Paradise and Parenting: The Fair

I sat here in front of an empty Word document for about twenty minutes, trying to get my brain to make those vital connections between my thoughts and my typing fingers. I know it’s because I’m really tired. I’m tired in spite of the great sleep I had last night, in spite of the fact that I fell asleep on a Saturday night at 10pm and didn’t wake up until 7:45 am. Those are some good sleeping statistics.

And yet, I’m still feeling exhausted and brain-cloudy. I’m pretty certain I can blame it on the hours spent at the fair last night. In case you missed the giant Ferris wheel across the street from La Isla mall, there’s a fair in Puerto Vallarta going on this month and it’s a great deal. We paid 150 pesos for a bracelet which gets you on all the rides (besides the Virtual Reality booth) for the whole evening. Here are a few things you need to know:

  • If you go on a Saturday night and arrive after 7pm, you are going to be waiting in lines that look Disneyland-esque. Just don’t. You are entitled to that smug feeling you’ll get if you go at 5pm and are almost ready to leave by 7:30, because you’ll get to ride the roller coaster six times without waiting once.
  • If you DO arrive after 7pm, you’ll probably want to cough up the extra 100 pesos for the VIP fast pass. I know it’s not Disneyland so you think it’s silly, but just trust me.
  • You need to try the elotes with cheese and BOTH cream and mayo, and don’t let them skimp on the lime.
  • You also need to try the hotcakes with mermelada and La Lechera
  • Oh and get one with Nutella too
  • If you have ANY trouble with motion sickness you need to bring a friend to do the rides with your kids. I was actually very nauseated just watching them on the rides, so I was happy that both kids had a buddy to do that roller coaster six times.

So yes, we had a great time at the fair last night, but I have heard a few people say that they feel uncomfortable taking their children to a crowded place where it is difficult to keep an eye on them at all times. Certainly you should use your own discretion and follow your own instincts. We live in a world where not everyone is good unfortunately. So if you have your doubts, Vallarta is full of fun and interesting activities besides the yearly fair. If you want to go but would like to know how to keep your kids as safe as possible, I can tell you what I did to make sure of it.

First of all, we went early to avoid crowds and confusion (and, like I said before, long lines). So, while we didn’t lose sight of the children in a crowd, we did have to walk really really fast to keep up with these excited, leggy teens.

We had enough adults to follow along groups of kids wanting to do different activities. Some kids like the games (which cost extra by the way) because they “win” things like plaster of paris piggy banks (for which I actually paid about 80 pesos), while others prefer rides that will swing them around whiplash-style.

We didn’t stay much past sundown because my son has low vision and his night vision isn’t great. I asked him to wear his neon colored hoodie and that, along with his above average height, helped me keep him in sight.

Our kids are well-versed in what to do in case of someone trying to take them somewhere, and we have talks about what to do in a variety of circumstances. This is key, although parent supervision is also key.

Enjoy the fair if you decide to go, and for my last tip I recommend a large backpack with a waist strap for the huge bottles of water, the sweaters for when the sun goes down, and the pricey Mario piggy bank that does not come with a handle.