Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Family Zoo (Trip)

   Yesterday we took a trip to the magical Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  It's the only zoo I know of that is carved out of a mountain side.  We were contemplating a fun family activity, and since the kids have never been to a zoo, I insisted on the Colorado Springs one.
    I think I was more excited than the kids were!  I couldn't wait to see their reaction as they got to see the animals up close! As we drove up the mountain, past the fancy houses, hubby admitted that he can't remember ever going to a zoo!  (the Philadelphia zoo was only an hour or so from where we lived, and the Brandywine Zoo (really small and kinda ghetto) was probably 20 minutes from his house) After this revelation, I was even more excited, because now I was bringing four kids to the zoo for their first time!
   The first animals we encountered were the giraffes.  I'm didn't count how many there were, but it was the most I've ever seen in a zoo (or on the Madagascar movies)! You were even able to feed them!  We got a good workout in pushing the stroller up and down the paths.  Even though the animal selection was limited, the ambiance made up for it.  I've never been to a zoo with as much shade as this one offered.
   The kids were able to interact with chickens and birds (I experienced bird spatter on the path, JR got beaned in the bird house) and there was a really noisy peacock that seemed to be stalking us (the kids loved him and tried to imitate his annoying call).  You know they've seen too much Dora/Diego when they start verbally interacting with the animals ("Oh, no! You're lost! We'll help you!", "Follow me! It's this way!", "Oh, no! You're stuck! Help him!").
    These kinds of trips tend to bring out the best and worst in people, and in our case, lead to discovering new information....like the fact that my husband is irrationally terrified of mountain lions....even when they're behind protective glass.  (he acted as though the sleeping beasts were going to suddenly break through the thick safety glass and attack us)  JR also discovered what I call "the zoo smell"- mainly the scent of fecal matter, especially in enclosed animal "houses".  I found out that my son can silently count things- he exclaimed "Three elephants!" when we came to the elephant exhibit. I counted and yes, there were three.
    The monkey house was a bit different than I had anticipated.  It was carpeted and all of the monkeys were behind glass.  The interior housed benches and informational posters.  They even advertised "Orangutan Art" for sale, which was basically finger paintings supposedly done by these creatures.  What captivated me most in this exhibit was the toddler apes.  They were swinging from constructed vines.  One took a break on a tree branch and started to relieve himself...and he couldn't stop.... Eventually the urine stopped flowing, but this little guy must have been having intestinal problems.  He couldn't stop pooping! It just kept coming...and coming...and coming...even when we thought he was finished, he wasn't!  For some reason, this was more mesmerizing to me than it should have been.  I couldn't tear myself away from the sight!  JR came to his senses long before I did and somehow managed to drag me away.
It was the best zoo experience I can remember having and it seems like everyone else had a good time too.  Here's a photo of JR in front of the mountain lion exhibit and one of Josiah & a giraffe.

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