Thursday, Grandpa Nelson took the day off and drove Cousins Jasper, Kestrel and me 45 minutes south to The Enchanted Forest, near Salem. This lovely old theme park was built in 1971 by Roger Tofte on a low budget and with no corporate sponsors. This was his dream, and it took seven years to build. It is still being run by his grandchildren!
Grandpa Nelson and I visited The Enchanted Forest when your mommy Katie was little, and a lot of what we loved is still here. The cute castle entrance, friendly staff, and shady forest help a lot when visiting on a hot day with small children. The small scale, and quiet, walk- through experience is engaging and non-threatening, even with witches around.
We visited Storybook Lane, where Humpty Dumpty sits on his wall, Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf, and we walked (with difficulty) through the crooked man’s crooked house.
There are new things to see, as well. There is Tofteville, an gold mining town, named after the original builder. It has a shooting gallery and Fort Fearless, which has tunnels to walk and crawl through. It was a tight fit, but I made it!
In the medieval village section, we saw a Dancing Waters Show while having pizza for lunch, and a music group performed rousing Irish music. Cousin Jasper got to shoot dragons and other bad guys in the Challenge of Mondor, and got enough points to be a Knight!
While we were walking around the Enchanted Forest, we were having so much fun that we hadn’t noticed that we were always going UP the hill. But looking over the trees, we realized we had climbed a hundred feet or more! Up near the top we found our last attractions for the day, the RIDES.
Knowing that some theme parks make their money with big, scary rides, I was worried. But these were “Kiddie Rides”, exactly the right size and scariness for Jasper and Kestrel, and the “height restrictions” meant you couldn’t be taller than 54 inches to ride! There were bumper boats, a Ferris wheel, Frog Hopper dropping ride, a carousel, and a tiny train. The kids rode and laughed and chatted with the operators.
There were bigger rides around the other side of the park, but we didn’t go there. It was getting hotter and we were all wearing out. It was time to head home. The air conditioned car and cool drinks of water felt very nice on the way home.
I sure slept well that night!