We had a brief opportunity where the stars aligned and the moon was in the 7th hour and Jupiter aligned with Mars* to go on a 30 hour vacation with our boys. What I mean is this: Lexi had someone to care for her during a 30 hour stretch that would allow the 4 of us to hop to a hotel and then hop back home. Emily and I figured we would go to Michigan’s Little Bavaria — Frankenmuth — and stay a night at the Bavarian Inn, leaving our family fun in the hands of the fine people of this quaint German village. So we did. And we were not disappointed.
The best part of Frankenmuth is that, like Grandma’s house, it never really changes, and I like it that way. Jones and I have been here enough times to “get it”. Chicken. Giant Pretzels. Sauerkraut everywhere. Frankenmuth is a known commodity, a reliable routine that doesn’t leave much to chance. It has everything a family needs — good lodging, stuff to do, sauerkraut, pools, and sauerkraut pools.** When it comes to tight schedules and traveling with our young boys, we don’t have the luxury of finding out if a place really is nicer than a Motel 6. Plus, the Bavarian Inn gave us Motel 6 pricing, so there’s no complaint there***.
We thought that the boys would love the new water slides at Bavarian Inn, what with the twists and splashes and screaming and nightmares. As it turns out, the big hit was actually the arcade next to the water slides. This is no normal arcade, though. It’s more like a kid casino, with the patterned carpet, blinking lights, loud ringing, enticement to win prizes, more prizes, and copius sauerkraut. We went down the water slide a few times and then dried off in the arcade/kid casino.
The way it works, see, is ya put your cash moneys into a token machine and strike your first jackpot — your kid just won 4 tokens! What good are those tokens? They are no good, at least not outside the kid casino. Inside the kid casino, though, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to play a machine and win. Win. WIN.
What do you win at kid casino? You win tickets. Unlike the ticket you got on the quick drive up****, this ticket can be redeemed for valuable prizes. Get 10 tickets and score a parachute ninja. 100 tickets and snag an orange 5-ball keychain. 100,000 tickets will get you a Playstation 4. This is a new, exciting, and confusing economy that will drive children and their parents to just get a few more tickets. Just a few more, and I can get that awesome rub-on tattoo. If I get the bonus, that’s 200 tickets. 200 tickets gets me a zombie pen! And ahhhhgh. A MILLION tickets buys me the mini-golf course over by the gift shop. A Billion tickets, by the way, makes you a corporate shareholder.
Kid casino. Harmless fun.
We come home with everything but the Playstation 4. It’s amazing how much fun those parachute ninjas are. I bet Parachute Ninja™ is a game on the Playstation™. This is the analog version, and it stands the test of time well.
blog footnotes that clarify that yes, I really am kidding:
*The dawning of the Age of Aquarius already happened, and not much came of it except for New Coke. I don’t actually believe in astrology, though one cannot deny the power that the moon has over the tides. I believe this to be by Creative design.
** The pools contain mostly water and a chemical stabilizer. If any sauerkraut is in the pools, the filter basket usually catches it without a trace.
***Okay, so it cost a little more than Motel 6. More like a Motel 7. At a Motel 7, the light is left on for you and they give you more than one towel.
****I did not get a ticket on the drive up.