Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Discover The Dinosaurs (Eat Ramen!)

"Tom, she got a hole in one! Maybe she's going to be the next Tiger Woods!" I gushed to my husband.

Okay, so it was MINIATURE GOLF, but still. That had to mean SOMETHING, right?

Three seconds later Natalie was moving to the ball where she wanted it to go. With her hands.

"Well, never mind," I sighed. The vacation bubble I had in my mind instantly popped. Of course Natalie would buy a vacation for us. We raised her after all. We took her to golf lessons.

We were at Discover The Dinosaurs, an event that had tons of...well, DINOSAUR activities. Natalie had seen the advertisement on television and she had raced over to me, hugged my knees and went, "Can we go?" I promised her nothing. So then she raced over to her Daddy, puffed her lower lip out, fluttered her eyelashes, and went, "There are dinosaurs coming this weekend. Can we go?"

He said yes.

Tommy said he'd pass. If video games aren't involved, he's not interested.

The event was downtown on the same day as a cheerleading competition. This meant all the free parking was gone so we had to pay $10. Cheerleaders were everywhere. They were beginning to frighten Tom.

Tickets to the event also frightened Tom. It was $15 for Tom and I. EACH.

We paid for the exhibit plus for Natalie. This meant she could ride the dinosaurs whenever she wanted and jump in the inflatables. Her ticket was $22.

"I hope you guys like ramen because we'll be eating it twice next week," I said, sliding over our card.

They thought I was joking.

It was cool inside, don't get me wrong. We saw displays like this:

Natalie wanted to keep this:

She basically wanted to stay in this. Hence why we paid extra for her ticket. (You could have just paid for a basic ticket for $18, but it wouldn't include the inflatables or unlimited dinosaur rides.)

This dinosaur made me giggle.

We stood and watched Natalie bounce. Tom whispered, "Did we just pay $22 for her to bounce?" I answered, "Perhaps."

It's a good thing we came early too. It started to get busy, which meant lines were forming at the inflatables which meant they were only giving kids a certain amount of time to bounce. Then they'd have to get into a long line.

We pulled Natalie from the inflatable and let her ride a dinosaur. Again, there were lines.

There were three different dinosaurs but each had a line. Natalie was like, "WHO are all these PEOPLE?" My thoughts exactly.

We moved over to the Dino Dig where she found some fossils.

Here's what bothered me. If you wanted your kid to get their face painted, you had to pay extra. What the CRAP did I just pay $22 for? If you wanted them to do a gem and fossil dig, you had to pay EXTRA.

"I feel like I'm at the State Fair," I muttered to Tom as we forked over MORE money so Natalie could do a fossil dig.

She got to keep the stuff she found. There were fake bones, teeth, shells...

Not worth the $12 we paid. If you wanted to do the Gem portion, you had to pay ANOTHER $12. And look, we wanted to EAT the following week, so we declined.

However, Natalie had fun. That was the whole point.

Was it a rip off? Yes.

Would I go again. Maybe.

But I do hope they combine everything into the $22 ticket. If I'm paying extra for my kid to do more, it should include face painting and the fossil/gem dig.

So if your child likes dinosaurs and you don't mind eating ramen for a couple of days, go!

(Or if you're rich like Burt Reynolds, go! You can afford to do everything then!)

**I was not compensated for this post. We forked over all the money mentioned.**


  1. Wow, they should have fine print for you to read. My kids have jobs now so I feel a bit freer :)

  2. I'm laughing because after all that rip-off talk, you still might go again. Kids having fun is worth a meal or two of ramen. Occasionally.

  3. Lol this post was hilarious (and SO real) - I hate how companies overcharge for activities! Especially when it comes to children, they are just taking advantage :(

  4. It looks like she had a lot of fun. I hate it too when they add on charges for every little thing. Cute photos!

  5. Oh wow! That's insane. I would've thought the ticket would've included everything...hum...

    She does look like she had a blast though!

  6. Fun and Educational? You can't lose there. As an adult it looks dumb to you maybe, but to the kid it may not. So I'm glad you did it :)

  7. We've had a lot of experiences like that - where something sounds like a rip off but the kids like it enough that we *might* do it again given the theoretical opportunity!

  8. LOL I love the disclaimer at the end. I'm pissed face-painting was extra. That's not even right.

    Despite the dollars it looks like she had fun so you still get the awesome parent award in her book.

  9. Get this - our co-op just got in organic ramen! Right?? I'm going to try it. It's cheap, but not as cheap as... non-organic.
    We had something like that last year. It did have some little ride-on dinosaurs and a bounce house, but mostly it was a whole display in darkness with roaring, animatronic dinosaurs. A bit intense and not a bit of a rip-off!
    I'd do it again, though.

  10. Oh my goodness, my youngest would love this. But yes, $22 is a lot. I always feel like parents should get in free to this kind of stuff. We aren't there because we want to be, lol.

  11. Reminds me of the time I fell for the "free circus tickets." I told the kids I'd take them and then I had to pay for my ticket. $ Then if you wanted to sit somewhere other than right behind the elephant butts you had to pay to upgrade everyone's seats. $$ And of course they want food $$$ and pony rides $$$$ and light up toys that break a week later!! $$$$$ Kinda expensive for a "free" circus!!

  12. I'm horrible at any kind of golf, then I get really frustrated because I suck so bad that I no longer want to play.. Ha ha, so at least Natalie is better than I am at it!
    The dinosaur exhibit looks like fun, but wow is it expensive! I hate when you have to pay expensive ticket prices and things aren't included in that! Forking over the extra money is not fun.. especially with sweet faces begging you to. Top Ramen for dinner for us too :D ha ha!

  13. Oh geez! They really find new ways to suck the money right out of your wallet don't they? NOTHING is really truly included these days. Once you're in, it's pay extra city!

  14. My Abby would totally LOVE that fact, I feel like she would probably just flat out refuse to leave! Great post! :)-Ashley

  15. Now if my family and I went, my husband would probably try to play in the bouncie with the kids!!!

  16. Your comment about the state fair made me laugh, because we gripe every year about how overpriced the fair is, how you have to pay extra for everything, then turn around and go again the next year just because the kids like it!

  17. Sounds like a fun place but wow $22 and then you still had to pay extra for everything?! And what on earth was the $30 that you and Tom had to pay for?! Glad Natalie had fun!!

  18. Oh goodness! It looks like fun but that price is cray-cray!

  19. Looks like fun…some of these places for kids are so overpriced, though!

  20. Damn, they sure collected--big time! But it looks like Natalie had a ton of fun. I loved/hated dinosaurs when I was a kid--I thought they were cool, but Jurassic Park also scared the crap out of me.

  21. They must have made a fortune, what kid is going to walk past the bouncy castle and say "oh no, it's OK, not if you have to pay extra"? At least Natalie enjoyed it.

  22. Holy smokes that is an expensive outing for what you guys got. But, the smile on adorable Natalie's face is priceless so I always consider that money well spent, Amber :)

  23. Oh, dear, how I do wish you were compensated for this post! Although, from the looks of the pictures, it was worth it. I LOL'd when I read "I promised nothing". A woman after my own heart!

  24. I cannot even begin to list the number of things we have opted not to do because of all those hidden costs.

    And it's too bad, because this place is really cool! my kids would love it. Right now, I just bury plastic dinosaurs in their sandbox. they seem happy.
    but then again, they also LOVE ramen noodles.

  25. I went to this last year in MN and it was really cool. I am a hardcore dinosaur lover and nerd. It was a tad bit expensive but I really loves seeing all the animatronics. =]

  26. Why is everything SO overpriced these days?! You can't even ride a damn dinosaur in front of the grocery store for a penny anymore. Dafuq?!

  27. This post had me in tears! Why is everything so expensive now? Long gone are the days when parents can fork over a quarter for something.

  28. Oh man I feel your pain. No matter where you take your kids, if it's a "kid-friendly" thing, that means expensive. It also means "other cool stuff not included in this ridiculous price." But she had fun, so there's that.

  29. My kids would love that! It sucks they had to nickel and dime you even after you bought the full ticket. At least she had fun.


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