What are the chances of bumping into amusement park rides at a parking lot? Such was the case when I was driving around with my sister and nephew during the Heritage Day long weekend. To be honest, I was not interested. I just wanted to go to a Wimpy.

However after visiting three nearby Wimpy's and finding that they were closing early and/or didn't have a play area for children under two-years; I gave up on the Wimpy craving and returned to the carnival at Atterbury Value Mart in Pretoria East, to my sister's excitement. She really wanted to go as soon as we saw the "Big Wheel" and amusement rides as we drove past them. 

People watching

We bought food from a nearby drive-thru and parked in front of the amusement rides while feeding the baby. It was actually as amusing, if not more, than entering the enclosed "amusement park" section. There was a ride called "Hi Roller" (see image below) that was positioned right at the entrance. It was interesting to note people excitedly enter the ride and come out crying. Yes, crying! 

We probably noted a handful of people literally crying as they left. We were so shocked because we love going to Gold Reef City and other amusement parks, but don't recall seeing people crying from a ride. Just as we thought that was odd, we heard another lady say "she cried" during the ride. She was talking to her family as they walked past our vehicle. Had my sister and I not had full stomachs and a toddler in our midst, we would have definitely tried out this ride that left many with teary eyes. It looked very captivating.

While watching, we saw various acts of kindness and concern. The electric car operator was very considerate, even stopping the ride mid-way for a small child to get out and a mother to get in. There were two children who did not know how to operate the cars. It was one of those things you see and catch yourself smiling.

There was also a child who kept standing up while at the top of the "Big Wheel". It was not clear if she was trying to stand up to take a selfie or to look down. It was nerve wrecking to watch, even at a distance.  

Fast kiddie rides

When we did eventually enter the "amusement park" area, we went straight to the kiddie section. Our first ride was a "choo-choo-train". We were so excited about it. My sister went on the train with my nephew. I thought it was ridiculously fast, even for adults! We remarked on the speed in shock. I asked another operator if it was not too fast and he noted it in amusement. 

Parents and guardians clung on to children on the ride. It just seemed totally age-inappropriate for a kiddie ride. We have been on several other kiddie trains and they were very relaxed and enjoyable. That being said, the staff was friendly and had it not sped past, it would have been the best part of the amusement park. 

The other ride that I went on with my nephew was the "Small Carousel". It is extremely cramped up and small. We got very dizzy. We clung on to the children and spun and spun until we begged the operator to please stop because we were extremely dizzy. There was another woman with a child (who had also been on the train) and she also asked the operator to please stop.

All in all, the vibe was great and we enjoyed ourselves. The older children really enjoyed the rides. I went on the swing and it was really nice. The candyfloss added to the carnival vibe. If you have older children, they will probably enjoy it. I am not sure if it is suitable for small children and/or babies. Remember to apply sunscreen (available from Amazon) when going out in the sun and to drink enough water. Also wear something comfortable, my nephew wore cargo pants (available from Amazon) that allowed him to run around, but whatever is comfy for you and your child will also work. 

The amusement rides will be there from 15 September until 2 October 2018. If you have been to this amusement park, please leave a comment below to share your experience. 

Phindiwe Nkosi at the Amusement Rides at Atterbury Value Mart. Photo by S N-BPhindiwe Nkosi at the Amusement Rides at Atterbury Value Mart. Photo by S N-B

The Hi Roller Amusement Ride at Atterbury Value Mart. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi.The Hi Roller Amusement Ride at Atterbury Value Mart. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi.



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