Rainforest Café Review
By Chris Thornhill, age 9


I had a big surprise for my birthday. Darby, my boss, friend and publisher of Awareness Magazine, took me to the Rainforest for lunch. Well, not the REAL rainforest, but there were gorillas, giraffes and elephants - Oh my!

We went to South Coast Plaza, pulled into a parking garage, and to my surprise there was Darby with a big smile on her face. We turned the corner and I saw humungus plants and a cheetah, and a long, long line of people. They don't take reservations. But Darby went two hours ahead and waited in line to make sure we got a table at the right time!

A bright green spotted frog sat amongst the greenery right next to a monkey. Butterflies were everywhere. At the entrance were some REAL tropical birds performing just above the realistic alligator that lunged at the children gathered around. Then I saw the snake. It moved! I thought it was real! It was above my head ready to eat me. Then my grandma said, "It's not real. I wouldn't lead you there if it were real!" And there was Tracy the Talking Tree at the entrance of the really cool gift shop.

Inside the restaurant it just got better. We walked through lush gardens in the midst of a thunder storm. We sat right in front of the elephants. My baby sister was not impressed when the elephants raised their trunks and trumpeted their horns. In fact she kinda freaked out. I jumped myself, but then realized it was OK. There were gorillas and other rainforest creatures all around the restaurant, and enormous salt water aquariums with very colorful fish.

Onto the food. I started with a fruit smoothie. Then for appetizers we ordered two large plates of waffle fries and bar-b-que sauce to dip them in. Then came the Mother Earth pasta. By then I had switched to root beer. The birthday dessert was an ice cream sundae which I shared. Darby and my mom got a yummy bread pudding with custard and whipped cream. There were many healthy choices on the menu, but hey - it was my birthday! And by the way, now I'm nine!

Darby, thanks soooo much.

The Rainforest Café is located at South Coast Plaza, between Sears and Nordstroms and is open daily. No reservations are accepted so be prepared to wait, but the wait is worth it! The menu is varied from sandwiches to pizza, pasta to chicken, fish etc., and the desserts are out of this world! Committed to educating the community regarding environmental and wildlife issues the Rainforest Café offers an active educational outreach program which is available free of charge to schools and other groups wishing to learn more about vanishing habitats and the environment. Check out the website at http://www.rainforest-cafe.com.

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