A few weeks ago the news broke that Dieppe’s Crystal Palace would soon be no more. I guess I unknowingly assumed that Crystal Palace would always be with us. I along with many felt a sense of shock and loss at the thought of losing the small by fun amusement park. Crystal Palace has been such a part of my life. I remember;
Family trips when I was a child/teen
Trips away with my young group as a teen
Trips away with friends as a young adult
Taking a youth group of my own as I started as a pastor
Finally coming full circle and taking my young children
2012 was our first trip as a growing young family. Simeon was three, Ariella was one, and we had a blast. For me it was to be the first of many trips
At three and one Simeon and Ariella were young to get full benefit of all the attractions. Early in the year when we thought about what our family of five (Simeon five, Ariella three, and Asher one) might do on vacation it seemed like it might be best to wait another year before we trucked up to New Brunswick. But as it turns out next year wasn’t an option.
It was now or never. We choose now.
As I walked into Crystal Palace the familiar clacking of the roller coaster and the lights flashing on the swings exploded into my mind like some sort of nostalgia bomb. I was easily more excited then the kids. I could barely wait for us to don our bracelets and get started. We jumped right in.
One of the things we found out this trip that we must not have noticed last time was that children Asher’s age/size can go on a number of rides if accompanied by an adult. So instead of being stuck on the side lines Asher got a taste of things too. And I have to say he enjoyed the rides quite a lot.
I won’t lie. I wasn’t just there for the kids. I really wanted to have one last hurrah myself. Crystal Palace introduced me to lazer tag and I desperately wanted to play it there once more. We hit a small snag though, Simeon was two inches too short. I am not one that normally ignores height restrictions, but I couldn’t fathom a reason why laser tag needed such rules. So I carefully instructed Simeon to stand up as straight as he could and to walk confidently into the lazer tag zone while I stood in between him and the measuring device.
We got in.
The other ride Simeon wasn’t tall enough for was the swings. That one there really was a safety concern so I didn’t try the same trick. Meghan did however give me the nod to go ahead, and the ride operator was even kind enough to snap a picture.
I should say that the staff all day were wonderful. We chatted with a lot of the workers in the park, and at Mcginnis Landing (the restaurant attached to Crystal Palace). Everyone was pleasant, friendly and kind. But there was a touch of sadness with a lot of staff. Many had worked there for years. The manager at Mcginnis Landing had been there for fifteen years. They felt the loss more acutely than I did.
As the day went on we lingered. Originally we planned to wrap up our trip at 7pm. But I wasn’t ready to go. We played a round of mini-golf, took a few ‘one more’ rides, and enjoyed a few more token games. Finally as we neared 8:30 the kids put on their pjs and we all really did go on our one last ride. Meghan, Asher and Ariella took a ride on the submarine that made Asher giggle while Simeon and I took a spin on the rollercoaster.
We walked out of the building and drove into the setting sun. The day was pretty much all I had hoped for, but I am sad that there will not be another. It was a great family day trip. It was a fitting goodbye to the place that held so many of my memories.
For us Crystal Palace now is just a memory, we won’t be back before they close their doors for the last time. But there is still a little time. Perhaps you’d like to go on ‘one last ride’.