This and That

400 Feet High

Posted on: August 4, 2011

On Monday I wrote about our awesome family event at The Great Park in Irvine with Razor and BlogCrush. What I forgot to mention in that essay was at The Great Park is a great big orange balloon that takes willing guests on a free ride 400 feet in the air. Being one that is normally afraid of heights hubby assumed I would not be up for this experience. However something was stirring inside of me that night. I kept thinking how amazing the views would be 400 feet in the air. About what a fun family experience it would be. So I walked up to hubby and said “let’s go!” But apparently a lot of other people had the same idea. There was a two and half hour wait and it was already 7pm.

But I was determined and the next day we went back to The Great Park to ride that balloon. We also went back because in the busyness of the Razor event hubby didn’t get to see most of the park. We had to wait about an hour for our balloon ride which was the perfect amount of time to show hubby the park.

First we played at the Kid’s Rock playground which is made for active boys like mine. There are “rocks” to climb, caves with insects, bats, and snakes embedded in them, and “rock” slides. So fun!

Next we rode the old Fashion Island carousel that has been painted with scenes from Orange County. Did I mention it’s free.  Yep free.

We strolled over to the Farm and Food Lab. This educational garden is perfect for teaching little ones about where food comes from. You know, from the ground not the grocery store. They have the food growing in fun themed planters too, like the Pizza and Spaghetti Garden (featured in the pic below). The boys had a blast running around and hubby found the gardens quite interesting.

Lastly, we walked over to the art gallery to view the new aviation exhibition but unfortunately it was not open yet. So we will have to go back to see that another time.

And then it was time. Our pager went off and we ran back to the visitor’s center to get our  balloon tickets. As we walked to the balloon launch pad I started to get nervous. Just a little.  Then it was our turn and I started getting very nervous. I stepped up onto the steel basket and kept saying to myself, “hold it together. You have to hold it together for the boys.”

The basket is a gated, steel donut. I did feel quite safe, but then again we hadn’t started moving yet. The operator told everyone to hold onto a nearby bar as we began rising. And then we began our climb and my stomach started to drop. “Hold it together. Hold it together.” I kept repeating to myself.

Actually I was pretty proud of myself. I wasn’t completely freaking out and the views were getting amazing. Yep up until the next moment I was doing great considering I don’t like heights. Right until the moment the operator said we were at the half way point. Half way! Halfway! We are only halfway? Are you kidding me? We are going higher? Are you people crazy? Oh because we aren’t high enough. The views aren’t good enough here? Because I can’t already see my house. I need to see the exact number of lemons on my lemon tree?

So, I started freaking out a little. Just a little. Ok a lot. Hubby had to take baby man so I could get a death grip on the bars.

I held that death grip all the way up the last 200 feet. Then at last we were at the top. 400 feet high.  And let me tell you the views at 400 feet high were…well they were the same. To be honest I really think the balloon ride should stop at 200 feet. No need for the last 200 feet. Really.

But it was beautiful and worth the sweat and pain that was radiating through my clenched hands.

Meanwhile, hubby and the boys loved the whole trip up and down.  I actually had to tell little man to stop jumping around in excitment because I didn’t think it was appropriate to be jumping in a flying balloon. But to be honest, I told him to stop mainly because he was giving me a heart attack.

So I did it! Despite the pain in my hand and the knot in my stomach I did it  I went 400 feet high in a balloon.  Woohoo!

Thanks Great Park of Irvine for a great family day and getting me one step closer to conquering my fear of heights!


2 Responses to "400 Feet High"

I had no idea the Great Park was so much fun – thanks for the post. We are going there on your recommendation. It is tough doing something that you are nervous/afraid of – yea you. When do you plan to go UP again : )? So glad the boys liked it.

Good Lord. I’m gonna barf just reading about it. You are a stronger woman than I. Or maybe just out of your gourd. Either way, I’m proud of you and even happier that it wasn’t me.

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