Saturday mornings, the Rocket Scientist lets me sleep in and takes Doodle grocery shopping. This Saturday, they got an especially early start and were home by 10, which meant we still had a whole day to do whatever we wanted. We never know what we want to do, so we turned to the internets in search of a family outing. And came across the Hellfire Caves. Ooooh. The website made it look terribly exciting, there was even an underground river (which they had named Styx of course). The caves had been around for who knows how long, but made into a kind of headquarters and meeting place for this Hellfire Club back in the 1700’s. It sounded like a bit of adventure.
I love the whole idea of caves. But I’m a bit claustrophobic. It shows up at the weirdest times. I took up swimming for exercise back in Chicago for a while, had serious issues having my face underwater. I once had to leave a class in University because I was in the corner farthest away from the door (in a fairly small classroom) and someone got up and closed it partway through the class because people were talking just outside. Instant panic attack. Yet I have no trouble with elevators. Unless they’re crammed full of people and I’m in the back corner. I love having my pushchair now because it greatly reduces the number of people who can fit in an elevator with me.
Where were we? Right. Caves. I would totally love to go spelunking if the entire concept didn’t terrify the life out of me. So I was quite excited at the idea of some ‘safe’ caves that involved no crawling and getting stuck and possibly eaten by something that we could explore as a family.
I thought Doodle especially would find the caves a great adventure. In fact, the Rocket Scientist and I thought we would teach him a new word on the car ride. Adventure. Which apparently sounds like ‘Out F#&%ing’ when a 2-year-old is trying to say it for the first time. We of course, as good parents, laughed every time he said it patiently taught him how to say it correctly.
The entrance was cool. A little café to the right, and then you just walk straight into the hillside:
Unfortunately that’s where the cool ended (except for the fact that it was freezing in there). It was a bit cheesy and a bit dingy and there wasn’t really anything to do except walk in and walk out. There were a few wax scenes that seemed a little worse for wear.
But it was a cheap day out as a family and something we don’t do every day. What I was most disappointed in was that Doodle was not excited about it all. The deeper we went, the more anxious he got. There were very few lights so he often couldn’t see where he was putting his feet, only the path farther down. By the time we got halfway through, he was in Daddy’s arms.
We hoped he’d get excited about looking at the underground river until we realized the stalactites and stalagmites were actually fake. On our way out there was even a sign telling us they hoped we’d enjoyed learning about the caves and the Hellfire Club and their ‘simulated’ stalactites and stalagmites. Ugh.
It wasn’t until we got to the large cave in the middle on our way out that Doodle found something he could really enjoy. Girls. There were a group of girls dancing around the cave and he got right in on the action.
He was even so bold as to go hang out beside them when they stopped to chat. I know it’s a fuzzy picture, but I just had to show. I seriously don’t know how I created such an extroverted little man. Must be his father’s doing.
After that he had a much better time, even playing peekaboo around corners with us.
I’m just glad these things didn’t drop down from the ceiling at any point.
I’d be dealing with the nightmares until he was 20.
All in all, it was a fun family day out.
Which ZuZu completely slept through.