As promised, my little family hit up Coney Island this weekend for some sun, fun, and bruising brought on by the Cyclone, one of America’s oldest and ricketiest wooden roller coasters. Here’s what we spent and an analysis of whether each purchase was justified:
+ NYAquarium tickets
COST: $24 for two adults. Babygirl got in free.
WORTH IT?: Mostly. Did you know there are penguins in South Africa? Warm weather “jackass” penguins! They are small and adorable; in the water, swimming, they resemble ducks.
The aquarium is pretty small. A good chunk is still under construction, post-Sandy. Babygirl enjoyed trying to catch the tiny, iridescent fish in the tanks and was less enthusiastic about the sea lion show: she shrieked in terror at the sight of their sleek, monstrous bodies emerging from the water to clap their fins. Overall, it was a fun family outing, though I wouldn’t rush to do it again.
+ One Cyclone ride
WORTH IT: Ben emerged battered and hoarse with a huge grin on his face. Unequivocal yes, says he.
+ Watching other people ride other rides
WORTH IT: Absolutely.
Look at that lone wolf commanding the flying saucer! He must feel like Han Solo.
+ Wonder Wheel
COST: About $20 for three of us. Babygirl’s ticket was full price — the Wonder Wheel cares nothing for petty details like age or ability to eat with a knife — but Josh Michtom, with whom we met up at that point, took charge in his lawyerly way and finagled us together some kind of group discount.
WORTH IT: You bet.
Babygirl clung to me like a barnacle the first time our carriage swooped into the air, and whimpered as though asking why I was determined to scare her to death twice in one day. Gradually, as she got used to the motion, she slackened her grip and was able to point out everything she could see from our vantage point: the choo-choo train! the water! When we got off, I asked her if she had fun, and like her father emerging from the Cyclone, she answered, assuredly, yes.
+ Lunch: two lobster rolls from Paul’s Daughter on the boardwalk
WORTH IT: We were nervous at the outset but surprisingly, yes.
I mean, the other food options were deep fried beyond recognition and/or grossly overpriced. $4 for a small triangle of the saddest pizza in New York? No thanks. At least these fellas were fresh and not clotted with mayo. Plus, you have to spring for a lobster roll once a summer, right?
FAMILY OUTING TOTAL COST: $83, plus subway rides
WORTH IT: Yes.