FYI, Jackson likes blogging. Every night when he sees me blog he sits beside me and says, "Can I tell you about my day now?" In this post, things that appear in italics (and aren't grammatically correct) are Jackson's interjections.
Today was the annual Teacher Appreciation Day at Zootastic. I took the trio and Jack by myself last year while Jesse interviewed for a teaching position at the middle school. Thinking back, it's hard to remember life a year ago, when we were uncertain about where Jesse would be working and the trio couldn't even walk yet.
We tried to leave as soon as possible, but we still didn't get to the zoo until 10:30. Jackson fell asleep on the 45 minute drive.
Zootastic's Teacher Appreciation Day is exceptional. It provides zoo admission, a wagon ride, lunch, and a show--all free of cost! The amount of walking made strollers necessary, though the thick gravel, dirt, and hay made it difficult to maneuver. As soon we entered the park, James and Amelia began pointing and yelling at the colorful birds.
"I got to stand right in the middle of the birds. Well, Daddy helped me. I didn't know which spot to stand, so Daddy lift me up. There were two pretty birds. They were orange, blue, red, and green."
Almost every exhibit had feeding stations. We only picked one area to purchase feed, but we watched strangers feed the animals. You could feed the tiger raw steak on a giant skewer.
My favorite zoo animal is the giraffes. The kids did not share my enthusiasm.
"I did not like seeing the giraffe. I was just tired."
There was a barn full of animals that you could feed. We purchased a $2 cup of food and took turns feeding the llamas, rabbits, pony, etc.
Only the boys were brave enough to let the animals eat out of their hands. Amelia enjoyed watching the animals up close. Maddie sat in the stroller and wished she was anywhere else.
"We even feed the animals. There was a porcupine and a peacock on the way out. And we saw a bunny in there."
The only thing I didn't do last year was take the kids on the wagon ride. Since strollers are prohibited, it was impossible for me to hold three wiggly infants and Jackson on a 45 minute wagon ride. I was excited to experience the ride and see the animals closer than I ever have before. We befriended the people sitting across from us right away, and learned that they lived in Jesse's hometown, attended the same college as us, and their brother/son has triplets just three months younger than ours. Small world!
"On the wagon ride we took a picture. Well, someone took a picture of us. I was in between Daddy and Mommy. We saw the pig. The pig was like, "Wait! Wait! Don't go. I just go here."
"Mommy bought us a fan at the store in case I get hot., even though I wore my hat and sunglasses. Daddy had a hat and sunglasses, too. Of course Clifford was there. "
At one point we were bombarded by cattle with fierce horns. James was unfazed.
I was a bit more surprised. Look at this bull's crazy eye!
We were able to see the Asian water buffaloes. There was a mama with her three day old baby behind the rock.
After the wagon ride we waited in a short line to receive lunch. They served hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, slaw, chips, and drinks. All six of us had a full plate.
"At playing time there were tons of playgrounds. There were big slides."
Maddie genuinely did not enjoy animals up close. The only time I saw her run around and smile was after lunch on the play sets.
We were scheduled to attend a 1:30pm show. In hindsight, we should have let the kids continue playing in the shaded playground and skip the show. The presentation was interesting, but it was too hot, too crowded, and too close to nap time for the kids to enjoy it.
"We saw a show. It had a bird and a snake. The man had gloves and white shirt. The man kissed all the animals."
"Millie just keep biting the fan."
We did not make it through the entire presentation. We made a somewhat quiet exit, took a final bathroom break, and walked back to the van. It was a long morning and all four kids were asleep in a matter of minutes. We took a detour through Lake Norman State Park, and returned home around 3:30. I am so appreciative of free entertainment, educational experiences, and time to spend together as a whole family!