Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wrapping up 2013 with a zoo trip

When we went to the zoo lights display at Woodland Park Zoo a few weeks ago, Conor felt quite cheated that we didn't see very many animals. So, I promised him that we'd return soon (huge benefit of being zoo members!) and he'd be able to see more animals on our next trip. Today, I fulfilled that promise, partially to make sure I stayed true to my word and partially to give the kids a chance to burn off some energy.

Today has been quite soggy and cold, which definitely helped keep the crowds at the zoo to a minimum. Only us tried and true (and probably cabin fevered) parents braved the elements today, let me tell you!

As a special treat (and mostly due to the really short line), I asked the kids if they'd like to feed the penguins. It's rare that we're (a) at the zoo at the right time and (b) the feeding line isn't a mile long, so I decided to jump at the opportunity, as did the kids. Annika and Conor both got to feed the penguins two little fish, not sardines, but just about that size. While they took turns feeding the penguins, the zoo staff member explained about the penguins in their natural habitat. I tried to get a photo of Conor with his fish, but he was far too eager to feed the penguins and had no interest in holding still for me, let along turning away from the birds.

Of course, as soon as we vacated the penguin feeding area, Annika and Conor made a beeline for the blue row boat that is just outside of the penguin display. I swear, that boat makes our membership worthwhile. As Annika and Conor climbed into the boat, Annika proclaimed that she was the captain; a little boy who was already in the boat corrected her that HE was the captain of the boat. So there! Annika very nicely asked if she could be the captain when he was done being the captain. Way to go, Annika!

Once the boat crew received shore leave, we trekked to the flamingo area. The birds were fun to watch, but they weren't what caught my attention. The lady apparently having a full-blown conversation with the ducks and flamingos was MUCH more interesting to me than the birds were.  Now, when I say this woman was having a conversation with the birds, she wasn't just talking to them. Apparently, they were talking back to her. And I quote, "And what's your name? Fred? Oh! Frederick! Sorry for that mistake. Who is your girlfriend, Frederick? I promise, I won't tell. You can trust me. (pause) OH?? (giggle) Good choice!" (and so on and so forth)

We explored the African village and saw two zebra grazing on the grassy hill. When Conor saw them, he promptly announced, "There's Spot One's daddy! And there's Spot Two!" I'm sure the other zoo goers were quite perplexed, but that only adds to my day's fun. :)

As we meandered toward the bird feeding pavilion, we wandered by the hippos and lions. It is a rare treat to see the hippos out of their pond, but today they were. Both hippos were completely sacked out on the shore, probably dreaming of vacationing somewhere warmer than Seattle!

Our final destination was the bird feeding pavilion, which is a family favorite. For $1, people can buy a popsicle stick with some bird seeds hot glued to it. The kids LOVE having the birds visit them for a quick snack. Unfortunately, the extreme temperature change from outside to inside fogged up my camera lens... WHOOPS! Luckily, my phone's camera was more cooperative and I was able to snap a few pictures of our bird experience. All three of us had the same bird come for a visit, no less. Annika wore her parrot hat and was quite convinced that the bird thought she was one of them. Conor liked the birds until one tried to sit on his finger, then he was a bit less impressed. Meanwhile, Annika was thrilled when she had two birds on her hand at the same time. Win for her!

Annika and her penguin food

The beloved row boat

Pink flamingos

Part of a wall in the African village

Annika and Conor having fun in the African village

Sleeping hippos

Lions ... ROAR

Liongirl Annika

Conor the lion conquerer

Annika and her bird friend

My bird buddy

Conor feeding his bird

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