So, you have a couple of weeks off coming up, and finally scraped together the cash to take the family on a long-awaited vacation. You’ve narrowed the possible destinations down to two choices: (1) heading to Orlando or L.A. to visit amusement parks; or, (2) journeying to Wyoming, Arizona or California to a national park.
You can probably tell from the title which one is favored here. Actually, at some point in your child’s life, you should probably visit both. I’m pretty sure at least one visit to Disneyland is compulsory under federal law. At the same time, if you have to choose one, please consider choosing the national park.
National parks are the purest embodiment of the Simple Eye spirit–finding a balance between simplicity and beauty. They are (a) simple and (b) beautiful. If one were to write an ingredient list for national parks it would look like this:
Ingredients: Water, sky, trees, rocks, critters.
An ingredient list for amusement parks would be like the one you see the on the back of a bag of Cheetos–full of stuff you don’t find in nature:
Ingredients: Plastic, concrete, rubber, steel, high-fructose Disney sap, artificial trees, artificial rocks, artificial light, artificial noise, artificial people, artificial food, animatronics, tickets, lines, silly costumes.
It’s easy to see which one is better for you. And there’s actual scientific evidence that there are a wide range of health benefits from spending time in the wilderness.
But which one is more fun? Well, think of it this way: Which toy do toddlers usually prefer–the expensive gizmo, or the large cardboard box it came in? National parks are like the cardboard box– they provide a magnificent canvas for our limitless imagination. The miles of hiking trails, the countless vistas and the nightime blanket of stars evoke wonder and contemplation. And the majestic sight of an actual moose far surpasses that of a middle-aged man dressed up as one.
And then think of the cost. This is, after all, a blog about enjoying the good life without being wasteful. So here are the facts:
Disneyland current adult ticket price (as of June 2016): $97.50
Yosemite Park pass: $15 for 7 days!!
I was a very lucky child. My parents took me all over the country, and I visited many grand monuments conjured by the imagination of men–New York, San Francisco, Seattle and, yes, Disneyland. But my fondest childhood memories will always be of the times I spent with them at Yosemite National Park, among the dancing beams of light filtered through the pines. It’s a kingdom of magic beyond the power of human devising.
For David and Maude Dones