Monday's Mommy Moment: First Visit to the Rainforest Cafe


The Rainforest Cafe is a rare treat.  There are only a handful in the country, but we happen to have one only 45 minutes away from us in the Westfarms Mall.  If you're not staring at their incredibly large fishtank filled with some of the most beautiful, exotic fish in the world, then you're staring at the larger than life, mechanical butterflies that open and close their wings or the wild, mechanical gorillas beating their chests, or the large elephant swatting his trunk.

The ceiling is a starry sky, which becomes cloudy every 30 minutes when a "thunderstorm" sweeps the rainforest.  Then, the lights dim, thunder rumbles in the background, and the gorillas go wild (just like real ones probably do when looking for shelter.)  

Yes, the Rainforest Cafe is a fantasy land where you can eat a delicious mango salsa burger or yummy chocolate lava volcano cake in the midst of all these mechanical jungle animals and pretend thunderstorms.

My mom forewarned me about taking Lil' Lewie there too early.  "You don't want to scare him," she said.

"No, of course not," I replied.

I heeded her warning during the first year, but now that he was two, I thought he might actually enjoy the restaurant.  After all, there's a lot of cool things to look at and watch, and I've seen numerous toddlers come with their parents.  In fact, some toddlers actually hold their birthday parties there.

With that said, we took the 45 minute trip, and brought Lil' Lewie to the restaurant.  He seemed to like the fishtank as we waited in line to be seated, but he didn't like the first seat we were given too much.  It was next to the gigantic elephant, which even without moving, seemed to intimidate him.  We were finally given a seat at the front of the restaurant near the bar.  It wasn't a great seat, but the restaurant was better lit there and far enough away from all the mechanical animals that could potentially scare him.

Pretend fruit hanging above our heads.
We seemed to be doing fine until our first thunderstorm hit.  Out of nowhere, the lights dimmed and the monkeys started freaking out.  Of course, they weren't the only ones.  My little guy started freaking out too as he started screaming for us to take him out of his seat while pointing to the restaurant exit. 

"We haven't even started eating our meals yet," my husband pouted.

"I know," I answered faintly.  "I guess my mom was right."

Somehow we did manage to get him to stay in his highchair throughout our meal (and three thunderstorms later), but we were highly disappointed that this wasn't a trip that he enjoyed.  I only hope that his fear wasn't so strong that this will be a frightful memory that stays with him for life... If he's twenty and still deathly afraid of monkeys and thunderstorms, then we'll know why.


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  2. Aw, poor Lewie :( You made me burst out laughing thinking of him in college, scared to death of monkeys and thunder!

  3. poor guy! my 4 year old son HATES rainforest...won't even walk in the door :( my youngest son LOVES it, but guess we'll never go!!


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