May 30th, Day 2
We woke up early today (by vacation standards) at about 8:30 and made egg sandwiches for breakfast. Then we headed to Water Country USA, which is the water park associated with Busch Gardens. We activated our Bounce passes, which allow us to get into Water Country USA, Busch Gardens, and Colonial Williamsburg for 7 consecutive days. Then we headed in to see if the water park was as pretty as the surrounding area of Williamsburg.
It was a great park. Not only were the rides great and the lines fairly short and fast moving, but the nature that surrounds the park is also inside the park. Basically, anywhere that they didn't have to clear for a ride or a path was still full of trees. And when I say they cleared trees for the rides, I just mean those that the slides would have gone directly through. There were still plenty of trees growing up through the gaps not filled by the slides. These trees were huge, too. They were the wonderful kind we always see lining the highways in this part of the country: very tall (I'd guess 50-75 ft but I don't have a good reference point) and very dense so they form a very thick... wall? Well, on the sides of the highways it's a wall, but in the park they're in... bunches? Anyway, definitely the best park I've seen as far as integration with nature. We went on the water rides, as well as the slightly-faster-than-a-lazy-river river until about 1:30 and then ate lunch.
Next, we headed to Busch Gardens. Wow. I know I said that the water park was nice, but Busch Gardens was amazing. I read that they've been voted most beautiful theme park for 21 years in a row, and I can say that they deserve the title. Not only was it pristinely clean, but the scenery was incredible. It's like they built it right in the middle of the forest, right over a river or two, and they left everything. The roller coasters just go through the little gaps between trees. This isn't a joke, we were on a coaster and we saw a deer on the ground running around near the ride supports. And then we went down a slope and did a flip. I've seen deer and done flips before, but never so close together. Anyway we saw a couple of cool shows (I'll let Sharayah talk about those) and went on few more coasters. Even without the scenic bonus they get because when you get to the top of the chains and you're about to drop, all you can see is treetops (and 1 or 2 other peaks of coasters), these rides were great. They seemed so much smoother than what I'm used to, and were really fun and exciting without being too nauseating. I'm not saying the inverted hanging coaster didn't make me dizzy, I'm just saying it somehow flipped me around at bizarre angles and high speeds without making me feel sick at all.
Anyway I'm sure we'll talk about the park again, but it was a great time. After that we headed back to the plantation for some dinner - pasta - and headed to the tennis courts. I've played tennis about 6 times, maybe, and Sharayah had never played, so we don't know what we're doing, but it was pretty fun and succeeded in the task of getting us tired enough to feel like we definitely had an incredible first full day of vacation.