In honour of my mom's visit (and because I'm obviously a sucker for punishment), we recently made a pilgrimage to the Rainforest Cafe. If you've never heard of the RC, picture one of those tacky themed diners -- part Disney, part Celine Dion's Nickels circa '90s -- but set in a pseudo rainforest. There are a slew of 'rainforests' in the US of A, but to my knowledge, only two located in Canada. Must be a climate thing.
I know what you're thinking...
But no, it actually wasn't half as bad as it sounds. Reviews slate the Cafe for overpriced food and underwhelmed service. And I can confirm that it WAS on the expensive side, particularly the kids meal: $7.99 for a plate of frozen dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. The staff were friendly and attentive enough, though it was far from crowded on a Tuesday lunchtime. But then, you don't go to the Rainbow Cafe for cordon bleu cuisine. You go for spectacle.
And what a spectacle it was
Every half hour the rainforest came alive. Thunder rumbled through the lush canopy. Lightning flickered, and the mechanical elephants and gorillas got a little rambunctious. All the while LGO munched his chicken nuggets, and happily beheld the many sights to behold. Incredibly, not once was he afraid (though I would imagine the decibel level might upset some tots). Not even by the lifelike clamping jaws of the life-sized crocodile at the entrance.
A must-have toddler experience
Watching his rapt expression as we wandered through the foliage, pausing to admire a zebra or tree frog or the (real) tropical fish, was more than worth the inflated prices on the menu. So if you're looking for a memorable day out with your little monkey, you could do worse than the rainforest. Not that this Little Green Mom feels the need to revisit it any time soon.