Ah, I remember my first visit to Rainforest Cafe. Years ago when I worked near Tysons Corner, Virginia, Rainforest Cafe was located inside a smaller Tysons Corner Center, which is now a pure megalopolis. If you look at the mall’s map, it was half the size that it is today.
I don’t remember what I ate that afternoon with my colleagues, but I do remember the ambiance surrounding my eating experience – just a lot of safari-like noises and mechanical moving animals. For a single working woman, it was loud and distracting. But over ten years later with two little kids in tow, we thought our kids would enjoy a visit to Rainforest Cafe. Too bad Rainforest Cafe is no longer in Virginia (closed in 2006), but you can make a visit to Texas, if you’re ever at the Galleria in Houston.
Let me tell you how much this place is tailored to younger patrons. Once the host/hostess maneuvers you past the souvenir shop, which is the only way in and out of the restaurant, short of running through the back of the kitchen like a chase scene in an episode of NCIS, your child receives a multipage coloring/activity book and paper crown. Piano Man went to work on his activity book with intensity, while Linus preferred to take in the scenery. While waiting for dinner, Linus asked to walk around and see all the moving safari animals.
I can’t remember the names of the dishes we ordered, but it was the usual dishes you’d find at Red Robin, Chili’s, etc. The food was quite heavy and fried, but that’s to be expected at a place like Rainforest Cafe. It’s the restaurant ambience that made it enjoyable for our kids and enjoyable for me because there weren’t tv screens to occupy our children’s attention. (Click here to see Rainforest Cafe’s On-line Sample Menu)
We may come back someday, especially since Rainforest Cafe is located right by the ice rink at the Galleria Mall in Houston. Come back on Monday when I share photos of After Christmas sale shopping at the Galleria. It has truly transformed itself in terms of people and culture from when I was a child.