#23: Photo Safari

The Challenge: Take a picture of the most childlike spot in town.

shoe_sled.jpgI immediately thought of this shoe slide that is a part of the playground near Madison’s Vilas Zoo. I would’ve loved this as a child! It reminds me of something similar that I experienced when I was little. The McDonald’s that was in my hometown had a big Ronald McDonald car in the seating area, which actually had two built-in booths. I always hoped to sit in “the car” when we went there. I can only assume that kids would love to go to this park because of the “Old Lady’s Shoe.”

Just for fun I looked up the actual nursery rhyme to see how it goes and found the original version to be not unlike most original nursery rhymes: surprisingly harsh, which is probably why I found tons of “adapted” versions that were much more “PC.”

Old version:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly
And put them to bed.

PC version:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do
She gave them so broth along with some bread
Then hugged them all soundly and sent them to bed

ellas_banana.jpg I would say that Ella’s Deli is the most childlike spot in Madison, Wisconsin. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to photograph. This place is an old-time delicatessen and ice cream parlor that features a classic carousel in the summertime. The inside is an overwhelming feast for the senses. The entire ceiling is populated by animatronic characters: a Superman that flys back and forth, keeping watch on diners below… tropical fish that spin round and round…a genie that skims through the air on a magic carpet. There must be a hundred of them — definitely over fifty — and I’d bet that Ella’s is the electric company’s favorite customer.

ellas_table.jpgWe took our nieces there last weekend for ice cream and I was waiting for the youngest’s head to explode due to sensory overload. (Speaking of ice cream, they also have a $38 sundae called the Sparkled Kazoo that boast 32 scoops of ice cream and sparklers for decorations.) I particularly enjoy the tables, many of which have detailed shadow box type displays — some with movable parts — which add a taste of nostalgia to the menu. Within the tables pictured here are old soda bottles and candy. Ella’s website sums it up, saying, “The effect is one of entertainment for children and for adults who will remember many of the things from their childhood.”

And that’s why I think it’s the most childlike spot in town: it offers up a serving of childhood to the young and old alike.

Dark Room Confessionals:
Bonus Video: Kim | Jason


vote.gifSo, who was most creative with today’s challenge? Who went beyond the comfort zone and put the biggest hammer on Adultitis? Who did a better job of capturing the spirit of childhood, Kim or Jason? Cast Your Vote!

Tomorrow’s Challenge: Audio Sneak Peek

11 thoughts on “#23: Photo Safari

  1. Jason took my first choice – you can’t go wrong with Ella’s Deli. Yesterday, I was at a place that was a close second. Next Generation is a salon designed exclusively for children ages 0 to 14 years (that was the description on their website). I took my daughter for her first haircut and what a childlike place! She sat in a taxi cab (the other choices were a fire truck, duck and turtle), looked at stuff hanging from the ceiling, and watched a sock monkey on TV. Fun stuff.

  2. There are TWO childlike spots in my town….one is the treehouse in the backyard of the house across the street from my parents’….it was built by the father of the family that lived there when I was growing up (about 20 years ago) and it is still there! Just looking at it brings back memories of my childhood and all the B!G adventures that come with a treehouse!

    There is a park in the subdivision where my parents live called, “Cinderella Park”…..there is an array of usual “playground” equipment – but the best part is a wooden replica of Cinderella’s coach is in the middle of the park – and it’s all for climbing around in and letting your imagination run free….

  3. I grew up in a little town in Illinois called La Salle. We had this one store in our neighborhood called Frank’s Cigar Store. All the kids in the neighborhood would flock there regularly and spend every penny they had and I was one of them. The place smelled like cigars (no surprise) and Frank was a heavy set gentleman that never left his stool unless we interupted him when we wanted to buy penny candy. I would stand in front of the glass case and get red hot dollars, smarties, jaw breakers, pixie sticks, milk duds, bazooka bubble gum, wax lips, wax bottles filled with juice just to name a few. He had a full rack of comic books including Archie, Superman, the Fantastic Four etc. He had soda jerks (and some of them were jerks) that made fountain coke, green river, and hand dipped ice cream cones. He also had the forbidden zone where the big boys hung out. Once in a while if you really had to go to the bathroom really really bad you could plea your case and they would let you go to the john past the secret area and sneek a peek of the forbidden zone and report back to your buddies what you “saw”. Frank didn’t have a last name, at least we didn’t know it. The place is still there but not the same. Frank’s was a childhood dream. Almost forgot he also had the caps for our cap guns. I think they were in little red and silver boxes. Four rolls to the box!

  4. I had a lot of ideas floating through my head after hearing what today’s challenge would be, I’m excited that so many places came to me in regards to where I live. For some reason though, today I couldn’t stop thinking about something not quite the usual place people get to be – the minds of Jason and Kim. Being fortunate enough to work with them and interact with them as friends for nearly eight years, I can honestly say that when you get the two of them together, there’s hardly anywhere that’s more childlike!

  5. I went to a really cool park called Dream park. It was very cool because it’s all about encouraging kids, imagination, dreams, believing & the design of the wooden structure almost looks like a fort. I thought it was a perfect place, but unfortunately, I got lost on my way there, so I only had time to take 3 quick pictures, get in my car & be late for work. 🙁

  6. We chose to take a picture of Toys R Us. We couldn’t think of a single place that causes so much excitement from youngsters and Doug. In fact Doug has told me on several occasions that Toys R Us was the one location he had hoped his parents would forget him at. Unfortunately, toy stores seems to be a dying breed these days and that’s too bad.

  7. Pingback: The Rodeo » Blog Archive » Happy Snaps (T.G.E. - Part 23 of 40)

  8. No strings attached, I think the shoe-in is the purple shoe. It speaks to my creative sole. It sparks the imagination without sensory overload…not that a little SO isn’t good for a creative jump start, mind you. It’s just that the old woman’s shoe let’s my imagination focus. I want to climb inside the shoe and find a hidey-hole, I want to slip down that silver slide, I want to see just how many children I can squeeze into that house.

    Besides, it reminds me of a visit to the Wisconsin Dells (from Southern IL) when I was a child. I don’t know if this even exists any longer, but there used to be a nursery rhyme trail with various settings like…the politically incorrect – Peter pumpkin eater with is wife in a pumpkin shell. I thought I was in doggie heaven. That purple shoe would have been perfect!

    And, yes, I use some of the old nursery rhymes in my storytelling today…especially when my sassy gorilla, Samantha, accompanies me. Nursery Rhymes are so much fun…and good for language development as well.


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