Last Sunday was so mild out and we didn't have any plans, so we decided to take the kids to the zoo. We figured if it was too cold, we'd stick to the indoor things, but if the kids could handle it, we'd walk around some of the outdoor exhibits.
Explaining to Jebriel that we were going to the zoo to see animals was totally confusing him, the whole drive there he kept saying "where we going??"
We also introduced him to our goofy tradition that my sister and I used to do when we were little, and I passed on to the kids. There are 3 tunnels on the way to the zoo, and I don't remember how it got started, but while going through the tunnels, we would put our hands and feet in the air and say "ahhhhhhhh" all the way through each tunnel. Obviously I haven't been able to show them how to put their feet in the air, but we do our hands :)
We went to the penguinarium first, and learned that Jebriel, our resident animalphobe, is also afraid of penguins behind glass. Journey is afraid of animals too, but we attribute that mostly to her vision problems (and no, her glasses haven't come in yet, but I will post pictures when they come!). A penguin jumped into the water and Jebriel jumped into Eric's arms and said "no thank you penguin!" Journey was already clinging to me and fussing.
So we moved on, not feeling very optimistic about the rest of the trip. The butterfly house was fun-Vivi chased the butterflies and the other 2 ran from them...but the bird house was ok because we didn't see any birds too close.
Only Jebriel was afraid of the camels, and wasn't impressed when I told him about the camels riding on a truck that I saw in Ethiopia.
The kids liked skipping down the 'street'
The mandatory picture in front of the fountain :) I was playing with some new settings on Picasa (where I keep my pictures)
We went into the cafe for a few minutes to warm up and have a snack. At some point last summer, we must have bought cheetos to take to the zoo, because Vivi associates the zoo with eating cheetos. Since it was a fun family outing, we swung by Kroger to pick up a bag.
Then they wanted to see the polar bears. We were walking down the arctic trail, when suddenly we came upon a peacock, just hanging out in the middle of the trail. Jebriel freaked out, screaming and pointing and squeezing Eric's neck. Meanwhile, all the other kids there were saying "hey cool, a peacock!" and the parents stared at Jebriel, freaking out at a bird. Then the peacock decided to walk down the path in front of us, which made Jeb even more upset, and he was all done with the zoo.
We figured the sight of a giant bear would give him a heart attack, but we were already most of the way in, so we walked through. And just our luck, a polar bear was playing in the glass tunnel. He was nervous at first and wouldn't go into the tunnel, but after we let him touch the glass and he saw the crowd of people enjoying the bear's antics, he relaxed and even started wandering around without clinging to Eric. And I got some fun pictures :)
At the end of the trip, we stopped at the zoo store and let him pick a stuffed animal. Partly to reinforce that the zoo is a fun place, but also because he loves stuffed animals and both girls have animals from the zoo. Journey's best friend Sealy is the souvenir from her first trip to the zoo. He picked a giant giraffe (he was on sale) and he sleeps with him every night. They all said they had fun after the fact and nobody wanted to go home, but I think we'll do a few family visits before I try taking my animalphobes to the zoo by myself!