A childhood dream come true...sort of!
I bought a Groupon for Dinotown a few weeks ago and on Saturday we decided to take the kids. Andrew went last summer with the mil after they’d camped over at Cultus Lake (which is right down the street from it) but James and I (and therefore of course the girls) had never been to that area at all.
When I was a little girl there was often a commercial on TV about Flintstone Bedrock City in Chilliwack, and I desperately wanted to go. It was just too far away to get there from where we lived on the island, and it never happened. Several years ago it was renamed Dinotown and I had hoped it meant that a lot of Bedrock City had been saved, but from what I gather the majority of it was torn down. There were a few things leftover from what it used to be, though, and while it wasn’t much it did feel like I was finally able to check that off my Bucket List of places I’d always wanted to go!
Dinotown was definitely ‘campy,’ but it turned out to be perfect for all 3 of our kids, to the point that we’ve already decided we’re going back next year. We plan to stay overnight somewhere nearby for maybe a couple of nights so that we can explore a lot more of the area (there’s an AWESOME looking theme park there, for example) and enjoy the lake as well, which we didn’t get to do this time because the kids were so tired after 3 hours at Dinotown, and the girls really needed a nap (although as it turned out Andrew slept the longest of all of them on the car ride home!)
For $24 (the cost of the Groupon), the kids got 3 full hours of fun, and James and I loved how laid back it was, and that it was small enough that we could let the kids run around without feeling overwhelmed about where they were going. Of course, the girls in particular still needed a close watch since if they did get ‘lost’ they wouldn’t necessarily know where to find us, but they mostly wanted to play in the life-sized dollhouse, anyway. It was equipped with lots of dolls, clothes, blankets, a little kitchen stocked with supplies, and high chairs and cradles.
Andrew loved the bouncy castles, but it took him some time to feel comfortable with the fact that it was a free-for-all. He’s used to having to wait in lines and have someone give him the OK to go on a ride, but at Dinotown, while there are employees at each ‘station’, you don’t have to wait to go on anything, you just sort of do your own thing. I guess if it got super busy you’d have to wait, but there were a comfortable amount of people there that it was never an issue. I loved that they didn’t push products, and really only had an ice cream stand if you wanted to get something. They encouraged bringing your own food (which we did), or going to the little store down the street to buy something and come back in.
There was mini golf, too, which the girls tried for the first time, and all I can say is...thank goodness for plastic golf clubs!!! Everything there seemed fairly low-budget, and I definitely think they could do a lot with the place to make it ‘better’, but the kids LOVED it the way it was, and in all honesty there was something nice about it being the way it was. It was more relaxing there than any other kids’ attraction we’ve ever visited, which has to count for something!
I can’t wait till we go back next year and explore the area, and make a little holiday out of it. It took about an hour and a half to drive there (taking the scenic route to avoid the tolls), but due to an accident and just crazy traffic, it took 2.5 hours to get home, which was ridiculous. The kids were amazing and all 3 seem to be really great travellers, which we’re so lucky to have because I suffered from terrible motion sickness as a child so there was always a risk at least one of our kids would inherit it. But the trip was made much easier by them all being so content, and while they didn’t nap much they also did a minimum of fussing. Still, it would be much more ideal to spend a few days in the area, knowing we had some space between the long car rides. Definitely something to look forward to next summer!