Steph and I always enjoy the zoo. We visited the zoo with the highest elevation in the US (The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, we fed the giraffes), and have been to a number around the nation. Our favorite was the zoo in Omaha, the Henry Doorly Zoo. The rainforest, kingdoms of the night, the gorilla exhibit, and especially the aquarium are worth the price of admission. Also, you might not know this, but the zoo also has a nice nursery because it has the second most infants in the country behind the San Diego zoo.
A past Saturday in June, we paid a visit to the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio. The forecast for the day included sun, more sun, and temperatures nearing 100. Why would we choose such a day to go? In our defense, we made these plan nearly a month earlier, and we had free tickets. (Isn’t it free to melt in your own backyard as well?)
This story actually starts the night before. The Tattoo was getting ready for a night of festivities, but the weather changed things. See, God was concerned that with all the dryness and heat, that parts of Indiana and Ohio would start on fire. So a storm was built and sent through the area. Unfortunately, God blew too hard, and the resulting winds came through the area at 80 mph, knocking down branches, power to 175,000 local residents, and broke Eddie Money’s stage. God, feeling bad, gave him two extra tickets to paradise.
With power outages throughout the area, and branches and leaves strewn around the ground, we were concerned about our trip to the zoo. Fortunately, the zoo had power in the morning, and the cleanup crew did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, the storm left behind a bad aftertaste, aka humidity.
So we decided to get there early. Luckily(?) Eva gets us up early anyway, so no need to set an alarm. We pack up what we need and hit the road. First stop, Springfield. Springfield was where we would meet up with our friends…..and mooch off their free tickets. Once everyone was ready, it was back on the road to Columbus. The zoo was on the north end of town, and we were able to find it with the handy dandy GPS in our phones.
We parked in the Itchy lot, and made our way into the zoo. Once inside we lather Eva up in sunscreen and later covered her with a hat. The stroller has a cover as well, so she would be well shaded, and protected from anything else that may fall from the sky.
The first part of the park we entered was North America. (Wait, where did we come from?) We walked to the Sun Bears, and Eva learned her first lesson today. Sun Bears like the shade. The outdoor part of the exhibit was empty. It was only after we went inside did we finally see the Sun Bears, nestled in the shaded corner.
As we left North America, we walked past the buffalo. Lesson two, the following sentence is a sentence, and not the ramblings of a crazy man (that’s the rest of the post).
After North America, we walked through Asia Quest. Lesson three, courtesy of the mom walking behind us. One of her kids asked her what Asia is.
“Asia’s a country!”
One of our friends with us looked like that sentence pierced his heart. His head sunk, and he collapsed to the ground* waiting for a second grader to come around and correct her. Everyone knows that Asia is, in fact, an 80’s progressive rock band (and the world’s largest CONTINENT).
* Well, not really. But it did hurt.
So, let’s scratch that last lesson. Here’s the real lesson:
Parents can be wrong sometimes….except your mother and I, we’re still right all the time.
As we travelled through Asia, we came upon the panda exhibit. Not one of those boring black and white pandas, but the Red Panda. That’s right. A red panda! Wait…, I’d never heard of a red panda before, had you? Hmm. Lesson four:
Jack Hanna is dyeing animals and claiming them to be different species…and getting away with it. Either that, or these pandas have been eating a little too much red velvet cake.
Off to the aquarium. Here’s a good point to contrast the Columbus Zoo and the Omaha Zoo. We enjoyed the Omaha Zoo more than this one. The Scott Aquarium in Omaha (sorry, not named after me) is way cooler than Columbus’s. The penguin exhibit and the shark tank where they float over and around you is amazing. The routes seem easier in Omaha through the zoo, and there are more tree’s and indoor exhibits for when its scorching. To be fair, Columbus isn’t usually this hot, and if you really want to cool down there’s that water park right next door.
Anyway, back to the aquarium. While wheeling Eva up to the window to view the sting rays and manatees, a lesson for daddy:
Eva’s attitude to the exhibits, “Meh”.
I’m sure it had to do with the fact it was warm, and to her an elephant is no more exciting than a squirrel (or even Quinton). She’d be just as content sitting at the entrance and watching the people enter the zoo. Someday she’ll be excited to see the gorillas, but that day isn’t now.
We meandered to the Congo Expedition. Yes, meandered. I was dragging a bit since I had no coffee that morning, and it was getting warmer as the day went on (how about that). We visited the gorillas. Another lesson for daddy :
Kids have no boundaries.
This happened a number of times during the day, but I’d be walking (and sometimes pushing Eva) up to an exhibit, only to brushed aside or cut off by a child running to see. So maybe I can wait a few years before Eva’s that excited.
As we left the final exhibits, we started to head back to the beginning for lunch. We were talking when I heard “splat”. I looked down, and saw that a bird had decided to leave us with a parting gift.
Had the cover not been up, this would have landed directly on Eva’s head. So last lesson of the day, the stroller cover provides protection from sun and poop. You may not see that feature listed on the box, but trust me it’s a fine feature.