At first, I thought Funland was doomed to be "Not So Fun Land."
My twins, 5, are not the bravest pair, and I had never taken them on rides before. I mean, what's in it for me? I personally hate amusement parks. The last time I went to one was in 1997. My friend dragged me there, only to mock me in a subsequent newspaper column he wrote about my panicked questions about the 75-mile-per-hour Steel Force he was making me ride. The man in front of me in line kept teasing me that he thought he spied over-sized bolts lying in the grass under the recently completed roller coaster.
However, Funland isn't exactly Dorney Park. We're talking about pint-sized boardwalk rides: mini motor boats that languidly swirl through murky, green water; a tot train of "big trucks" that zip along at the Mach speed of 2 miles per hour.
"So which one do you want to try first?" I asked, determined. Georgia and Griffin just looked at me and shook their heads.
'This is gonna be a total bust,' my husband and I communicated through eye rolls. We had the bonus pressure of having not only one set of grandparents but also the children's great-aunt and uncle looking on expectantly.
While the six adults peppered the 5-year-olds with exhortations, Jane, 2, clambered into a yellow boat and demanded to be strapped. 'At least Jane is game,' I consoled myself. 'At least we're not a total disgrace.'
Round and round went Jane, her chubby cheeks puckered into a smile as she merrily waved to the crowd. Round and round she went, circling the 1940s-era mermaid perched on the center of the ride -- a statue that looked like a sort of down-on-her-luck Ariel with a crystal meth habit.
I could see the cogs turning in my 5-year-olds' heads: 'That mermaid is pretty creepy. But if my baby sister is riding these damn boats and we refuse, how will we ever regain command of the ship?'
When the yellow boat glided to a stop and Jane demanded "more," Georgia and Griffin decided that they had better suck it up and get on board. The three successfully finished their cruise and moved onto the motorcycles and the "SkyFighters," circa 1955 -- complete with rifles that the twins fired with zest, I might add. By the second day, they had even taken a twirl on the swings that dangle lazily from chains as they glide out and up.
We left Delaware with a trio of seasoned amusement park goers, clutching their fuzzy starfish and porcupine-spiked bouncy balls. I think I even detected a bit of swagger in Griffin's walk down the boards back to the minivan.
I never did get my kids to try the "Booger" flavor ice cream. They loyally stuck to vanilla. But "Not So Fun Land" turned out to be "Fun Land" after all and proved that this family, at least, is not a nation of wimps.