Some more scenes. Three men in a tub, in a little pond by a mock mill. The mill was for 'The Merry Miller', a nursery rhyme I don't know anything about. We got pictures taken from inside Moby Dick's mouth and wondered why not Monstro. Looked into Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater's shell. Into the crooked house. The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe's shoe. A mysterious bit of doggerel:
Little Tommy Tittlemouse
Lived in a little house
He caught fishes
In other men's ditches
He had a fishing pole and hooked 'fish', above a water canal that was almost empty. We never heard anything like this bit before.
There's a miniature railroad that goes around the park, and we took a loop on that. It offered some good views of the far side of rides and features and also a good view of Hey-Diddle-Diddle and that barn. Then into the Gingerbread House for a snack. It's a gorgeous building, by our lights, since it looks like it hasn't been changed since the 80s and that tickled us. The room had a bunch of news clippings. What compelled our interest was the front page from the 1st of July, 2012, exactly five years before our visit. The articles were about the derechos that had swept through South Jersey the day before, and that had destroyed many trees and damaged rides at the park. As we were marrying, this gorgeous little park was being torn up by intense winds and severe rain. We felt that weird sense of knowing exactly where we were and exactly what we were doing while this event we had no idea happened went on.
More features. Mary's little lamb, and the schoolhouse. They had an actual lamb, in a sandy pen. While we watched the lamb picked up a plastic dish (a feed dish?) and walked along the perimeter, rattling the dish against the bars, just like in a prison movie.
We walked to the far back of the park, with some trepidation about the promise there were ``animals'' there. We got stopped along the way. They had this fun ``Pirate Blasta'' feature. Water cannons shooting at pirate-ship-themed stuff. For a change of pace we actually played it, and had a great time shooting stuff so it knocked over. We had never seen this before. We would see it again at a park later in the day, and then again several more times over the summer.
Anyway, past this Bader-Meinhoff game, we got to the Billy Goats Gruff. This had two elevated little houses, connected by a rope bridge, and a couple of Nubian goats prowling around. You can feed them, too: drop your pellets into a bucket and wheel the bucket, by a pulley, up to the goat's houses. Or just put the pellets in, since the goats have figured out how to pull the bucket up themselves. We were delighted by the goats' good understanding of just what the pulleys were and how to work them. Also by what a charming, personable face the goat we spent the most time near had.
We went onward, worried that we'd find in other pens that there animals a park like this couldn't possibly keep reasonably well. No reason for concern, though. In the other pens they had some more turkeys and some deer, animals that they ought to be able to handle and in pens that looked about the size and kind of terrain that I'd see at the Popcorn Park Zoo. It was a palpable relief that we didn't have to worry about, like, their having a polar bear or something crazy like that. (I did worry that they might have, in the past, kept something like a tiger. But if they had then they must have completely ripped out the old enclosure. Or they kept it dangerously vulnerable.)
A statue that only makes sense in South Jersey or Eastern Pennsylvania: Phillis and Phil, statues of Phillies fans that used to be outside Veterans Stadium, back before that place was torn down. They're now standing, or sitting, beside some seats saved from the park, and holding a Phillies 2008 World Champs penant.
The park has one other tour-around-the-park ride, the Candy Cane Express. It's a long motorized car ride and I thought that'd be good for maybe seeing the park from an angle you can't get to on foot. Not so much, it turns out; the Express didn't go on any paths that we couldn't have walked on. But it made for a good review of the park's terrain and probably it'd be a good way for someone to get acquainted with the place if they didn't have time to walk it themselves. On the other hand, it's not like it's so big a place that walking it would take unreasonably long.
We went for another ride at the carousel, and then I noticed something curious at a picnic pavilion. I thought it might be a vending machine, but it looked weird. It was weirder than that. It was a little automated puppet show, the kind we might see at Marvin's Marvellous Mechanical Museum. It ... had something to do with a witch and Santa Claus and elves and ... I don't know, but the whole thing was put inside a cartoon-styled castle. One more bit of curious charm for the park.
And so we went to our last look around, getting pictures of the backup electrical generator building which I know sounds like a dull thing. But understand, they had a statue of Benjamin Franklin out in front of it. And we admired the Mother Goose statue, and a swarm of kids coming up to take their photos there and then to flee, and we watched sparrows duck into the ``folds'' of the Mother Goose statue's dress.
Somewhere after this, the time passed 5:00, and the park was officially closed. We left, slowly as we could, after the first wonderful park of our day.
Trivia: In 1956 the United States Merchant Marine had 3,083 deepwater vessels of 1,000 or more Gross Register Tonnage capacity. By 2005 there were 412, about a quarter of which were used for Jones Act-protected trades. (There were another thirty or so technically US-flagged as part of the Maritime Security Program.) Source: Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World, Brian J Cudahy.
Currently Reading: Binary Fusion and the Millennium Bug, Beth Bridgman. Oh yeah, gimme those hermaphroditic Christ-clones rewriting all humanity's DNA so the worldwide network of Oprah Winfrey fans can make her show tapings appear, live and unedited, on every station ever. That's what I was reading this for!
PS: It wouldn't be an amusement park without a little something for porsupah!
More skeptical animals: two of the rabbits have had enough company, thanks, and would like their distance and to let their heads melt into their dewlaps.
The third rabbit has had so much of even that she wants a layer of rabbits between her and the space between those rabbits and any people.
Rabbit very worried that someone will ask what she's doing in the chicken enclosure.
PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Zeta Function, attempting the greatest of all challenges: to say something about the Riemann-Zeta Function, core of the Riemann Hypothesis, that hasn't been said already on every mathematics blog ever.