Middle nephew that loves riding the big roller coaster rides with me asked if we could go to Six Flags today. He's learned from me the value of going to Six Flags on skeptical weather days, like cold, possibly rainy days in the fall, and scattered thunderstorm days like today.
We got rained on twice, once as soon as we arrived and again right after eating dinner. That second storm cell included a few park-wide notices of the weather service alert accompanying it, which the alarm sound over the intercom made Little Bit nervous for a moment. I had to pull up the radar on my phone and talk him through understanding that it wasn't a tornado warning, and that we were safer staying there than leaving and driving in the car TOWARDS the oncoming assault. We stayed in the restaurant while the bulk of the second storm passed, which had already started losing power once it reached us and was only a mid-level rain rather than the OMG pummel of doom it started out as on the other side of Fort Worth. The A/C was making us cold, so we were happy to start walking around in the light rain again once the storm subsided. There were puddles to walk through everywhere, and nephew, along with many younger kids throughout the park, were loving stomping and splashing in them. Some bigger puddles were unavoidable while walking through the wait-line corrals Luckily I wore sandals instead of socks and shoes. I know how crinkled my feet get when they're trapped in water-logged shoes all day, like they did when I was a teen and rode the soaking water rides first thing upon arrival on a hot, hot summer day.
Our drink spilled a total of three times - once on the table, once on him while we were on a ride, and once on my hoodie while it was sitting in the bin during another ride. Apparently the lid doesn't seal as well as it should. Luckily we were already thoroughly damp, so while the spillage added a level of soaking to our clothes, you couldn't tell while walking amongst the other water-drenched souls.
The park was emptying out by the time we arrived at around 4pm, so much so that I thought maybe they had decided to close due to the rain, but they stayed open the full day until 9pm. I think most people got in their fun in the morning before the rains started, but those dry folks probably also had much longer lines to stand in. There were absolutely no lines for us. The longest we waited for a single ride was The Justice League at maybe 30 minutes, which on a normal busy day is 2+ hours. I know this because the first time we rode it I got leg cramps from a 2-hr long line, and I've seen the corral be even fuller than that on some days.
We ate a churro and popcorn and carried around that Mr. Pibb in our free refill bottle. We rode the Batman ride with zero wait. We had a burger, chicken nuggets, onion rings, fries, a fruit cup, a fruit roll-up, and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish for dinner. Then we rode The Justice League and Runaway Mountain, the two inside rides we knew would for sure be open again once the storm passed over. Then we rode The Texas Giant twice, The Titan twice, and The Texas Giant another two times. Any other regular summer day, weekend or not, and ALL of those rides would have ~2 hours wait times.
In summary, 5 hours, a snack, a dinner, two water shows, and 9 rides, all for the cost of gas (since we have the season pass with meals).
At least I didn't have to worry about sunscreen.
The best parts about today were our conversations to and from the park. Little Bit definitely has a scientific mind. On the way out he asked about the myth that green skies always means tornado, and I explained super cell clouds, wall clouds, and light dispersion, especially during sunset, through such a gigantic super cell. He now knows green skies and tornadoes are correlated, but not causality - I would have shown him a Venn, but I was driving. We simultaneously debunked the rain-means-no-tornado myth. We also talked about vortexes in general, including dust devils, hurricanes, whirlpools, and even the smoke vortex you can see coming off the iron cooking slab at our favorite Mongolian grill restaurant. I discussed how the power source for some come from the heat coming off the ground/base of the vortex and some get their power from the top. Later, while riding The Texas Giant the second set of times, we enjoyed the sunset and the going-away thunderstorm clouds while the train was pulled up the main drop hill, and he commented to me that he understood the light dispersion stuff better while looking at the pretty sunset colors.
On our drive back, he asked me to clarify the magnets installed in the cars affecting stop lights concept. He was close, but not quite right. I told him about the grooves in the road and how the metal car disrupts the inductance, so we played Where's Waldo looking for the grooves at the next couple of intersections. I didn't go into as much scientific depth with that as I did the green tornado clouds stuff. Next time I hang out with him, I'll introduce him to henry
But Wait, There's More!
He also asked about college, and if I went to college, and how degrees work. So we spent the rest of the drive home talking about undergrad Bachelor, grad Master, and post-grad PhD/MD/JD degrees.
Whew. What a day.