An Early Fall Day At Silver Dollar City 2015
It was to be a bluebird day, cool in the morning and warming to a beautiful mid 70's day by afternoon. Not too hot, not too cool: just right!
The drive was comfortable, minimal traffic to contend with and our arrival was exactly right at just before the park opened. We parked, walked up and walked right in with no crowds, no mess. Perfect!
Right off we noticed a difference due to the arrival of a large amount of new exhibits, set up a week early for the upcoming Fall Festival no doubt. All sorts of wonderful people showing their wares consisting of anywhere from paintings to crafts to bobwire items for one to peruse and ooh over. We did our duty and found items we would like to have but steeled ourselves against frivolous purchases and wandered away to our next stop. What is it you ask? Well, we HAVE to go here each and every visit and our youngest just loves...
Grandpa's Mansion! Yes, we have to wander through the mansion and experience the weird and wonderful items on display; sit in the strange swing that makes one feel as though you are defying gravity and of course we have to lie down on the bed that is nearly impossible to get up from. He has such fun in here, often spending much longer than it should take to make our way out. But, he loves it so it's okay!
From there, we have no plan. No hurrying to get onto a ride because we decided early on this was to be a pleasant day with no fighting any lines to ride. We amble our way around the park, poking our noses into this and that shop, just following our whims.
We find ourselves at the Silver Dollar Express Train and are surprised there is no line at all. We check when the next train leaves and settle in to wait a few moments. While waiting, we talk. Yes, I know that this is an outdated form of communication but it can be fun. We talk about anything and everything and nothing all at once, just enjoying one another's company.
Finally the train arrives and we board in the front because our youngest wants to. Settling in, I notice we can actually see the stove box for the steam engine, door partly open and fire breathing in and out, heat shimmering in the darkness of the engineer's area. He slaps it shut and toots the whistle and away we go!
Now, if you've never been to SDC and never ridden the train, you are in for a surprise. You see, a train robbery takes place on each and every train that comes through the holler. The same two brothers attempt to rob the train and the passengers get to experience their hilarity. The same old jokes told in my youth still make me laugh today and watching my wife and son laugh along just makes the day even better.
We made it back safe and sound to the station and when we exited my wife surprised me by suggesting we make our way to the cave.
The cave? Really? All three of us?
She smiled nervously and nodded her head. She had decided today was the day to venture forth into the unexplored passageways of Marvel Cave!!!
So we wandered back to the front of the park and again, found no line. We settled in for a short wait then made our way to the start of the cave. Over 700 steps are traveled in this cave, mostly down, down, down. The total hike is over a half mile through a cavern large enough to hold the Statue of Liberty and passageways small enough to pass through one at a time hunkered over in a squat. Some were so narrow I had to turn sideways but with my girth that didn't net me any too much room!
Along the Gulf of Doom to the Lost River to the magnificent formations this is a beautiful cave. A few times she was mildly nervous but struggled on, ever forward until we made our way back to the surface and daylight once more.
By now it was lunch time so we meandered over to the old time exposition area to eat. Chicken strips, french fries and a chili dog later, we were sated and ready to explore once more.
But where to next? Should we visit more shops (our son said NOOOOOO to that one)? Should we take on a rollercoaster? Not after that lunch! So, where?
Back to the square and more nooks and crannies filled with items to look at, enjoy, possibly purchase. But in the end we only window shopped before deciding to do something we hadn't done in years.
Visit a saloon!
That's right, we bellied up to the bar at the Silver Dollar Saloon! Dancing girls and all, we set in for the show. Of course, we somehow ended up right next to the stage (not by my doing!). We sat down and immediately the show began. Jokes flew left and right, girls danced on the stage and the bar, and one even came to our table! But not for me, rather for my son. She smiled at him, he hid his head in his arms on the table and she casually pulled her feather boa across his arm, tickling him as it went.
He didn't like that. Really, he didn't. Mom and I laughed but not him. Then, one of the bartenders got into the act and came up behind my wife, playing with her hair as he sang and finally pulling up a strand and acting as though something were in it before moving on. Everyone enjoyed that.
Then, it was my turn. The other bartender came up to me, removed my hat and began using my head for a musical instrument. You know, one of those rap/hip hop things where they push and pull an LP record to make scratching sounds? Yeah well that was me.
Everyone was having a good old time when...
Carrie Nation arrived! Yes Carrie Nation burst into the saloon and shut it down! Oh my there was such a carrying on while she and her aide-de-camp broke bottles, knocked down cabinets and even broke the mirror behind the bar! Yes she did ! And then, do you know what she had the audacity to do? Well, do you!?
She made the picture of the scantily clad temptress in the picture above the bar cover up! Oh, it was a dark day in Silver Dollar City!
Well, that just about took us to the end of the day here at SDC. We poked around here and there a bit more but finally made our way to the exit, nosing about a bit in the shops as we left the premises.
But we had one more exciting moment occur as we left. We saw a celebrity. Actually, a whole passel of them.
We saw the family from 19 Kids and Counting, the Duggar family.
Truth be told, we had seen them several times during the day. At one point we saw the dad with some of the children; later my wife ran into the mother as she exited one of the restroom facilities. Then later as we sat and enjoyed a funnel cake (oh, I fell in love with these things!) near the square. We saw the entire family together as we left the park, while they waited for their transportation.
Several times as we came into contact with them, I asked my wife (who has enjoyed their show for some time) why not just say hello. But she deferred, instead saying to me...
"If I were them, I would just like to enjoy the day without everyone asking for a picture, an autograph and such. I would just like to be normal for a day."
I love this woman! She always, ALWAYS thinks of others before herself.
Now I have never watched the show although I am aware of it. And of the heartbreaking controversy currently dogging them. As we noticed on this day there was no paparazzi, no cameras following them, no one to disturb them but park patrons. And while a few did disturb them with requests, by and large they were allowed (as far we we could determine) to just be a family, enjoying the day at the park. I wish them well, said a prayer for them and their struggles, and smiled at my wife.
Well, that about wraps up our fine fall day at Silver Dollar City. Glad y'all could join us as we wandered about the park and generally just enjoyed our day. Our next visit will be during the Christmas spectacular. Neither of us has ever been to the park during this time and are really looking forward to seeing the park transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Stay tuned for our next (and final) report on Silver Dollar City 2015!!