We went to the zoo this past weekend and had a GREAT time! Reagan and Maddie are at the perfect ages to really enjoy 2-3 hours of the zoo (which is the max amount of time you can spend at the zoo in Des Moines, really). It's not a big zoo and they are missing several "key" animals (like elephants, bears, zebras, hippos and rhinoceroses), but this doesn't matter much to my little ones who were just thrilled to see what they could. The giraffes and lions were their favorites.
It was a little chilly, but it felt nice as we got moving along. Maddie did have to wear a hat because smallfry has hair but not much of it. Her nickname at home is "fluffy" because of her wispy curls :)
Now, you may remember last year when Reagan had a stare-down with the tiger. Spooky stuff. They changed the tiger viewing area a bit and made the window part of a jeep of sorts. Maddie was sitting in the jeep thinking that was just fine and dandy when the tiger started coming up to the window. I (stupidly) said, "Oooooo...Maddie! Here comes the tiger! He's gonna get you!" Seriously, any idiot can see what's coming next. Yes, my poor poor little baby girl FREAKED OUT. Can you blame her? I can't. I felt awful. Reagan, fearless one that she is, was thrilled and said, "Hi Tiger! Hi there! Can you get me?!" Sigh...
The petting zoo was a HUGE hit. Reagan and Maddie had a blast feeding the llamas and goats.
Going to the zoo with a child is one of those things that slows you down and forces you to see the joy and wonder of creation. So many times Reagan would be just thrilled by the simple actions of a sea otter or a monkey or Maddie would stare in wonder at a lion drinking out of a pool and I would catch myself and say, "You know, this really is amazing." And it is. I was flat-out astounded by how different each and every animal was. It's just unreal. The same God who made the giraffe with it's bizarrely long neck and wobbly legs made the tiger in its graceful vigilance. He made an ostrich with its weird body and a neon blue tree frog. He made scorpions that glow in the dark - are you kidding me? He made birds in the brightest hues I have ever seen and tiny brilliant fish (hi Nemo). It was just utterly breathtaking at times to round a corner and see something else completely new and wonderful in its very own way. I am so thankful that my children are continuing to teach me to slow down and SEE.