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Flipping Ferris Wheels

Original post made by Jennifer Fogliani on Aug 7, 2011

While we were on vacation in Southern California, we took our son on a Ferris Wheel. He loved every thrilling moment, thrilling for a 2 year-old that is. He was so upset when we took him off the Ferris Wheel that we promised he could go one more time before we came back home to Mountain View.

A few days later, on our way back up Highway 5, Owen said, "we didn't go on the Ferris Wheel again." My husband and I exchanged nervous glances, both hoping the other would speak up first.

"We'll go next time we visit Aunt Carrie," My husband said, thinking it would put an end to the conversation. No such luck.

"But you said," Owen pleaded. It broke my heart.

I understand that life is full of disappointment and that it's good for children to learn early on that not everything goes as promised. But we just plain forgot to take him back to the Ferris Wheel. And it was a promise we could have easily kept.

When we got back home to Mountain View, I immediately put Google's search engine to work, trying to find the closest Ferris Wheel. Frontier Village seemed promising...until I read it closed in 1980.

I expanded my search to county fairs in the area. I was thrilled to see a link to the homepage for the Santa Clara County Youth Fair - I was hooked once I read the word "Youth" in the title.

The Fair was August 4th-7th from 10am - 8pm. So at 9:30am on Saturday, Aug 5th we headed South on the 101 to keep our promise to Owen. Admission was free and parking was $5. Rides ranged from $3 - $5 per ride. And as we walked in, from a distance, the Ferris Wheel stood tall and inviting.

Owen was bouncing in his seat already, thrilled to get his promised ride, even if it was a week late. "It looks a little different," I said to my husband as he pushed the double stroller through the fair grounds.

We finally got close enough to realize why the Ferris Wheel looked so different from afar. It wasn't just a regular Ferris Wheel. It was a Flipping Ferris Wheel - the kind where the seats are like cages that hold you from falling out while they violently flip around in circles. The kind of Ferris Wheel that almost 3 year-old boys aren't allowed to go on.

"Oh no, Owen," I said.

"What?" He said as he jumped out of the stroller.

I knelt down in front of him and braced myself for the worst. "You can't go on that Ferris Wheel." I could hear my husband take a deep breath in and hold it.

"Oh," Owen said. "Can I go on the roller coaster?" He asked pointing to the toddler sized roller coaster across the way.

"Sure," I said, laughing at his easy going reaction and also at my own unnecessary concern.

We spent the rest of the morning enjoying the age and size appropriate rides at the Santa Clara County Youth Fair. Since we got there right as it openend, Owen was even able to ride the dragon roller coaster all by himself.

Even though we still didn't keep our promise to Owen, I felt better knowing that I'd tried my best. Plus, Owen is so busy talking about his solo ride on the roller coaster that he's forgotten all about the Flipping Ferris Wheel.

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