I remember going to Luna Park in Sydney. I must have been 13. In my memory it was cool. All bright colours, rollercoasters, crazy mirrors and the possibility of stomach-dropping sensations. I think you have to take children to places like Luna Park. It helps you see past the garish slap of paint and the rickety-looking scenic railroad to the infinite wonders of life. Luna Park is a metaphor for life. That's taking it a bit far, you say? But it is tantalising. The feeling of optimism as you walk through a fairly disturbing looking man's mouth into a veritable (well, veritable is probably pushing it) wonderland...anything could happen. Fun will surely be had. How can it not? There are flying elephants and ghost trains and fairy floss servings that are larger than a child's head.
I went with my nephew and niece. A five year old and a three year old are slightly limited by their height. There are some rides they need to grow into. But the five year old can go on the ghost train. Half an hour in the queue, the anticipation building, ghoulish moans escaping to the outside world..two minute ride. Totally worth it. And the three year old can go on Binky Bill, or some equally alliterative and cutesie name, which is a train that moves at walking pace on a tour of the park and on which an auntie is also required. What does make it all worth while is the three year old's utter delight at the carousel. If I could bottle her giggle as she stood in the line, waiting to get on the black horse, I'd have a winning cure for the grey days. Beautiful.
St. Kilda was the first of the five Australian Luna Parks to open back in 1912. That places like Luna Park still exist in this day and age with all the technology and state of the art amusement parks and computer stimulation, is testament to our desire for the carnival side of life. A sly side-step into another era, another dimension even.