Day 9: Hershey Park – Part 2
I’d never been to Zoo America, so was surprised at not just the amount of animals they had in such a small space, but how many buildings and exhibits they had crammed in too. There was a “suggested” walking path, to follow along to see the animals, and so we followed the arrows and started along the path – which had multiple steps in some places, and steep ramps in others.
We saw Birds, Bees (they had a sign pointing out a large beehive on the Hawk’s enclosure), Owls, Snakes, Otters, Elk, Prairie Dogs, Vampire Bats, Mountain Lions and all kinds of small to medium sized animals. I think the biggest they have size wise is a Brown Bear.. so nothing “big” as in Horse, Elephant, or Buffalo sized. Still, it is a fantastic assortment of animals and reptiles, and if you’re at Hershey Park, I really do recommend stopping in for a visit to ZooAmerica.
They also have a “comedy/juggling” group, that entertains the guests while providing information about conservation and the animals (the shtick seems to be that they are safety counselors informing the new group of arrivals about ZooAmerica). Silly, but we watched a little of it, and they did have some skill – tho I’m still not quite sure how juggling while jumping rope (while riding a unicycle) has to do with the plotline of the show. . LOL.
it was during our walking at Zoo America that I really started to have some issues with my Right Leg beyond just the limp – it was starting to “spasm” up close to my thigh, to the point that I noted Jon actually walking behind me watching so if my leg gave out he could catch me before I fell.
I was stopping to sit a lot, but I realized I was also starting to have real issues while bending my knee – as in, I couldn’t really bend my right leg.
I wasn’t about to take another pain pill so soon after the prior one (they are way stronger than over the counter, so I try to be careful with them), so suggested that since we were near it, let’s take a spin on the kissing tower. I could sit, it’s a fairly long cycle, and we could get some great views and pictures of the park.
So we lined up and did that (but not before passing Hershey Kiss out posing for pictures, so of course I stopped).
No one wanted to ride the sports cars right next to Kissing Tower – I wanted Phil to drive us again, LOL. . but it worked out ok, since it would have been an issue getting in and out of them for me I think. besides, I had ridden them on my prior visit with my Spouse.
So we decided to head towards the front of the park, and let’s do a little shopping and check out Chocolate World.
We hit a few stores along the way - and I did spot a couple of shirts I wanted, tho they didn’t have them in the sizes I wanted at this particular store, so I kept looking as we made our way towards the main gate.
the guys decided that they were hungry and wanted to use the 2nd food voucher, as we passed the Pizza place in main entrance area, but I wasn’t hungry. But I did really start to think I needed a cane, or something to help me with balance. So while they ate, I went into several stores looking for anything they sold that might work - either an actual cane, or even an Umbrella. Nope, nothing that would work. They DID have umbrellas, but they were the shorter ones, that wouldn’t be long enough for me to use. . . but I did stumble upon a store selling both Marvel and DC things
(not sure how that worked. . Disney owns Marvel, and the DC stuff is licensed to Six Flags – but there was Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Avengers merch for sale at HersheyPark).
I had no luck, not even after asking in Guest Services. .they weren’t aware of anything that they sell in the park that might be of use
. . so I went back to the table, told the guys no luck, but that I still wanted to go to Chocolate World – we would just have to move slow.
I carefully hobbled my way up the path, and to Chocolate World, although I had to sit on a bench inside the front doors the moment we got inside. Didn’t want to impact their fun worrying about me, so I rested for a bit on the bench and told them to go ahead and roam, I’d catch up.
It was while sitting here that I really thought about/regretted not having gone back to the Hotel for the mid day break.
To be fair, my leg had not been bothering me (much at all) at the time the bus left back to the hotel. .but if I had gone back, it would have started to seize up while I was already back there.
But I also realized that if I had gone back to the Hotel, I would have not come back to the park later that night – meaning I would have missed seeing ZooAmerica, and the other stuff we had done since the bus had gone.
So I sucked it up, and. and after resting for a bit got up and headed into Chocolate World proper.
I didn’t know where in the place the guys had ended up, but after resting, I was determined to go do the Dark Ride. The queue for that is very large, but it wasn’t super crowded, and kept moving (which made it a little difficult). The queue did have some steps. . which were a problem if one can’t really bend one’s leg, but if I went one at a time, and didn’t rush, was able to manage. Luckily, I got placed in a car with one other lady, and we each got our own row – so was able to sit kind of diagonal, without having to bend.
I don’t remember too much of the old ride, but this updated one was quite the hoot, and I smiled like an idiot thruout the whole ride. (and had that song stuck in my head for a while after). For some reason I didn’t take any pictures of it. . not sure why not, I just didn’t. but it was a nice, long, ride, and I learned all about how Hershey makes their chocolate. After getting off the ride, I really didn’t want to go browse the gigantic store. So instead headed back to the bench I had staked out earlier, and remembered I had Phil’s FB IM information, so pinged him to see where they were, if still in Chocolate World. . .the guys came and found me and we headed back into Hershey Park proper, after a quick restroom break – luckily I chose a stall that had handrails! Otherwise I’m not sure I could have stood back up, and would have had to text someone to come rescue me . . heh.
Speaking of toilets -- one funny thing is that Hershey Park pumps “cocoa” smells into their restrooms. It is kind of odd to go in there, and it smells so sweet. I only mention this because *someone* I was hanging around with was so proud of themselves during this day - that they had made a poop so stinky it overwhelmed the cocoa smell. # lifegoals LOL
Anyways. . . we slowly made our way back to the park, and I realized, and told the guys – there is simply no way I’m gonna be able to ride anything more tonight, I need to stay off my feet. They really didn’t want to leave me, but there was still at least a good 2 ½ hours until the ERT, and Hershey Park has a wonderful ring of benches around the main Carousel, so I insisted I’ll be perfectly happy sitting here and watching the carousel and listening to the music.
So they took off into the park to get some re-rides on things, and I enjoyed the atmosphere (people watching, chatting with folks sitting next to me, watching the Carousel spin, and enjoying the music).
I considered getting a ride on the Carousel, but resting seemed to be a better idea. So I sat. I really would have loved to get another ride or two on Fahrenheit, Storm Runner, and Laff Track – but there was just no way that was gonna happen, so I consoled myself with the fact that I had gotten on them at least once this visit, so I could be happy about that.
at points during the time I was on the bench, Characters would come out for picture opportunities. The first was Milk Duds, and his “handler” asked me if I wanted to pose for a picture, and I told her I was resting my leg and really couldn’t get up – so she told him and he came running over to me on the bench to pose for a picture with me.
Then a while later, Kit Kat came out and bee-lined right to where I was sitting to take a picture with me. It was super nice they came over to me, but I’m sure it was the same person in the costume and they just remembered I couldn’t really get up.
I’m not complaining at all. . just explaining. I really did NOT mind sitting watching the Carousel, and it was doing me wonders to be keeping off my leg, and being able to sit with my leg outstretched - not bent - allowed me to rest it.
I was determined that although I wasn’t going to ride, I wanted to be there for ERT cheering on the group. Some of the guys had come back by to check to see how I was doing, and I said hello to several from the TPR group as they walked by, so it’s not like I was there alone, and had tons of folks to interact with. so while not "ideal". . I was OK.
It was a bit after 9 (so under an hour till ERT), and I hadn’t used my 2nd food voucher yet. So although I wasn’t hungry, I went to the pizza place near the front and got some garlic sticks and a slice and forced myself to eat, hit a couple of stores to find/buy the shirts I wanted, and then back to the benches by the Carousel.
Someone had taken my bench, so I moved to one closer, and sat and enjoyed the atmosphere for another 30 minutes or so, before starting to head down to the Hollow Section, which is where we were supposed to meet at a restaurant, so we weren’t forced to leave the park when they officially closed at 10.
It was mostly downhill, so was able to make it without too much issue, but by the time I made it to the tables I realized I had overdone it by doing that much walking non-stop. Things started to feel “wonky” and since I couldn’t really sit at the tables, so I leaned on them and focused on my breathing.. it was noticeable to the point that Robb asked me if I were meditating.
I flat out told him (in private) that I was trying not to pass out from the pain I was having in my leg. I wasn’t going to be able to do the Skyrush ERT, and that as slowly as I was moving? I really needed a head start to get back to the bus (since the group walks fast after ERT, to exit the park). I felt terrible, but Robb said he understood, and told me that Franklin was already out at the bus from when it had returned, and if I wanted to just head that way, he’d be there.
So when park officials gave Robb the OK for Skyrush ERT, I started towards the front gate, moving *very* slowly. . stopping every 20 feet or so to lean on a handrail or to stop at a lightpost.
It was incredibly strange to be walking thru a totally deserted park, hearing occasional ‘whoop!’ s coming from the Skyrush area. . and also occasionally being passed by golf carts with employees that would wave to me, or say hello. (not that I expected anyone to offer me a ride, but it was weird that a limping guy alone, in the park after hours, carrying a shopping bag.. didn’t give them pause to stop and ask me what was up with that?). LOL
it was good that I headed to the bus when I did, as it took me a good 25-30 minutes to get from the Hollow to the front gates – which were closed, but Security kindly let me out when I knocked on the office doors, and explained that the rest of the group was doing an event on Skyrush, but I had left early.
once thru the gates, it was another 10 minutes or so to make it up the entrance plaza ramps to where Franklin was chilling in his chair outside of the bus. He saw me slowly limping along, and asked what I had done. . to which I think I just said I had hurt my leg from riding Skyrush.
(SPOILER: what I had actually done, and hadn’t realized -- was (I think from) the “stapled” restraints followed by the hard restraint on the drop tower I had hit just right on top of the prior brusing? - I had managed a deep-level quadriceps bruise (which turned out to be level 2 quads injury (of possible 3 levels)). . so . I was moving, tho not great, or very fast for that matter, but I really should have been staying off it completely). I just didn't realize i had caused that much of an injury, and besides, I was on vaction. . . so kept going.
Franklin opened up the bus for me, and I hobbled up the bus, found a seat, and promptly conked out. Until the group showed up about 20 minutes later. We headed back to the hotel, I took a hot shower, focusing the hot water on my leg, and then popped another Prescription Ibuprofen, and went to bed – hoping I’d be in better shape in the morning. (and I actually was. . at least better than I had been at the end of the day the night before).
Tomorrow? Up and out at 9am, and then the drive to Cedar Point for 3 days!