It’s been a tough winter this year. We have had bitter cold temperatures and more ice storms than I can count. Add to that, Michael’s 10 day tummy bug and all of the crankiness that came with it, and we have a bad case of cabin fever.
On Sunday, we got a break from the frigid weather. The temperature warmed up to 60 degrees and the sun actually came out. There was no way I was passing up a chance to enjoy some outdoors time. But where to go? We did get 6 inches of snow last week, so anything that’s not still snow covered in going to be pretty damp. That ruled out the park and most of the play grounds in the area. Hey, what about the zoo?
I’m not talking about the Philadelphia Zoo. We have small local zoo right around the corner that I have a season pass for. They focus on animals from North and South America and do a pretty good job with the small budget they have to work with. They also provide homes for a number of injured, unreleasable birds. (Although, I do find the vulture display a little sad. It’s sort of like putting seagulls or pigeons on display. There are so many of them around here that the free vultures come and land on the captive vulture’s display.)
Michael was thrilled to get outside and was even more excited when he realized we were going to the zoo. As soon as we got in the gates he ran over to the fish food dispenser. We always let him feed the Carp and the catfish. However, the pond is iced over, so no fish feeding.
Next he rushed over to a lamp post and pointed out the number 2 that is attached to it. He loves this number 2 and points it out every time we go to the zoo. I tried to direct him towards the porcupines, but he rushed by them to find the 3 on the next lamp post. Luckily, he hasn’t found number 4 yet, so I did manage to steer him to the red fox display. He glanced at the curled up ball of red fluff for half a second and rushed off. I gave up trying to direct him anywhere and followed his lead.
His next stop was the petting barn where he normally gets to feed the sheep and goats. It’s closed for the winter, so he just blew past the door. That’s probably a good thing as he typically tortures the poor animals by feeding them one pellet at a time.
From the barn he ran to the train car that sits outside the bison display. He ran through that a few times and then headed over to the tunnel. The tunnel is really cool. It’s next to the prairie dog display and is supposed to replicate a prairie dog burrow. The kids go crazy over it, and parents love it because we can actually stand still while they wear themselves out.
Once the novelty of the tunnel wore off, Michael took off for the playground; stopping to jump in every puddle he came across. We were both laughing by the time we got to the playground. I let Michael play on the slides and jungle gyms for a while and was really proud of how well he played with the other children. It’s amazing how much difference a few months can make.
When it was finally time to head home, I stopped in the gift shop and picked up some ice cream for him. He was tired and happy. For that matter, so was I. It was such a treat to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
I'm really glad that we have such a nice little zoo near us. Michael really enjoys his trips to the zoo. And I suspect that one of these days he might actually notice that there are animals there.