Family Fun, Kids

Solo outing with Ethan! :-)

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.

Too cute to be…deadly? 😬

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….

The orangutan was stretching! Kept alternating legs up on the rope. So funny.

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. 🙂

Daily Gratitude:

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. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Solo outing with Ethan! :-)

  1. Oh, what fun! I’m so glad you shifted your hours to accommodate this. I know of the zoo you visited but, lacking offspring (ha), I have not indulged in a visit. Perhaps I should -it sounds like it’s definitely engrossing enough for an hour or so for an adult! My parents used to take us on “kid dates”, which were exactly like this! Sometimes they were one on one time, but other times, my brother and I both went (e.g., when the “date” was to the amusement park). Totally random question, but have you tried that mini golf place that’s south of the Beltline? I’m intrigued by it but also not sure whether it’s worth a visit… 🙂

    1. Oh, yes, definitely try Vitense mini golf! It’s a Madison classic! 🙂 Something you must do at least once! There are 2 outdoor courses, and then there is also a very cute indoor course, also all Wisconsin/Madison/Capitol themed that is very worth checking out too.

      If you’ve never been to the zoo, you must do that, also! It is a great way to spend at least a couple hours, for free! It really is a very nice zoo and has almost all the major zoo animals, big and small (lions, tigers, polar bears, seals, penguins, rhinos, giraffes, bears, monkeys, etc plus many other smaller guys!). It’s right next to the Arboreteum and Lake Wingra, too, so you could easily make a whole day of it. Absolutely great for an adult OR child. 😉

      1. I really need to do a better job of being a tourist in my own city, apparently! Thanks for the good reviews of the mini golf (and I think it’s near some good custard, too…?) and the zoo. I had NO idea that they had that many animals, and that it was free! Good grief. What a hidden treasure. I’ve driven by multiple times, but never gone. I’ll have to remedy that!

  2. What a fun outing! I have only taken Paul to the zoo once. It was 2 summers ago and he really enjoyed it but he was in a stroller so that was challenging as some of the indoor exhibits had stairs. I would take him back but probaby not this summer as Will’s schedule is so unpredictable and I never know how long he’ll nap/when he needs to eat again. This is the downside to breast feeding. 🙂 He does not take a bottle well at home – he’s smart and must know that if he refuses, I’ll eventually come home and feed him. He eats great at school, though! I would eventually like to do mom days with each kid. So maybe I will start that w/ Paul next summer? I used to take my nephews on “aunt dates” when they were young. I took one to the zoo once, but otherwise we would go to this cool bookstore with a bunch of animals (mostly in cages except they had 2 store cats and some chickens!). Then we would get ice cream afterwards. I saw these 2 nephews last weekend and reminisced about those fun times. The last time I took them on an aunt date, I wanted to go to a water park but the older boy said he would only go with his friends. Burn!! I was so bummed as it was a hot summer day, so we went to the bookstore and got ice cream like usual. Still fun but I would have never turned down a chance to go to a water park when I was a kid!!

  3. what a nice day with solo kid. they are really the best as we are calm, no fight to deal with, and we focus on one kid fully. I should do this more often too, even just a walk.
    zoo is the best for the kids, they never seem to get tired of animals.

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