make memories for Japanese tourists, the Ocean Voyaging Tour was only half our day at Kualoa Ranch. We booked a half day package that included two tours and a buffet lunch because really, I'll book anything that includes a buffet lunch. Seriously, if you've got a waterboarding experience, and it includes a free buffet lunch, I'm in. Fortunately the choices were much more appealing at Kualoa, and we decided to spend the second hour of our visit on the Movie Sites & Ranch Tour.
This seemed like a simple, winning concept to me. Plenty of movies and TV shows have been filmed at Kualoa Ranch, and it was bound to be a ton of fun driving around and seeing locations where some of our favorite movies were filmed. I envisioned myself reliving scenes with my children, but it quickly became apparent that I'd forgotten something. My kids haven't seen these movies.
I realize that admitting it might cost me my membership card to the "Parents of the 80's" club, but my kids have never watched Jurassic Park. When our tour stopped at a tree stump that was used in the movie for the actors to hide behind while a giant T-Rex fought with other dinosaurs, the significance was completely lost on my children. I tried to explain to them how it worked, and that they should imagine an enormous dinosaur stomping around in the valley, but all I got was blank stares. Finally I just told them to go hide behind the tree so I could take a picture and we could move on, although believe me, it didn't get better from there.
I tried my best to explain each of the movie locations that we stopped at to my kids, but really, if you don't know who Godzilla is, that footprint is just a giant hole in the ground. And how do you explain something like Magnum P.I.? I could give them the premise of the show maybe, but there's no way I could explain the really bad Hawaiian shirts or the even worse moustache. It fell this way throughout the tour; George of the Jungle, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates...I tried to explain each one to my kids, but each time they just tuned me out.
Yet despite my mounting despair, it became apparent that my kids were having a good time. They weren't disinterested in the tour, they were just disinterested in me talking (a feeling I'm all to familiar with). While I was spending all my time and effort stressing the "movie" part of the tour, my kids were enjoying the "ranch" side. Kualoa is, after all, a working cattle ranch, and there are plenty of animals roaming freely amidst some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth. Some of the high trails we drove on led to amazing ocean views, although you would have missed them if you were frantically looking to the left trying to find the bunker from Pearl Harbor. The denser forestation was home to some unique animals that can't be found anywhere else, but I probably didn't notice them while I was trying to envision Brendan Fraiser swinging from the trees. The tour itself doesn't dictate how you should enjoy what it has to show you, it just shows you.
There's a lesson to be learned here. My kids will tell you that it's about letting them experience things in their own way. That they might not have enjoyed the Movie Sites & Ranch tour as much as they did if I'd kept yammering on about T-Rex here and Godzilla there. That I need to give them some more freedom and trust them to take from experiences what they will. These are all great lessons, and hopefully I've learned some of them, but I think the real lesson of the day would only be obvious to the wiser, more experienced minds...My kids need to watch Magnum P.I. I'm on my way to iTunes to download all eight seasons right now.