1. Punkin jumps equally high if: a) a sea lion swims in a bee line toward her from an underwater viewing area, b) dolphins splash water on the crowd sitting three rows in front of us, c) a peacock squawks loudly, or d) a goat walks up behind her when she's not expecting it.
2. Shortcake is quite possibly the best companion for a day at the zoo ever.
3. I think in my next life I'll become a marine biologist.
4. A sunny 77 degree day with a light breeze is prime zoo visiting weather.
5. Brookfield Zoo membership is totally worth the money (if you're a family of four and willing/able to go at least twice in a year's time).
6. Seeing hundreds of mammals/reptiles/birds/amphibians in a day still will not trump the overwhelming excitement of riding a carousel.
7. Giraffes are cool.
8. The scent of The Living Coast does not appeal to Punkin nor does that of a specific pen at the children's zoo which, apparently, "smells howible". On a totally unrelated note, she is not afraid to break it down and dance like a fool anywhere on zoo property where she hears a beat that moves & grooves her.
9. Shortcake shows absolutely no fear or hesitation in approaching complete strangers (albeit strangers who have been designated as responsible and safe staff members by her mother) in a quest to obtain additional information about a specific animal and/or exhibit.
10. Dress my youngest child in a swimsuit, slather her in sunscreen, and set her loose to play to her heart's content at a splash park on a 90 degree day and you'll get refusal, defiance, and flat out anger at the idea that she might be expected to get wet. Contrarily, introduce her to a small set of accessible fountains while fully clothed on the way out of a zoo where she'll be required to sit for an hour plus car ride home and you will be forced to pull her away from the attraction.
11. I could spend an entire day watching gorillas yet that is the one place the girls have absolutely no patience.
12. The price of a hot pretzel & bottle of pop inside the zoo: $7.55 (small container of melted cheese not included but was available for an additional $1.50). It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that we quite enjoyed our brought-from-home picnic lunch on the grassy area next to my car.
13. The new bear exhibit is lovely, although I honestly was expecting more. Maybe I'll be more impressed next time when the crowds are smaller and Punkin is being less, shall we say, "spirited".
14. Hitting rush hour traffic is never a fun way to end an otherwise lovely day.
15. Taking my two children to the zoo without another adult on hand serving as an extra set of eyes and hands was a feat I am proud to say I accomplished. However, watching another mother expertly navigate through the park with two children in a double stroller and two additional early elementary school aged children walking calmly on either side - all the while cautiously aware of the infant strapped to her body in a baby carrier - makes me feel slightly less impressed with myself.