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For Matthew's birthday, we went down to Williamburg, Virginia for an overnight adventure to Busch Gardens Williamsburg - The Old Country and to visit the Yorktown Battlefield.

We had a blast! We got to Busch Gardens just as it was opening and there was already a big crowd in line for the parking lot. Fortunately, the park is large and layed out well to accommodate MANY guests. After warming up (literally - there was lots of fire in the ride) on Escape from Pompeii, our first extreme ride was on Apollo's Chariot, which may very well be the best roller coaster ride that I've ever ridden! It does not have any loops or barrel rolls but it has one killer drop of over 200 feet near the beginning of the ride that leaves you breathless.

Melissa had already told us that she was going to try a ride that does a loop, so we started to make our way over to one that I remember when I came to the park about 20 years ago. Along the way, we rode The Big Bad Wolf in the front car - it was just as I remembered it - like flying your own jet.

After that, we wander further around the park to Melissa's moment of truth - her first ride on a roller coaster that goes upside down - the Loch Ness Monster. Thankfully, the line wasn't too long (so she didn't have much time to chicken out) and we were on our way. Mari and Matthew rode in the back of the front car while Melissa and I rode somewhere back in the middle. I could tell that she was a little anxious but we were locked into the seat and rolling along on her way to destiny. As we rolled into, through, and out of the first loop (there are two intertwined loops), her eyes were as big as saucers. However, as soon as we came out of the loop, she had a huge grin on her facing and had a very enthusiastic laugh - she exclaimed that she LOVED it! We just HAD to buy the photo of her and I on the ride (in a keychain) so that she could show her new friends in high school that she rode an extreme ride.

After breaking the barrier of Melissa's aversion to extreme rides, there was no holding her back then. We doubled back around the park for a chance to enjoy another ride as thrilling as Apollo's Chariot. By now, the park was decidely more crowded and the lines were longer (though not as long as they could have been). Melissa was a little nervous but anxious to ride (in the front seats no less) the Alpengiest - the world's tallest and most twisted inverted roller coaster. It was an incredible and exhilarating experience!

For the rest of the day, we rode a few more rides, rode each of the big rides at least one more time, saw the Irish Thunder show (a knock-off of River Dance) and didn't leave the park until after it closed at 10:00PM.

On Sunday, we took a brief tour around Yorktown Battlefield, but the kids were still recovering from a full day at Busch Gardens the day before that we'll have to go back for a chance to visit Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Jamestown thoroughly. All in all, another wonderful family getaway!