Thursday, November 14, 2013

Five Favorites: The Zoo!

I took Freddy and Rosie to the zoo for the first time on Monday. Since it was Veteran's Day, both my dad and my FIL had the day off, so they, plus my mom, MIL, BIL, and SIL, were able to come. We would have taken advantage of the sequester to take them before it got cooler, but, well, the zoo got closed then, too. Luckily, the day was sunny and clear, even if it was chilly.

I have to say, I enjoyed the zoo much more as a parent than I have in the past as a teenager or childless adult. I mean, I've always liked seeing the animals and learning about them, but seeing the wonderment of a child is kind of awesome. That said, here are some of my favorite parts of the trip.

1. Orangutans

If you've ever been to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., you may have noticed that there are tall towers with two thick ropes stretching between. Called the "O Line," these are a way for the apes to travel between the Great Ape House and the Think Tank, where you can compare animal brains and do puzzles and see differences in animal intelligence. For whatever reason, the orangutans were all about traveling the lines that day - we must have seen them climb and cross at least 3 times.

Up, up, and away! From the Think Tank to the Great Ape House.
And back to the Think Tank. Note: no nets. No falls yet!
Rosie watching the orangs about 50 feet in the air.

2. Lions

I would have put "big cats," but the tigers weren't out and we didn't make it to the cheetahs, so lions it is. I was sorely tempted to put Rosie in her Halloween costume, but decided against it simply because it's impractical and kind of itchy after a while. She was fascinated, though I'm sure part of that had to do with the fact that one of the females was in heat. Nothing she hasn't seen before!

Bonus: we did get to hear some roaring. 


That sounds way dirtier than I thought it would. I'm just trying to say that there was very vocal, "All right, I'm done, go away."

I don't think I can win this one.

The lioness on the right is the one in heat. The other one is her older sister. #awkward

Fun fact: big cats only ovulate after stimulation, so the first couple dozen tries aren't even going to be, er, penetrative.
Fun fact 2: When I say couple dozen tries, I'm low-balling. According to the documentary, every lion cub is the result of, on average, 3000 attempts. They go at it every 20-30 minutes when in heat.

I'd be sleeping, too.

3. Giant Panda

Since Mei Xiang recently gave birth to a cub, she and the cub were both inside, away from the crowds (go vote for the baby panda's name!). Tian Tian, on the other hand, was hanging out and eating bamboo.

I can't say that Rosie was super excited about him - he was easy to see from further away, but since he was further away, Rosie was less interested, and when we were closer, all she wanted to do was play with the metal binoculars attached to a pole. I, on the other hand, was plenty happy to see that he was awake, as pretty much every other time I've gone to the zoo they have been furry black-and-white lumps. 19-month-olds. Sheesh.

4. Elephant

Two of the elephants were outside, but hard to see, while the one that was inside was swaying from side to side with her back to the people. Rosie was just excited that there was a giant book.


We tried engaging her in some of the other parts of the exhibit. We found that Rosie, my mom, FIL, and I still don't quite weigh as much together as a 4-month-old (I think) elephant. That's a small consolation for the fact that the scale also said that I weigh 35 pounds more than I did in high school, which is 10 pounds more than my scale at home says and 25 pounds more than when I got pregnant with Rosie.

She was unimpressed with Baba's discovery.

At this point, Rosie needed a nap, but there were so many more animals I wanted her to see. We didn't have a chance to see the zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, Przewalski's horse (who has a foal!), or any of the reptiles, invertebrates, or small mammals; we didn't even come close to seeing the bears, seals, sea lions, or otters (my personal favorite). That's what next time is for, I guess.

But I still have one more favorite! That goes to...

5. Company

I asked Nate MANY times if he was ok with missing the kids' first zoo trip. He said, "Dad's camera is going to be going so frequently I'll just be able to flip through his pictures like a movie." That may not have happened, but it was awesome that so many of them came out to join us.

She caught on pretty quickly that digging her heels in and leaning back was a way to tell us she wanted to do it again. SIL on the left is enjoying Rosie's enjoyment.
Dude, I have no idea where we are. I just woke up in a new place.
I just like that they have the same expressions. BIL actually carried him for a pretty good long time.
Hi, Grandma!
Freddy and two of the veterans on Veterans Day.

So that was their first trip to the zoo! I can't wait to take them again to see the things we missed. Based on how Rosie acts when we go to the international grocery store, she's really going to enjoy the fish and swimming mammals.

Go see MoxieWife for more favorites and try not to gloat if you can make it to Austin for their Catholic Mama Drinking Party Conference!

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