austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed

The Story Book Forest is a trail of scenes from fairy tales, and you enter it by walking into a giant book and being greeted by a tiny house with Mother Goose present. She was sitting in a rocking chair, with a goose puppet she was working, and welcomed us and encouraged us to be kids again, and told us to look for the giant as many people overlook him. And then we saw who she'd been talking to just before we entered: there was a chipmunk darting into and out of the tiny house, to a little pile of food offered by a Mother Goose performer clearly unafraid of typecasting. That the chipmunk would get to within inches of Mother Goose and not us indicates this has been going on for a while.

They hadn't made any major changes in the fairy tales on display from last year, as far as I could tell, although there was some evidence of fresh paint and other minor repairs on various features. This was most noticeable in the display of a princess captured by a quite large dragon: last year there'd been a knight on the other side of a small river to presumably rescue fair damsel. This year there wasn't anybody there. Score one for the dragon?

There's a small stand early in the park that looks for all the world like it had been a refreshments stand. It has a couple windows that look like they should be serving windows, and the upper level has pictures of a baker and the rhyme ``There was a jolly miller/ who lived on the river Dee/ He worked and sang from morn' til night/ No lark so blyth as he'', in case someone ever heard that one. It was a good spot to sit a while.

In further bits of nature breaking out at the park I spotted a frog sitting on a water pipe, near a statue to childhood and the Huck Finn display.

There's a cute little ship, the Good Ship Lollipop, attended by a guy who was dressed in Kind Of Sailor Garb or maybe an old Long John Silver's outfit. He seemed a little bored to us, although he brightened up when actual kids were coming through. When nobody was nearby he leaned against a tree and took out his phone. Aboard the ship in the tiny cabin was a bucket of lollipops, although I didn't feel courageous enough to take one.

The Little Engine That Could gets a place too, featuring a train big enough for kids to crawl over and a slightly creepy face sitting on the front of the engine. There's also a comic foreground-type train conductor, ready for someone to put his head on the empty shoulders, although when there's nobody doing so it inspires the thought ``The Headless Brakeman!'' (Headless Conductor is more accurate but spoils the parallel, I think.)

And for another bit of nature breaking through: outside the Goldilocks house --- which has clothes hanging outside that imply the Little Bear wears Batman pajamas, by the way --- we saw a young rabbit. Another group saw him first, actually, but we stayed longer, watching the tiny bunny poking around the edge between forest and lawn, and eventually venturing out from under cover enough to even stretch out on his belly just the way our pet rabbit does.

Hickety Pickety (``My Fat Hen/ She Lays Eggs/ For Gentlemen'') was there again and better situated for pictures to our tastes than last year. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves still have their house that seems to really be tempting Disney to notice them. I noticed that there were seven hard hats sitting inside the house even though just outside two of the dwarves were pushing a cart out of the tunnel, suggesting they're still not taking worker safety very seriously here.

The four rabbits for Peter Rabbit were there too, sitting in their cage, two of them with ears flopped over one another's heads. I got to wondering just how the rabbits are accessed; I couldn't see what side would obviously be the door and they must do something with the rabbits to clean the pen or for winter or whatnot, right?

One of the later exhibits of Humpty Dumpty, shown intact and sitting on the wall, which caused us to wonder why Humpty Dumpty is presented invariably as an egg when there isn't a word about that in the rhyme. I think we wondered about that last year too, and never looked it up then either. (According to Wikipedia, it's not clear why. Possibly the rhyme started out as part of the longrunning English tradition of Annoying Riddles in which a couple sentences vaugely describe a thing and then you're supposed to guess what it is, and also are were supposed to guess that you were supposed to guess what it is.)

We poked around the gift shop a little, but it didn't have things to appeal to our age range. We went back to the main part of the park.

Trivia: Johann Lincke, a German apothecary of the late 17th and early 18th century, appears to be the first person to have sold phosphorous as a medical treatment. The formula for his pills --- phosphorous immersed in silver nitrate or gold chloride --- was rediscovered by a French pharmacists, Alphonse Leroy, in 1798, who realized that a single pill could be fatal, and Leroy refused to reveal how to manufacture them. Source: The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus, John Emsley.

Currently Reading: Giant Brains or Machines That Think, Edmund C Berkeley.

Tags: amusement parks, idlewild, west pennsylvania parks tour
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