks: personal choice. You hold the brake as you go down, and the faster you go the more you need to use your body to keep the sled from flipping right over.
As a result, the chance of actual injury is very high. The attendant noticed CJ and I getting faster and faster on each run down the mountain (sidebar: there are lovely views of Merimbula hills and the sea for anyone who actually looks up), and decided it was the right time to tell a story.
A couple brought their four-year old along. He was too young to ride by himself, so he rode with his Dad.
The mum went first, and she went at a sane speed.
Then came the second, heavier toboggan. . . which was controlled, not by Dad, but by a four-year old child.
The four-year old, lacking both self-preservation instincts and fast reflexes, crashed into his mother’s sled at extreme speed. Blood gushed onto the track, and the mother (and her head injury) was taken away by ambulance.
Thus endeth the tale.
The same attendant also showed us a thick line of burn scar on his arm, which he’d given himself by falling off on a Summer day, when the track rippled the air with heat.
For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Summer right now.
One of the bonuses of the toboggan is that it hauls you back up to the beginning of the track again (rather than letting you walk up the hill, like on the water slide).
The ride back up is very serene (so much so that there’s a quasi-educational diorama towards the end) so after twenty or so goes I indulged in some light weeding on my way along.
The attendant at the bottom commented on my increasing speed, and I said, “Yep – you just get faster and faster until you injure yourself.”
He looked a little perturbed. (I was JOKING, darn it.)
I went down one more time and said goodbye to him, with a strong implication of “See? I’m stopping before I get hurt.”
But then stuff happened and CJ and I came back (the correct sequence of rides is roller coaster, toboggan, water slide, toboggan/lunch, roller coaster, water slide – because you can’t go on the roller coaster wet, but you can dry off on the toboggan).
It was less crowded, which meant we rode a new toboggan each time.
Sometimes they were smooth. Sometimes they were not. I used the first three corners to judge how much I needed to brake for the rest.
I was rattling down at enormous speed, hurling my body back and forth with painful jerks (lifting sideways for corners and lurching back to the centre of the track as the corners end), when I came off the third corner and as the sled jerked back down to the lowest point of the track I didn’t stay with it. The sled ran off ahead, jackknifing and slurring to a halt. I slid after it on my knee and elbow, and bashed my cheekbone against the metal rim.
I scrambled back on board within a second, knowing CJ was hurtling down the track after me.
From that point on, I used the brakes.
Thus ended the tale.
Once we were thoroughly bent and bruised from the toboggan, we moved on to arguably the best ride of all: the water slides.
One of them is good.
The other is brilliant.
It’s called the Black Hole. Here’s a view of it from a little way down the hillside:
The thing about the Black Hole is that it IS a black hole. You get on the slide and immediately plunge sharply beneath the earth. In total darkness and silence (except for your own screaming) you perform a full circle. Just when you’re utterly disoriented and think the darkness will last forever, the tube around you turns light blue, and then – zoom! – you come out into sunshine.
In the photo above, you can see the opening where you fly out into the light. You can also see colourful plastic tubes sticking out of the earth. They’re air holes.
CJ and I ate icecreams and fairy floss, because it would be simply wrong not to. We know how these things work.
Also, I was gored by a triceratops.
Think they’re vegetarians? Think you’re safe?
Coming soon: Ride a wave, Go walkies, and HORSERIDING (on Sunday, with video).