What does a family do with hundreds of other people the day before Easter?
Visit the Jelly Belly factory.
We had two showings today and really wanted to do something fun with the kids other than just walking the streets of Evanston. Last night we had a fantastic time at the Mitchell Museum (thanks for the idea Angie), where Harper served as tour guide, and Zane received inspiration for his new bedroom in Beaver. He's going all out American Indian style. The kid wants a tee pee, mural, fake fire, and a pretend bow and arrow. George is all over it.
So, today, we did another Zane fav. Jelly beans.
We arrived in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin at 11:00. The line for the factory tour (via train) wasn't too long at this point, but rather than risking further crowds, we jumped in line rather than visiting the store first.
2 hours later . . .
2 hours later . . . I call the 1-800 number from inside the waiting area to ask about the tour, number of trains, the wait time, etc. (as it was too cramped to reach the front desk to ask in person why it was taking so jelly freakin' belly long), only to find out that today they only had 1 train available. 1 TRAIN. The day before Easter. 1 TRAIN. What was this place thinking? The day before Easter when they publicize the Easter bunny, sales, raffles, and the tour, they pull out all the stops with 1 TRAIN?
After about and hour and a half of waiting and slowly moving forward, we see a sign advertising a factory walking tour. The entrance being around the corner, with no line.
Now, I realize that this would not have been nearly as fun for the kids, and we would have had a mutiny had we even suggested blowing of the train for foot, however, where was the staff to tell us about this tour? Where was the staff to share that due to being down a few trains, the wait would be seriously crazy, and that perhaps some folks would prefer to take the walking tour?
We passed the time by talking with others, praying for our showings, and taking pictures with a Jelly Belly costumed figure, a car, and, of course the Easter Bunny.
And wouldn't you know that just as we're getting close to the entrance and they are beginning to take what we thought would be our group, they CLOSE THE GATE AT OUR FAMILY.
And then, Jesus had had enough.
One of the staff comes over to us and says, "We have 4 more seats for this train."
I knew that tubal ligation was a brilliant idea.
However, despite the fact that we stood, and stood, and stood in line for 2 hours, with no food, and a few bathroom breaks, what was the response of Harper and Zane once we sat on that train?
"THIS IS SOOO AWESOME!"
The two hour wait was forgotten the very moment we were handed our paper Jelly Belly hats (which we had to wear since we were in a factory).
Forgotten. Never even spoken of again. Not brought up. Not mentioned. Not alluded to. Nada. They were handsomely rewarded with A&W Root Beer Jelly Belly's. I was rewarded with buy two, get one free, Belly Flops.
I have to give huge props to our kids. They whined maybe three times in a span of 2 hours. We were surrounded by Super Nanny candidates - all yelling, "So and so, don't do that or there won't be any tour for you. I mean it. One more time and we're going home!" Ah, the sweet sounds of the empty threat. So pointless.
Kids, Mom and Dad, but mainly Mom, can learn a great deal from you. YOU made today fun, and even though I didn't get a chance to try the "vomit", "ear wax", "boogers", or "moldy cheese" Jelly Belly's at the sample counter, which would have been great entertainment, we did indeed have fun. Your egg hunt will be well stocked tomorrow. The Belly Flops may look all elephant manish, but they taste awesome - and now, having been on the factory tour, we know why!
On the drive home we went through our old stomping grounds in Highwood and showed Harper where we lived prior to Evanston (Zane was out cold in a sugar coma). She was genuinely interested in both our homes on High Street and later Sard Place. I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that I've lived here for almost 18 years.
Drive: 88 miles (roundtrip)
Wait time for 20 minute tour: 2 hours
Belly Flops, Root Beer Jelly Belly's, and a surprise key chain for my key chain collecting daughter: $28
Time with family: Priceless
And oh yeah, you just know that I left a comment card . . .