My SIL and BIL both had to work last Saturday, so I got to hang out with my nieces for the day. We decided to go to the Z-O-O (I have to type it that way, because we had to spell it out...just saying it wasn't enough according to my 4 7/8 year old niece, Sweetie, who's working on her reading skills right now). I'd heard that the zoo in our town was great, but I hadn't had a chance to visit it yet, so my nieces wanted to give me the grand tour.
I wasn't exactly speedy on Saturday morning, and even though I made the girls blueberry muffins for breakfast, they still kept asking me when we were leaving. Who knew that it would take HOURS to get all 3 of us ready and out the door? But, we finally loaded up the car and pulled out of the garage right before 11:00am...and then we drove 2 doors down to pick up the stroller my neighbor so graciously loaned us. I seriously DO NOT know what we would have done without it at the Z-O-O.
Now, there's been some hype about a new exhibit opening at our zoo...it's penguins! And my SIL guaranteed us that it was already open, so Sweetie said she would get the map and direct me there first. So off we went, but we couldn't find it on the map. Sweetie (remember she's not quite 5 yet) asked some very nice girls in the souvenir shop where the penguins were, but the news wasn’t good. They aren’t going to make an appearance until the end of May.
Sweetie told me that we needed to find a bench so she could figure out where we needed to go next (she hung on to that map all day long!). We headed over to the petting zoo, where I had to coax Sweetie into the gate. Honey (the 2 year old) just marched right in and up to the fence so she could see better.
We saw some very pretty peacocks, but I had to explain to my darling nieces that Auntie DOES NOT like peacocks. We had about 12 that lived behind us in CA, and they are the loudest, most annoying birds you’ve ever heard. They don’t squawk or chirp or sing, they SCREAM!! But, we took a picture anyway.
Next on our list (or map) to see were turtles. We saw some giant tortoises, but they were kinda boring so we focused on the smaller turtles that were eating salad. Everything was fine and good until some wacko lady next to me said, “look at the snake in the tree!” This was the response of the girls when they heard this…the snake was right above our heads, but he was just curled up napping.
We came upon the jungle next where we saw bats (yikes!) and all kinds of birds, and a ton of plants and it was VERY humid. We spent quite a bit of time in the jungle searching for the Scarlet Macaws (Go Diego Go!)...we looked high and low...we braved the bats and the bugs...but we could not find those Scarlet Macaws. Finally the humidity got to us and we had to get out of there. Well, it wasn't until we got home that we found out that the 2 Scarlet Macaws from our Zoo had been STOLEN, the day before! It was a scandal! Where's Diego...he needs to go find them! Here's what we would have seen if some wacko hadn't stolen them.
We ended up at the giraffes next, where this one was resting his chin on the wall. We figured his neck gets tired pretty quickly since it’s so long.
We were starting to feel like the giraffe, so we went searching for food and the gorillas. Once we got close to the gorillas, I got so excited that I made the girls wait for lunch so we could go watch the apes. Our zoo is so cool – as you walk toward the exhibits, the trail is landscaped like the natural habitat of the animal you’re going to see. We passed cranes and some cattle looking thing (I can’t remember what it was), and the biggest frog we’d ever seen, and then we went into the gorilla house. Sweetie was kinda scared, but I dragged her in anyway because, dang it, I wanted to see apes. They must have just had lunch, because they were all lying around in the shade sleeping. We waited around for a while, and finally a couple of them got up. The first one that stood up had been lying by the glass where a young family next to us was standing. The ape stood up, put his butt toward the window and bent over to touch his toes…what?? Yes, his ape butt was pressed up against the glass, and he just stood there…for a long time! I was laughing too hard to take a photo, but I promise you, this is true! Then he and a buddy wandered over and sat down under a deck in their yard. The girls were begging to leave by this point, so I gave in and we went to get lunch.
You’d think that the Z-O-O would have staffed up for this, the first Saturday of the year with no rain, temps over 80, and not a cloud in the sky…but, oh no, we waited in line for 20 minutes to buy a shriveled up hot dog and a cold pretzel that we all shared for lunch. The break was good for us, though, and we finished our food and took off again…to the Lions!
There are statues of some of the animals before you go into their area, and Sweetie wanted to take pictures by all of them. I tried to get both girls up there, but my normally fear-LESS niece, Honey, was terrified of the statues, so all the photos are of Sweetie. Unfortunately, the statue is all we really saw of the lion because he was also taking a nap…we could barely see his mane over the rock he was sleeping behind.
The elephants were awake, though, so we stood and watched him eat for a bit…yum, hay for lunch!
We also walked by the chimpanzees and the bears, but we were pretty beat by then, so I suggested we get snow cones. Bad move, Aunt Sally! The line was as long as the giraffe’s neck…actually, it was MUCH longer than that…but I had promised something cold, so we cut our zoo trip short, with promises to come back again and again and again, and we headed over to the ice cream shop for a much needed snack.
We had a wonderful day, and we were exhausted by the time we got home, so we put Shrek in the DVD player and we fell asleep until SIL came to pick up my girlies.
SIL says that Sweetie is still talking about the zoo and everything we saw…except for the kangaroos…we missed them, and apparently it’s all my fault (even though Sweetie had the map)…that’s ok, we can start there next time!