Last week we went to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Marcus eagerly begged to use the camera and I agreed, since I figured it would be a good opportunity to see our day through his eyes.
I love Busch Gardens for many reasons, but my favorite reason is because of the ticket option for Floridians. Florida residents can pay the price for a one-day ticket, and with that price comes the ability to use it endlessly for the entire year (with some restrictions of course)!
As a family of 7, we are seemingly always living on a budget. The last time the kids went to Busch Gardens is when they were toddlers and could get into the park for free. Last year 2 of the 5 kids were tall enough to ride 75% of the rides, and 2 weren’t. Being just shy of the desired height requirement, we promised them that as soon as they reached 48 inches (with shoes, spiked-up hair, or whatever other ways possible), we’d take them. The year continued on with random moments of measuring each other. Since both of the boys were the same exact height, the competition was fierce at times! You can probably imagine their excitement when months later they discovered one was finally tall enough without shoes, and one was tall enough with shoes! So the following month we fulfilled our promise to them.
We have taken them several times since that celebratory day, but didn’t bring more then our cell phone cameras. However, this most recent day-trip to Tampa I thankfully decided to bring the good camera along. It was a Friday (therefore dad was working), so it just ended up being me (mom), and the 4 oldest kids. The weather was beautiful and I figured with public schools still in session, it was the perfect time for our homeschoolers to enjoy a hopefully empty theme park. And what a perfect day it turned out to be! The only line we waited in was the food line!
But enough back story and on to Marcus’s story! I LOVED the moment he asked me for the camera. I love seeing them explore, learn, and unknowingly self-educate. Taking photographs led to unexpected conversations, curiosity, eagerly asking questions, and an exciting attention to detail that normally a kid at Busch Gardens would surly miss.
We started out walking through the flower gardens. He was sure to snap a photo of every creature he saw.
“Mom! That kangaroo has a baby in his stomach! What are they called again? Take my picture with the kangaroo!”
“Look at the beautiful flowers!” (Definitely not something he’d normally pay attention to)
The bird garden. He didn’t even want to go in, but his older brother loves birds. As you can see he kept himself occupied capturing memories.
As expected, the camera was forgotten once we arrived at the rides. Towards the end of the day he picked it back up and transformed himself into the paparazzi, annoyingly stalking his younger brother.
I think maybe he was hungry…
And I’m guessing these are the souvenirs he wanted…
This was an interesting moment. I was ordering a coffee and remember him rambling on behind me about a bird in the store. I think this is proof he was right!
“Jase, take my picture”
Of course, mom had to finish off the day with a photo of all 4. 🙂
If you feel comfortable handing over your camera to your child, I highly recommend it. Nothing tells a better story then seeing the world through your child’s eyes. I plan on letting the other kids have a chance to capture memories, and can’t wait to share their story. Great day, great family, great life!