May 3, 2008

The Zoo & Rural Farm Development

Friday I thought it would be fun to take the childrens to the Hogle Zoo for an activity. The primary goal was to allow them to experience wild animals in captivity. The secondary, but equally important goal was to wear them down so that they would nap and be rested for the evening.

Henry was buzzed all morning about the impending visit to the zoo. From the moment he woke up, he was planning his day. We have a season pass, so he's quite familiar with the layout of the zoo. His goal was to ride the train there and also visit the giraffes which I thought odd, since he's never taken a particular interest in giraffes before. He's been all about the bears and the snakes at most of our other visits.

Here, Henners found my camera and told me he wanted to take a picture of us getting ready for the zoo trip. Here I am getting ready. I now realize that I have completely lost what was once a decent waistline.

After a few brief stops to take care of errands, we arrived at the zoo. This is the hat Henners wore to the zoo. You might think that his "RFD TV" hat isn't of much importance, but keep reading.

This hat is in almost every picture I snapped on our adventure. Henry is so proud of it. It stands for Rural Farm Development Television and he snagged it from Grandma Granny the day before. He likes to wear it really, really low. Too low. It actually bends his little ears forward a bit and makes them stick out. He looks adorable, but still, it's light, acid wash denim for crying out loud. I tried to get him to wear a different hat, but that was met with, "But gra-ma-gra-nee-gave-it-to-meeeeeee!" Well, if it makes him happy then he can wear it. And boy, does it make the little guy happy.

When we first walked in the gates at Hogle Zoo, Henry spotted the train ride. He screamed. Here, Henry and his hat wait for the train.

"I think I see the train now!" he says.

Yep. He did see the train.

Here's me and Reesie on her first train ride at the zoo.

Wait, let's get a better look at that.

He, Henry and the hat are excited to ride the train too.

After the train ride and a quick pit stop, we ventured down to see the monkeys. Here's a little momma monkey with her baby on her back. (Forgive me. I don't know the specific species.)

Henners pointing out another monkey.

A close up of the stoic monkey.

Henners noticed monkey poop at the bottom of the exhibit. He made sure I snapped a picture. In case you've ever wondered what monkey droppings look like, here they are.

Also, just in case you've missed the RFD TV hat, here it is again.

Next stop was the elephants. One of the trainers was feeding the big guy.

Henry and his hat observe the elephants.

More hat, and more observing.

Reese didn't care about the elephants. She was interested in her turtle.

We visited the cougars. This one was feisty and was hissing at everyone.

He also saw bears, zebras, penguins and apes, but Henry couldn't be bothered to stay around them long enough for me to document this. We ran, not walked to the giraffe exhibit.

Henners was so exited to see the "Melmans" as he calls them. (Madagascar character)

Henners' hat blocks out half of the Melman.

Henry kept whistling and calling the giraffes Melman. Finally, one of them looked over our direction. Henry was ecstatic. "I think that Melman sees me, Mom," he said.

Yet again, more giraffes. I told you he was obsessed with those things today.

After the giraffes, we headed over to the cheetah area. There, Henry ran into a gang of fast girls. I don't mean morally or socially, but rather physically fast. These girls were running and chasing. Henry joined right in and made himself a part of all the chasing for about 20 minutes.

Here, he and his hat hatch a plan to chase the girls.

Henry and the hat in action.

With all the excitement going on, the cheetah got worked up too. She let out a loud hissing noise and it got the kids attention.

Henry declared that cheetah was the meanest cheetah ever and we decided to bolt. Next up, we visited the Asian Highlands. We were hoping to run into a tiger, but no, as usual, he was lazy and sleeping up top. We did however see this guy.

Here' Henry got to get up close with the leopard while I relaxed and fed Reesie.

Henry thought he'd relax with us too. So much that he got a little tired.

Henners told me that he was so tired and that he was ready to go. After one more train ride and an unplanned orange creamcicle treat, we were packed up and back on the road.

This was an excellent trip to the zoo. Reesie had a great time too. She would let out a few laughs if she caught site of an animal, but she mostly enjoyed just watching her older brother.

Thanks, zoo. You were awesome.

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