Tuesday, September 21, 2010

They're creepy and they're kooky

We're so lucky that the area we live in has TONS of attractions that are geared toward the little ones. Between the many parks, playgrounds, libraries, indoor entertainment areas like bounce around places and gyms, and all that the big cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. have to offer, we have plenty to keep us busy all year round. Last week we hit up a place called Clark's Elioak Farm, which is part petting zoo, part farm, part playground and part creepy nursery rhyme wonderland.

I know, the "creepy nursery rhyme wonderland" threw you for a loop, so let me explain.


There used to be a theme park in the area called the Enchanted Forest, and it featured all of these structural vignettes of scenes from popular nursery rhymes. There weren't any rides, just little displays you could walk through, and the entire thing was nestled in the woods. I remember visiting the Enchanted Forest as a kid during our trips to Maryland, and although it was fun and memorable, it was, well, strange and creepy, mainly because nothing moved. You would just kind of stand there, stare at these strange, overtly colorful (and sometimes distorted) storybook characters and then .... you would move along. No climax, nothing. The theme park eventually closed in 1988 after 30-some years of business, and recently, many of the structural attractions were purchased and refurbished by a local, who put them on display at Clark's Elioak Farm, the place we visited last week.

Although we had a blast and enjoyed our morning together in the beautiful late summer weather, Maribelle confirmed that yes, in fact, creepiness does withstand the test of time. She squirmed away from many of the figures and gave us lots of hesitant "What the ?!?!?!" looks the entire morning.  Which explains why she's turning her head or running away in most of our photos.

Thankfully, the petting zoo offered some redemption in the form of adorable goats and free-roaming chickens.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Every princess needs a castle ...

and, of course, a really good guard dog.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ohhh, the climbing

Maribelle is on some major gross motor skills bender at the moment, and wants to climb all the tallest, scariest structures at the playground -- all. by. herself. It's a whole new level of parenting for Jeremy and me, as we try to find balance between letting her climb and gain confidence, and also keeping her safe and within reasonable boundaries for her age. We're learning some big parenting lessons as we go, and at the same time, she's mastering rock climbing, going up and down stairs like a big girl, and jumping. This makes for lots and lots of trips to the local playgrounds and long, restful naptimes that Momma is totally enjoying.