On a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, we packed up a bag of extra clothes for the kids, diapers for Jake, and a cooler of drinks and headed to the Cincinnati Zoo. When I finally got everyone packed and into the car, locked the house up, and sat down in the passenger seat, Brad asked me if I brought directions. Well... I'm getting more and more like my father with age. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times we have gone on vacation, short and long trips, with nothing more than my dad's sense of direction and memory of a time that he had traveled this way before. Interestingly enough, we always made it, usually in pretty good time, but it was always a huge adventure. Most of the time, Cory and I would just hope that we wouldn't run out of gas before the next gas station (mainly because Dad was insistent that we could always make it a little bit further, ending in a negative result several times in our lives). Anyway... I told Brad that we could just follow the signs once we got to Cincinnati, that I thought I could remember it. Of course, he was skeptical and laughed, but went ahead and pulled out the driveway. So, we make our way to Cincinnati and start in the direction that we think we need to go. Obviously you can sense the foreshadowing here... why would I go into this much detail if there's not a funny story? Thirty minutes later and several right turns, left turns, and u-turns later, we pull into a gas station and I buy a map and ask for directions... the worst map I'd ever used and wrong directions. Some streets weren't labeled; other streets weren't even on the map. The directions led us to the University of Cincinnati, not the zoo. Thirty minutes passed and we're still trying to find our way. Bailey is getting impatient; Jake is getting restless. After assuring Bailey a few times that we were almost there, she says, "Hey mom... let me see that map for a minute." Brad and I, both completely frustrated by the crappy map and the inconsistent signs for the zoo, just die laughing. Like we're just going to turn around, give her the map, and she's going to tell us which way to go. I could totally envision her taking the map and telling us to go over the troll bridge, through the magical forest, and that's how we get to the zoo (for those of you who are Dora illiterate - that's an example of how the map would tell her to make it to the zoo). More than anything, I could see me 20+ years ago, looking at my dad when we were driving around some random city, telling him that I could read a map and figure it out, if he'd just give me the map. Sadly, if we were in the car today together, we'd probably have the same knockdown drag-out fight over which way to go. I had hoped that the days of fighting about which way to go were over... but clearly, I'm going to reap what I've sewn. :)
We finally made it to the zoo and were no worst for wear... probably a little more happy to be there than we would have been otherwise. The kids were very excited to see all the animals. Even Jake seemed excited - probably because he was wanting out of the car seat. We saw all of the animals at the zoo. Bailey's favorite was probably the white tiger, the gorillas, the polar bear, and the birds. The gorillas were probably my personal favorite. There was a little baby gorilla that acted just like Jake and we had a blast watching him. He would wander around, running back and forth for no apparent reason. He walked just like Jake, hitting his chest and head just like Jake does. Brad is now calling the gorilla Jake's long-lost cousin. :) Maybe we should think more about that evolution crap that I typically ignore. lol
Brad's personal favorite had to be the birds. There's a section of the zoo where you can go into a huge bird cage and feed the tropical birds. Bailey really enjoyed it when she was about Jake's age, so we thought, correction: I thought, it would be a lot of fun to take them in. Well, I am totally scared of most animals and told Brad that he had to come in too, since I'm too scared to touch or feed the birds. Lucky Brad. While we were feeding the birds, they decided to try out a new perch. One bird hopped up onto Brad's head and started nibbling on his hair. I was laughing too hard to try and help him, so I just took pictures. :) Of course, the story can't end there... another bird joined the first one. We'd get one moved and the other one would jump on him. Finally, both were on the back of his neck, fighting. It was completely hilarious to me and the kids. Brad didn't appreciate it as much, but he was a good sport.
By the end of the day, the kids were exhausted. Jake fell asleep sitting straight up and we had to move him to the backseat of the stroller to lay down, where he slept for about an hour. Bailey, on the other hand, threw a fit because she wanted her face painted and we were heading toward the parking lot. So, feeling guilty because I had told her we'd get it painted and hoped that she would forget, we took her back. A full face painting and 15 bucks later, she had transformed into a cat, even managing to say meow a few times. Five minutes after that and she was sleeping like a baby. Thank God Brad got pictures before it all smeared. :)
That was about it for our day... it was a good time and I'm thrilled that we were able to go. Sorry for writing so much, but there were just parts I felt like I couldn't leave out. I hope you enjoyed the pictures too!
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