I wanted to remember to talk about this before I completely forget. And I’m pretty sure I’ve already forgotten all the REALLY good stuff, which is unfortunate. This was a while ago. IT WAS BEFORE YOU ALL EXISTED. Well, ok, fine, you EXISTED, but you did not exist to ME. So did you exist? DID YOU REALLY? (Yeah, I guess you did, fine.)
For a few years, when I would go home for a week for vacation in the summer, Dad decided that we should have ADVENTURES. The adventures kind of stopped because we ran out of things to do. There’s not a lot to do up where my parents live.
One year, we went to a place where they bred fish and then they would put the fish into lakes so people could catch them and eat them. This is a thing. People can visit it. Mostly it was large tanks of fish, and a man who looked very confused that anyone would actually CHOOSE to visit this place even though it was open to the public. Fish hatchery! It was totally called a fish hatchery. There were posters of fish on the walls, and the life cycle of the fish (surprise, it goes from a very small fish to a larger fish as it grows up!) and also maps of places in New York you could…shit, well, I guess fish for and eat these fish. It was kind of unsuccessful as an outing. Well, I guess it was successful in that it made me giggle. I do like to giggle.
According to the FAQ, “Hatcheries are informative and fun to visit any time of the year.” Well, I guess. If you like looking at tanks of fish. And a confused employee who was feeding those fish.
(Full disclosure: I am a very good fisherman. Woman. Person. My dad took me fishing when I was old enough to stand and I can fish like a BOSS. I can bait my own hook and I can cast and I can reel things in and I can take them off the hook and I can even CLEAN them. And COOK them. I’m not even squeamish the LITTLEST bit. It will be my secret weapon come the zombie apocalypse. So, yeah, I get why Dad took me to the fish hatchery. But LOOKING at vats of fish is not as much fun as FISHING. Why didn’t we just go FISHING, Dad? Also, The Nephew has started to fish with his dad. Mostly now he gets bored and wades in the river with his little stompy feet and scares off all the fish, but he’ll learn. He’s the best, really.)
Then one year we went to The Wild Center.
The Wild Center is the closet thing we have to a zoo in upstate New York. The thing I was most excited about at The Wild Center was that there would be OTTERS. I found out about the otters about six months before Dad and I were going to go and every time I talked to him I was all DAD DAD DAD WE’RE GONNA GO SEE THE OTTERS. And he was all “grumble grumble I HATE THE WILD CENTER.” Come to find out he hated The Wild Center because The Wild Center was in the paper once and he decided it was some government ploy to make people like animals. Don’t ask. I don’t know, either. But my infectious enthusiasm for THE OTTERS DAD THE OTTERS won him over and that summer we went to The Wild Center.
First, The Wild Center cost $17 a person. Listen, it was kind of an educational center and kind of a zoo. $17 isn’t even TWENTY. It’s not that EXPENSIVE. We got to the counter and the lady was all “That’ll be $34” and if Dad had been drinking anything he’d have spit-took. “THIRTY-FOUR AMERICAN DOLLARS? ARE YOU SERIOUS????” and I was all “Dad Dad Dad DAAAAAAD OTTTERRRRSSSSSS I WOULD PAY A ZILLION DOLLARS DAD! OTTERSSSSSS!” and he paid and I tried to give him a twenty but he was all “YOUR MONEY IS NO GOOD WITH ME PUT THAT AWAY.”
The Wild Center was a lot more “center” than “wild.” I’ll just say that right now. The first thing you see: THE OTTERS. And we got there right as they opened! And it was “learn about the otters and feed them frozen fruit!” time. But, sadly, there were a billion children there, and they crowded all around the otter tank, and I could barely see the otter. Yes, singular otter. There weren’t multiple otters. Just one. But if I stood far away I could see over the little loud annoying children’s heads and see the otter frolicking. Also I learned things, like, the zookeepers couldn’t touch the otters, because they are VICIOUS when they are adults. THEY WILL EAT YOUR FACE. (I made up the face-eating, I don’t know about that.) Dad was SUPER-MAD I couldn’t get closer to the otters because he knew how excited I was about them and kept saying “YOU SHOVE THOSE CHILDREN OUT OF THE WAY YOU SHOVE ‘EM!!!” but I was like, “nah, I’m ok, Dad. I’m ok. See! There’s the otter.” (It was not the best-set-up otter situation. It was a glass tank all shoved in a corner. MAKE IT A WHOLE WALL IT IS OTTERS.
There were many rooms of taxidermied things like moose. There were tanks and tanks of fish. (We sure do like fish upstate, yo.) There was a random big wall of ice that you could touch and say, “hey! icy!” I guess. (I think it was to show you that once, there was ice in New York. Like, during the ice age. I didn’t pay a lot of attention, except I touched it and kept poking Dad with my cold hand and he was all “STOP IT STOP IT YOU ARE FREEZING ME.” Then every time we walked by it he’d give me the stink-eye and be all “don’t you even touch me with your cold ice-age hand, DON’T YOU EVEN!”) There were reptiles and frogs and things. Listen, other than the otters, it was a little blah. BUT! On our way out, we totally stopped by Otterland again, AND NO KIDS WERE THERE. So we looked and looked and LOOKED at the otter again! And he was swimming and frolicking and doing flips and being generally otter-riffic. So that was nice. Dad loved the fish and kept saying things like “that once is a rainbow trout” and “that one is a catfish” because he knows all the fish. I kept saying “LOOK! FISH! That one has CREEPY EYES. That one hates me, look how glarey.” Dad said I was doing it wrong.
If you click here and click on the link to see the otter movie you can see a movie of the otter(s). I’d embed it but I guess it’s THEIR movie. RUDE, Wild Center. I’m trying to get you MORE VISITORS.
Then we went to MY favorite part of a museum, which is the GIFT SHOP (I love overpriced museum-themed crap!) and Dad was all GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP SO PRICEY. I don’t think we bought anything. And honestly, for $17 – eh. Although the otter was pretty kickass. So, do I recommend The Wild Center? Shit, sure. There’s not a lot to do in Amy’s Dad-land. And it’s all very pretty there. But it’s a little pricey, and it’s a tad boring. And there’s not a ton that would entertain the children. But…well, otters.
OK, I have TWO MORE PLACES to talk about. This is a long post. I’m splitting this shit into two posts. This is totally unprecedented here at the Football, right? Right. Anyway, tune in tomorrow! For Amy and her dad visit a place where there are…um…a lot of trains, and then a place where there are STOVES. Don’t even imply we don’t know how to have fun in upstate New York. DON’T YOU EVEN DARE.