Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bay City - Hairy Hippo Fun Land

On the westside of Bay City, on the shores of the Davis gulf, sits Hairy Hippo Fun Land. This amusement park, built in 2012,  spans two entire sims, Oaks Bluffs and Weston — three if you add in the aquarium on the northwest corner of the park. And so let's start there, at the gates to the aquarium. Enter through the gates, go down a short walk, then venture into the watery tunnel in front of you (pictured below). Through the glass walls of the tunnel you may be able to spot a mermole or two, those curious creatures native to Mainland SL, including the waters surrounding Bay City.

After you exit the tunnel, walk straight up the hill to the aquarium. You'll spy an old steampunk submarine on display and a small, round building. Inside the building are several unusual sea creatures on exhibit, all of which you can feed. There is one other building on the grounds, and in between the two are wooden platforms from which you can look down into various holding ponds. If you prefer, a second glass tunnel at the bottom of the hill lets you observe the aquarium's inhabitants more closely.

Once you're finished exploring the aquarium, go back down the hill to find a path that leads to the Lollercoaster. Click on the sign to call a car, and don't forget to go into mouselook for a realistic ride!

At the main entrance to the amusement park, you will see two of the park's namesake hippos, plus a bright pink sign announcing "The Hippo Food Challenge." Click on the sign, and you'll receive a HUD and instructions to "Explore Hairy Hippo Fun Land, snacking on anything and everything that crosses your path! Enjoy the scariest rides with a full belly! Try not to get sick too often!" Apparently those who survive this challenge win a prize, but I have to confess that I didn't attempt it. I did, however, play some of the many carnival games located around the park, and won a stuffed mole! (See picture below.)

The park contains several fun rides besides the Lollercoaster, including a bouncy castle, a ferris wheel, a merry go round, bumper cars, a parachute jump and a teacup ride. There is a small penny arcade with fortune telling machines and two very cool mutoscopes: "The Box" and "Le Train". Visitors can enjoy 7Seas fishing with custom prizes from any of the piers, or grab a free balloon from the booths that line Rte. 66. Along the shore of the Davis Gulf there are inner tubes you can float in, and maybe you'll even spot Jonah the whale in the water!

So what's with the hippos, anyway? Apparently, hippos are the unofficial mascot of Second Life, and can be found in many places all over the Grid. There is a giant underwater hippo statue in the Mare Secundus, a much smaller statue in the Second Life Historical Museum, and there is even a hippo easter egg in SL browsers (press CTRL, ALT, SHIFT then hit the H key). Apparently, to see a group of hippopotamuses in your dream suggests that you need to escape from the daily grind and relax. (Shouldn't that be "hippopotami"?) So escape your daily grind, bring along a friend or two, and relax at Hairy Hippo Fun Land!

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