It has been said that life is a journey, not a destination. I love to travel, to experience new places, to see the world from a different perspective. I travel quite a bit because of this. This summer alone, I went on an art tour of France and Italy, hiked canyons and snorkeled in Kauai, Hawaii, and languished on the beach in North Carolina. But one trip in particular stands out to me as a special adventure. The funny thing is, it was only a day trip that occurred on a spontaneous whim.
It was the day before Labor Day and my friends and I were reveling in our three-day weekend. We had Monday to do our homework, so Sunday could be enjoyed just as much as Saturday in our minds. We wanted to milk this extra day for all the excitement it deserved, instead of spending it hanging out in the usual places. It was quickly established that a road trip would be the perfect use of the day.
Where we would go was a much more difficult question to answer. But we found the perfect place after spending a few minutes flipping through a dog-eared, dated Ohio travel guide. Our destination became the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, Ohio.
We were giddy with the idea that someone would make a museum for the sole purpose of preserving an old amusement park ride. So even though it was a three-hour drive to Sandusky and we would arrive with only an hour to spend in the museum before it closed at five-o-clock, we were dedicated to paying tribute to such a quaint place. So three friends and I hopped into a car and our adventure began. The ride there was exhilarating as we shared our excitement, for spontaneity was the heart of our trip. The fun did not wear off when we arrived at the little one-room exhibit museum. After paying our five-dollar entrance fee, we toured the small, picturesque museum that is surviving off proceeds from a penny drive and the entrance fee from the few visitors it attracts. My friends and I felt like little kids again, running around the museum learning about carousel history, imitating the wooden animals, and most of all riding the indoor merry-go-round. After the museum, we just wandered around Sandusky and chatted a while by the lake. That day was so short, so simple, and yet so much fun.
Arguably, the Merry-Go-Round Museum is one of the best museums I’ve been to even comparable to my experience at the Louvre or The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This charming, old-fashioned museum really does what a museum ought to do; it preserves a culture. My trip to that little museum captured the excitement and pleasure that a day-trip to a 1950’s miniature amusement park would be like. That day held the simple pleasure of spontaneously deciding to go on an adventure and following through with some good friends. This trip really let me enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.
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