I had a quick appointment yesterday morning on the other side of town, and Asher had summer school. So, a few days ago I asked Ethan if he wanted to come along, and said maybe after we could stop by the zoo, just the two of us.
Our city has a fairly small but still GREAT (and FREE) zoo. We used to go there all the time when the boys were little. I mean, seriously- it’s a free zoo!! It was perfect for just swinging by for an hour or two even to get out of the house. It is very, very popular with parents + small children.
However, I don’t think we’d been there now for years. Can’t even really remember when we were last there! I also seem to get less frequent 1:1 time with Ethan, so I was excited about this idea.
He is really into animals, zoos, learning about their habitats, etc. Two years ago he did a zoo camp at the much bigger and more impressive Milwaukee County Zoo and he loved it.
We seemed to have picked the perfect time of day. It was around 10:30 a.m. or so. Literally every animal was awake, out and about. It was really fun! (It also stormed/ rained all afternoon, but we had perfect weather in the morning. Grateful!)
The younger polar bear, in picture, was so cute!! Why can’t they be friendly bears that we could hug and snuggle with? lol.
Next door was the grizzly bear, who was equally or maybe more adorable. He was just chillin’ in the pool, sitting on his butt. Hahaha! I guess he was taking a bath. He kept grooming his face with the water and his paws. Ethan and I watched him for quite a long time. We agreed neither of us ever wanted to come face to face with his wolverine-like claws out in the wild.
We also spent a long time in the amphibian house, especially looking at the anaconda (omg. No. A 16 ft long snake? Shudder….I am not a fan of snakes) and the much cuter poison dart frogs.
There were several exhibits of them and Ethan really seemed to love searching for the little guys and just watching them hop around. Some were fluorescent yellow, some blue and also some green and orange ones.
This is the kind of activity at the zoo that is much more fun with a 13 year old than a toddler. I remember getting frustrated when they were little because they’d excitedly race from one window to the next, always going too fast! I would try to explain what was in there, or read the little signs to them…and it was always such a whirlwind. Ha. Of course, now Ethan just calmly walked along and we leisurely checked out each exhibit. 🙂
I had one moment of “sadness”, though. On our way out we walked past the “kid’s zoo” area, which includes this big play structure. The boys used to be obsessed with this thing. I would have to drag them off at the end.
I asked Ethan, jokingly, “Don’t you want to go play?” He kind of smirked at me and said, “No, I’m good.” 😥😥 Sniff, sniff. An all grown up TEENAGER now….
We stopped by Culver’s for lunch for chicken tenders on the way home just before the rain started.
I’m so glad we did this. I need to remember to be intentional about scheduling 1:1 activities, or even just local outings like this in general. It can be easy, now that they are older and content to basically supervise themselves at home, to forget about stuff like this.
Now Asher says HE wants a trip to the zoo, so maybe I’ll be going back again sooner than later. 🙂
I am grateful, yet again, for a flexible work schedule. My work schedule yesterday was: 6-9:30 a.m., 1-3:30 p.m., and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Got 8 hours of work in, but also was able to go to the zoo AND take Asher to piano lessons in the afternoon. 🙂