At the start of summer, I had in my head a list of four to five activities that were "must see" during my time home with the girls. Included on that list was a trip on the Amtrak, swimming, and the Brookfield Zoo. It took me until the first week in August, but finally last Wednesday I was able to cross the zoo off our list of adventures.
I had originally thought the zoo would be something the four of us - The General, Shortcake, Punkin, and I - would do while The General was on vacation. I didn't realize that almost all of his time at home would be consumed with home repairs and after Shortcake's Birthday Adventure, The General put his foot down and declared once and for all that he was done with my silly adventures. No zoo for you! I must have been experiencing some kind of mid-summer brain fart when I thought to myself, "Well, that's okay. Maybe I'll just take the girls to the zoo by myself". You have no idea how glad I am that I came to my senses and realized that reinforcements would be necessary.
Thank you, Lord, for sisters-in-law willing to go along as an extra set of hands.
There's really not much to say about the zoo itself. I mean, it's a day filled with looking at animals behind glass walls and fences. Therefore, in what appears to be a theme in recaps of our summer adventures, I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.
Shortcake was a rock star walking the entire day without so much as one complaint, and she filled the role as our resident navigator. I learned last week that Shortcake is a map fanatic and her sense of direction bested that of the two adults chaperoning her. While cartography may be a future career for our daughter, fulfilling a destiny of life as a face painter is probably out. Shortcake reported that the lions were her favorite animals at the zoo, and I was very proud of her for asking a well thought out question during the lemur feeding demonstration.
Punkin's approach to seeing the animals as the zoo can only be described as classic Punkin. She took the "quick glance to make sure they're there then run to the next exhibit" approach. Literally, she would glance inside a cage, point and shout "There it is!", and then pull on my hand stating, "Let's keep movin' guys". She was not impressed with the leisurely pace we set out on. Still, Punkin held up much better than I thought she would and the rental of a zoo wagon following our lunch break was probably the best $8 I have ever spent. She was quickly reaching meltdown mode, proclaiming that she "couldn't walk very good", and knowing there was no way I could (or would) carry her for the duration of our stay we put her in the wagon and were on our way. We almost had an episode in the monkey house and she was terrified of the robotic dinosaur exhibit, but other than that (as long as we continually promised her that she would be able to ride the carousel at the end of the day) she did fine. I had to keep reminding myself that it was a long day for a
Munchkin, who agreed to be our guest for the day, was able to fulfill an eighteen year dream by finally seeing the giraffes. You sort of forget how strange looking these animals are but they were fun to watch. Munchkin would have really benefitted from a sign like this in the savannah house.
Best laugh of the day: a fly-by pooping right onto Munchkin's arm.
Second best laugh of the day: she may be a doctor (almost), but that doesn't necessarily mean she can navigate her way out of a petting zoo.
Munchkin was only slightly traumatized by our tram ride, first because the driver was an almost identical match in looks and personality to her childhood bus driver and second because she found it terribly rude to advertise this particular type of cuisine mere yards away from the still living animals. Perhaps zoo officials use this as motivation to make sure the bison on premises stay in line.
As for me, I had a great time. It was exhausting, but I had fun watching the girls see animals they had never before seen in person. I particularly loved the monkeys and could have spent an entire afternoon just watching them, especially those sweet baby monkeys with their mamas.
Of course I could have done without being visually assaulted by this perverted little monkey. Someone needs to explain to him the concept of "private time".
Best of all, of course, is just coming home with new memories made with my favorite girls. They really are pretty awesome.
However, if I was forced to name one thing that would have made this day even better? It would probably have to be that we didn't notice this on zoo grounds until almost closing time.
Next year we'll know better, right Munchkin?