Lions and Tigers and Bears

Last Saturday, Hubby woke up and thought "We should go to the zoo." I thought "What? Are you kidding? In this heat?" It was supposed to be 95 degrees and humid. The last time we were at the zoo, Punkin was about 3-1/2 years old and had a major meltdown (in similar weather) and I ended up carrying her, kicking and screaming (literally) out of the zoo as Hubby went ahead to get the car. This was only after she had locked me out of the bathroom stall and refused to come out for ten minutes.

You can see why I was less than thrilled with the idea of going to the zoo.

We went anyway... and we invited my SIL, my BIL, his wife, and their 4 year old girl, Emmy. Five adults and four children. The big people outnumbered the little people and we felt sure we could handle that ratio.

The Milwaukee County Zoo is over an hour away from where we live. We encouraged (crossed our fingers and fervently wished) the children to nap on the way up to the zoo. Once we were near the zoo, we stopped off at McDonald's (the children's favorite, of course) to feed all the little clowns. We might not be able to do much of anything to fight the heat and humidity, but the children had napped and now had full bellies. Our chances for a successful Zoo day were good.

Skipping happy, little, dancing steps, the children (and us, but we weren't dancing happy little skippy steps) entered the zoo. The very first animals we saw were penguins. SIL (Shelley) picked up Sweet Pea, Punkin stood nearby, Hubby picked up Buddy, Emmy rode on her Dad's shoulders with Mom close by and we looked for a good ten seconds at the penguins.

The kids were excited about seeing all they could see at the zoo. We had started out late that morning, and it was nearly 2:00pm when we finally arrived. The zoo closed at 5:00pm. We had a lot to see in a short time.

The "Primates Of The World" house was next. There was a big gorilla in his exhibit watching everyone. Mr. Gorilla looked pretty docile, but scared the bejeebers out of us when he stood up and pounded the glass with this hands and feet (BAM BAM BAM!!) when someone's camera flash irritated him. Yikes!

Our next stop was the Aquatic and Reptile Center. It was nice and cool in that building.

Sweet Pea seems to be able to communicate with the fishes.

As does Punkin

We visited the grizzly bears... and I noticed this sign. If they had access to cooler places, why in the heck weren't they IN the cooler places? Silly old bears...

Now, this exhibit had a very "seasonal" creature in it... you might not be able to see the animal hiding amongst the wildflowers, so I'll tell you what it is. It's a reindeer! (hee hee!)

"You can't see me... I'm hiding..."

I saw this sign and just started laughing. I just HAD to get a picture of it. Unfortunately, the recently-turned-42-years-old-two-days-earlier Hubby refused to stand next to the sign for me looking sad and dejected. Silly old, er... Silly man. :)

The kids saw the little "skyway" (like a chair lift dealie) and wanted to go on it. I sat with Sweet Pea, Shelley sat with Emmy and Punkin and Buddy sat with Hubby. I was truly surprised that all the kids were ok with the ride. They actually thought it was pretty cool being up above the other zoo patrons and some of the animals (not right over the animals, though).

In the Big Cat house, we found "Alex The Lion" (the kids were watching Madagascar movie in the van a week or so ago. Now all lions are "Alex" and all zebras are "Marty", just like all clownfish are "Nemo" -- God bless animated movies.) All three kids were standing up on this ledge together at one point. In this picture, though, it's just Sweet Pea and Buddy (who is on his way to standing on the ledge next to Sweet Pea.)

Towards the end of our Zoo day, we visited the giraffes ("Melman" from Madagascar for those of you keeping track). The two little clowns happily played with these large wooden cut out giraffes (and by "played", I mean shook them enough to where I thought Buddy was going to pull one right out of the ground!) for a moment before we made it to the "Giraffe Experience" (that's what the sign at the zoo said)

The heat outside was getting to all of us, it even seemed hot inside the air conditioned buildings after you were in them for more than a couple of minutes. We stopped at every drinking fountain and "rehydrated" all three kids. It got to the point where the drinking fountains were nearly as much of an attraction as the animals. Once the kids were thoroughly quenched (and wearing a good amount of drinking fountain water down the front of their shirts) we put handfuls of water on their heads, too in an effort to keep them cool.

Sweet Pea and her cousin started climbing the railings for some reason late in the day. Maybe they were getting a little antsy from all the walking, stopping, looking at the animals, then walking again...

I took one last picture at the very last exhibit (The Family Farm) we visited before going home. I had asked them all to line up so we could compare their sizes to the horse cutouts behind them. What I got was one child walking away, one child looking down with both hands on the sides of her face, one looking off into the distance as if she sees a lemonade oasis, and another standing there wondering what was going on.

You can just see the heat and humidity weighing them down in the photo. It's very funny when you remember the kids were doing a little happy skippy dance INTO the zoo.

We were able to make a pretty good circuit around the zoo, visiting a lot of the animals before it closed. We were just happy that we didn't have to carry anyone out of the zoo kicking and screaming like last time.


Lynn said...

Aw, Kelli. This is an awesome post. Your pics turned out great. Well rested clowns with full bellies have a better shot at a good time, don't they?

When my son was three we went to the zoo and he fell in love with a giraffe who appeared to be smiling at him. He wanted one as a pet and was heartbroken when I had to explain why that wasn't possible. I'm such a meanie.

WILLIAM said...

I love the fact that all the animals are named after the animated characters.

eclectic said...

Very cool! Our kids have always LOVED the zoo. I like it better now because of that, but I'm still not it's biggest fan. Still, anything that has the kids engaged and happy is good with me.

Laura said...

I'm the only adult in my family that still likes to go to the zoo, and as a result, it's been almost 10 years since i've been there.
Note to self: change that.
There's an orangutang exhibit there that is my favorite.
I won't go in the summer though. You're brave!

Glad the littles had a great time!

Ortizzle said...

Isn't the zoo great fun? And I just love it when kids ask embarrassing questions about the baboons. Or if you're lucky, they didn't get that view, LOL!

Sharkey said...

Your zoo trip sounds like our DC trip with my sister and her family, except we saw monuments instead of animals. (And believe me, the kids weren't exactly excited by the monuments.)

It looks like a good time was had by all, despite the heat. Great photos!

platypus said...

I haven't been to a zoo in ages so that's another thing to add to the list of places to take Stumpy. I know she's 14 and it's not 'cool' any more but that's just tough. Your visit has inspired me and I'm glad you survived the day. :)

Bone Machine said...

Bears have access to coolers? They don't hibernate during winter, they sober up.

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