Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NC Zoo

There are too many pictures in my posts lately, but I just don't feel like spending the extra time to create collages for everything. So, prepare for another photo heavy post.

Spring Break 2016 is devoted to potty training the triplets. We are choosing to do the three day naked method, which means we are all confined to the house. I can't stand staying home all day, especially while wiping pee and poop off the floor and clapping and dancing over using the potty. Potty training is just not my thing. Anyway, I say all of this to explain why yesterday was our only chance to get out for the day. Thank God the weather was gorgeous so we could spend the day at the zoo.

Since the zoo is an hour and a half away, we typically only go twice a year. It only cost us $10 more to get a family membership so we splurged on that. I've been researching it and the NC Zoo membership includes free admission to several aquariums and nature centers, as well as half off at various science centers and children's museums. I definitely plan to make the most of our membership!

It's always a debate whether to park on the North America side or Africa side. I was most excited about the polar bears, so we parked in North America and began our journey. The bears were swimming and walking around. 

Our next stop was the play area. While I was eager to see the animals, the kids had been stuck in the van for a long time, so we wanted them to burn off some energy. There was a fun "mud area" and splash pad. Since we had a long day ahead of us and no change of clothes, we prevented the kids (i.e. James) from exploring this area too much.

There was a series of really cool bridges you could walk across to get an aerial view of things.

Adjacent to the Nature Play area is a somewhat more traditional playground with slides and nets. This proved to be equally fun for everyone except Maddie.

We continued the tour of North America with black bear and grizzly bear sightings. The kids have seen black bears a few times while visiting the mountains (in various nature preserves, not in the wild!) and were unfazed.

There is a neat exhibit on bees. They even let you sample local honey. With Jackson's terrible allergies, I considered buying their entire stock to try to desensitize Jackson from the pollen.

While Jesse and I have been to the NC Zoo many times, neither of us had ever been inside the desert.

It was to be expected--lots of cacti, snakes, scorpions, etc. There was an adorable sand cat (not pictured) running around in a glass exhibit. The cat generated the most excitement and conversation from the trio.

After many hills and an exhausting walk, we stopped for a picnic lunch at the junction between North America and Africa. It was so crowded, we asked if we could sit at a table with some strangers. Technically you aren't supposed to bring outside food, but everyone does. We feasted on pb&j, cheez-its, grapes, yogurt, and cookies.

Once in Africa, Jesse became child-like with his excitement over the baboons. We spent a long time watching the primates interact.

A mama baboon kept picking up her baby baboons by the tails and swinging them around.

We toured the animals of the savannas, including the giraffes, lions, and zebras.

The elephants always prove to be entertaining, mostly because of the helicopter kids can climb inside. James was most excited about the helicopter. We had to carry him out crying because he didn't want to leave.

The NC Zoo is very spread out and requires a lot of walking. Most people who visit both continents choose to walk across, then take the tram back to where they parked. Because Jesse and I had the wagon, stroller, and four kids, we thought it would be easier to just walk back. I'm not sure that was the case, but we took turns pulling the wagon and pushing the stroller.

Our energy was fading quickly and I was over it after a particularly long stretch of hills. We stopped to rest, rehydrate, and have a snack.

James and Amelia were deliriously silly. They kept wrestling, giggling, and tickling one another.

Jesse was eager to get home, but I asked to stop and see the polar bears again on the way out. We ventured to the lower level to get a different view of the bears. Maddie got a uniquely close up view of the mammoth creature! This was my favorite photo of the day.

Our final stops were to purchase cotton candy with the kids' Easter egg money,

then walk through the marsh to watch the alligators.

We ended up spending five hours at the zoo, plus three hours in the van. All four kids slept the entire way home, which was a much needed, but very late nap. We returned home just after six. Thankfully we had enough leftovers for dinner.

The only thing I regret about our day trip to the zoo was not wearing sunscreen!

Now, back to potty training hell...


  1. LOVE the picture of Amelia and Maddie looking at the baboons (I think). Asheboro zoo is so pretty. I want to go back (we've only done the African side) but I don't know who will want to push me that far in a wheelchair.

    We took Brycen to Riverbanks zoo last Friday. It is flatter, and I actually only used the wheelchair a couple times (I hate being pushed around with no control over where we are headed)!! But Riverbanks is small, and I hate that the animals have to live in such unnatural, small enclosures. Plus the place itself is turning into a circus of rope courses and climbing walls - NO! Spend money on larger animal enclosures! As I write this I realize I was at Roverbanks with YOU GUYS - 3 years ago? That place has changed in 3 years!

  2. We used to go to Riverbanks in the fall or spring, then NC Zoo in the opposite season. Since we have the membership, we'll likely stick to Asheboro, which is fine by me. If I want a closer view of animals, I really love Zootastic. They adopt neglected and endangered animals to rehabilitate. And they have a free Teacher Day every June with a cookout and free admission for the whole family.

    I can accompany you to NC Zoo anytime this summer. Besides the good company, I'd much rather push a wheelchair than pull a 100 lb wagon!