Lesson 3 - Bigger city doesn't mean better zoo - it just means more friggin' walking.
Let's face it people - at age 7, the zoo was the bomb diggity. There was something so magical about seeing animals that, at that point, you had only seen in Eric Carl books. Going back to the zoo with a two year old? Um, not so much. Let's just say that there's nothing too magical about 4 adults sweating their arsses off as they play hot potato with the screaming toddler who wants to stand, jump,climb on every bronze animal statue her little eyes hone in on.
We all know there are three types of kids you will encounter at the zoo:
1) the kid on a sugar high - this cotton candy-ed kid is all but climbing in the gorilla cage (and usually one or both parents are tempted to let him/her do so as they mumble "yeah, you would fit right in..." Part of you wants to appreciate the enthusiasm, but the other just wants to slip a zanex into his Capri Sun.
2) the completely wiped out kid - this kid is in a zoo induced comma and usually has his/her head partially falling out of the stroller, drool streaming from an open mouth, and occassionally a crooked zoo memorabilia hat.
3) the devil-spawn kid - this kid is wreaking.havoc.everywhere. You've all seen him - SCREAMING that he can't see the gigantic white polar bear as the parents grab onto his wriggling arm which then results in the tantrum from hell and multiple threats of getting in the car and going home.
Now, combine 100 of each said child type with 300 sweaty, panting, stroller-pushing parents who realize they just paid $87 dollars to have their butts kicked by a five year old and you have the magic that is the zoo. Its beautiful really.
With all that being said, let me discuss THIS zoo. I have to say that living in the "big city" gave me a preconceived notion of what the zoo might be like. I was wrong. Way wrong. The main idea is that you walk 500 miles from one exhibit to the other and when you arrive, you may or may not see an animal . See, this zoo is very animal friendly. Its very natural and the animals have extremely large environments in which to gallop, play, sing, dance, whatever it is zoo animals do. They have also created the layout of the zoo to mimic a natural habitat as well - ie, you walk down long, heavily treed, winding paths to go from exhibit to exhibit. This is fantastic for the animals, but for parents with toddlers who insist on "I walking! I walking!" everywhere, it can take upwards of 1055 hours to reach a destination. All the while, this toddler is wanting to climb on every stinkin rock and poke every stinkin ant they happen to come by.
At this point I was pretty sure the zoo was a bad idea. As you can tell, MC was more interested in anything that was NOT an animal than observing the caged ones. Then, we reached the seal. We went to the glas enclosed observation area and she was in heaven. She saw the seal swim by and let out one of the most excited squeals I can remember to date. That's when I realized this is why parents do what they do. We brave the 115 degree heat, screaming children, and exhausting walks just to see the smile on our kids faces. Its what parenting is all about right? Being miserable so our kids can be happy. Seriously though, I would go back to the zoo in a minute if it meant I got to see MC that excited even for one second. And that my friends is why we continue to wear the funny hats and act a fool singing Old McDonald 900 times - because we're good parents and love our kids more than our dignity :) Happy Tuesday!