Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Cleveland Zoo 2008

Today we spent our time enjoying 80 degrees and sunshine at the Cleveland Zoo. It was memorable for lots of reasons, including a fabulously fun train ride through the "Wallaby Walkabout", petting stingrays, and losing Bennett in the dark aquarium for a terrifying 2 minutes. (Don't worry, we found him. ;-)

A funny story:
Yesterday, I told Ben we were going to the zoo today. About 10 minutes later, we were watching tv, and he abruptly walked over the tv, turned the volume way down, and looked at me seriously.
This is how the conversation went:
Ben: "We've got to have a talk."
me: "Oh? About what?" (I was cracking up inside! Seriously? A four year old saying "We've got to have a talk." ?!)
Ben: "About going to the zoo, and all the animals we're going to see." After mentioning about 10 different animals, he said, "Alright. That's enough. We're all done, here." and turned the volume back up.
me: "We're all done? With what?"
Ben: "With all the talking. I'm going to watch tv now."

We met our friends Will, Courtney, Gabe, and Clara there. When we arrived, Will and Gabe had just finished a 5k run to benefit the Cheetahs at the zoo. Here's Clara and Xavier waiting patiently during the awards ceremony:

After the small ceremony (Gabe, age 8, came in first in the boys 14 and under division! Yay Gabe!), we were on to take in the sights.

Its humorous to me how young kids really don't discriminate their excitement for "normal" animals compared to "exotic" animals...
Example #1 -
me to Clara and Ben: "Look at the rhinos! They're so big! Listen to the sound that one's making!"
Ben: (excitedly pointing to the small pond in the middle of the rhino exhibit with 2 ducks swimming in it) "I see 2 ducks!!"
Clara: "There's ducks?! Where?!"

And here's Example #2:

Ben and Clara: "A chipmunk!!! He's under here!" (this was on our way to see the zebras and giraffes)

I took a similar photo as below about a year ago...I'll have to compare!

Here's Xavier watching Gabe, Clara, and Bennett climbing on a giant rope structure:

The zoo still has the same stingray exhibit from last year that allows you to pet these creepy looking animals as they swim past you in a giant, shallow tank. Xavier thought the rope netting of the enclosure was much more interesting though. He played with it for nearly 5 minutes.

It was hard to get Ben to move on. He'd say, "Look! That one's waving at me!" as they'd flap their bodies under his hand. He left shouting "Bye Stingrays! See you later!"

Will and Courtney left after lunch to go to a wedding, but Gabe and Clara stayed and came home with us. This wasn't really planned ahead of time, but it worked out to be a lot of fun. The boys love having their friends around.

The hands-down hit of the day was the train ride through the Australian animals exhibit. The small little steam engine and open cars bumped and squeaked along at just the right speed, so as to delight Xavier. He alternated between smiles and giggles to flat out screaming in delight.

There was a big finish to the ride too! As we neared the end, the train sped up quite a bit. We were all surprised how fast we went, and the kids were all laughing and smiling like crazy!

Xavier and I waited while Nick, Ben, Gabe, and Clara went down the "Snake slide".

We rode a tram up to the primates and aquarium, which Xavier thoroughly enjoyed.

There were a few play areas that were "must-stops". The kids wouldn't have it any other way. Gorillas? no. Playground? YES!

On the tram, back down the hill to the main part of the zoo.


Rachel said...

Very Fun Pictures. Looks like you all had a great time. I am so happy it turned out so well!

Melissa said...

I love all the new pics! Zoos are so much fun!

Teagansmama said...

I'm so far behind, but I thought I'd share that Teagan has similar conversations. In a stern voice, "Mama, look at me. I have something to tell you. It's serious. It's about (insert topic of interest)". :) Very funny.