Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 8 - Connecticut to Atlantic City

This is the last day of the vacation and we have closed it out in style. After our Griswold moment yesterday with Dinosaur State Park closing as we arrived, we decided to try again getting there minutes before the park was to open. We were the first ones in the parking lot just like the Griswolds at Walley World. I had to quote from National Lampoon’s Vacation “First ones here. First ones here. First ones here!” There was no dinosaur today to tell us that the park was closed. The park was open and it was more like a museum with various nature trails. We could now understand why it closed before sundown. All of the dinosaur tracks were inside an exhibit center. Construction crews found the tracks while they were preparing to build an office building in 1968. Once the tracks were found, construction stopped and the Connecticut government quickly got the wheels in motion to turn this into a state park. An exhibit center was built over top of the tracks to preserve them so we could enjoy them today. The kids had a blast there. B loved watching this 2 minute movie showing the dinosaur timeline in Connecticut. She didn’t care about the timeline. She was fascinated by this one cartoon dinosaur that walked during the movie. She watched it repeatedly. Z’s favorite part was looking at the tracks and pressing 3 buttons that would light up the tracks made by 3 different dinosaurs. It was well worth making the second trip there to see how happy the kids were. They really enjoyed playing with their toy dinosaurs on the trip down to Atlantic City. It was a 5 hour trip (4 of which seemed to take place driving through New York City). Traffic was so bad on I-95 that we bailed onto I-278 where we could see all 5 NYC boroughs and cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

We arrived at our hotel in Atlantic City, the Tropicana, around 4 PM. It’s a fun hotel with shopping, dining, and a casino all inside. We went to The Palm (also in our hotel) for dinner to celebrate our last night of vacation. It’s always a little bit scary taking the kids to a fancy restaurant because we never know when they will erupt. But the kids handled it well. They did much better than the table behind us where a lady felt it necessary to speak loudly while taking 2 different phone calls.

After dinner, we put the kids to bed and H went down to the casino with H’s mom. They came back an hour later and H smiled as she counted out her winnings to me. I was very impressed. She won $63.55 which was much better than my $8 haul in Montreal. I said that there was no need for me to go down now but H said that we should go down while H’s mom watched the kids. We went down and H pointed out the Wheel of Fortune game where she won. We put another $30 into the game and won nothing. We then walked around the casino just to see all of the games available. I saw one other Wheel of Fortune game and decided to try my luck one more time. I set a $10 limit and lost it all. It was disappointing to blow most of H’s winnings but she took it well. All in all, we won about $3.

And now onto the final installment of what did we learn today.

1. The average age of people staying and playing at the Tropicana is about 67 years old.

2. Apparently I look some someone who frequents the Tropicana. I’ve had 2 different people at 2 different times ask me where the bus to pick up the old people tour groups are.

3. The Starbucks inside the Tropicana sold venti frappucinos for $6.05. That is an outrage.

4. Sounds travels through the walls of the hotel rooms in the Tropicana like at the apartment complex where Peter lived in the movie "Office Space." These ladies were so loud in the rooms all around us. I heard their voices at 2 AM. Of course, turnabout is fair play as our kids were quite loud and active early the next morning.

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