Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saturday at the zoo

Steve and I both enjoy zoos and aquariums. Our first date was to the aquarium in Sandy, UT. Ever since, whenever we travel somewhere with a zoo or aquarium, we make sure to go.

I've been wanting to take Matt back to the Hogle Zoo since I think he was too young to appreciate it when we went last year. So, Steve and I picked this weekend to go up. Boy, we were sure glad that Salt Lake didn't get the rain Cedar did yesterday so we could have good weather at the zoo. That said, if it had rained, we planned on going to the aquarium as a backup plan. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and was absolutely beautiful - mildly warm but just cloudy enough to keep from being hot.

We invited my sister-in-law Rachel and her two boys to go with us. My brother is out of town for work or else he would have been invited too, of course. Her youngest is only a few months older than Matt and they play really well together. Her oldest is 7 and also plays well with Matt, who looks up to him a lot. I was really glad they came to the zoo with us.

We started by going on the train. In our experience, the train gets busier as the day goes on, so we always try to get to the zoo close to when it opens and then head right for the train. It has changed a bit since last year - the train now goes around the new Safari wildlife section before going to the mining camp and also has new wild horses. Matt loves trains but was not excited about being on one. He cried a few moments before it started up and I thought I was going to have to get off with him. Thankfully, I was able to calm him down, and once it started, he relaxed and enjoyed himself.

Steve and Matt in the front, Tim and Robbie (L to R) in the back
Just before the train started, so Matt isn't very happy.
After the train ride, we walked around the zoo, naturally. Steve and I had debated about bringing our little stroller for Matt. He's a good walker but when he doesn't want to walk, he wants me, and only me, to carry him. It wears me out. However, when we went for a family walk last week with the stroller, he didn't want to ride in it but to push it. He's a horrible driver. In the end, we took the stroller and had mixed success. He rode in it at times but then it was a bit of a pain to have to keep taking him out of it to lift him up to see the animals. I still ended up carrying him quite a bit. Oh well. At least I'm getting stronger and it's getting easier to carry him...usually.

I don't know if I have a favorite exhibit, but Matt seemed to love the seals and sea lions the most. To my surprise, the inside enclosure for the seals, sea lions, and polar bear was practically empty. Usually, it's packed with people. There were a good number of people at the zoo, but it certainly wasn't a busy day, which we liked. Matt wanted to stay and watch the seals and seal lions for a long time and was kind of irritated when we made him leave. It was also fun to see the lions, which are a new addition to Hogle Zoo. And, since the weather was cooler, a lot of the big cats were up and about instead of sleeping like they usually do in the summer heat, so we were able to see most of them in action.

Okay, so I do have a favorite attraction, but it's not the animals. It's the carousel! Whenever we go somewhere with a carousel, I have to ride it. Steve has always been very gracious about going on them with me even though he doesn't love them like I do. Matt isn't a lover of them least, not yet! My boy is definitely timid when it comes to moving things. I figure he just needs more exposure to carousels and will someday enjoy them as much as me. Or not and will be big enough to refuse to go on them. Then he and Steve can wait for me while I ride. This time, I rode on a hippopotamus, my favorite wild animal. Steve and Matt rode on a bench. Matt refused to ride on an animal, even with me, but he did fine on the bench.

Matt and Steve on the bench before the ride.
Rachel, Tim, and Robbie are behind.

It was a fun morning at the zoo. I had hoped all the walking, sun, and fun would wear Matt out and he would sleep in the car on the 45-minute ride back to Rachel's house, but he didn't. Nor did he take a nap back at the house. Nope, he chose to fall asleep in the car 30 minutes before we arrived back in Salt Lake to go to dinner with some friends of ours that were recently stationed back at Hill AFB. So, he was a grumpy Gus for awhile until he remembered how much he likes the two boys (one teenager and the other a preteen) who are so good with Matt. Then we had fun eating and walking around downtown Salt Lake - with me carrying Matt most of the time. *smile*

When we arrived back at Rachel's, the boys were still awake, waiting for us. Robbie had wanted to play a video game with me and had been disappointed we were gone so long. So, I played Mario Brothers with him for awhile (I'm awful at it) then everyone played around until we finally got the boys to bed. Matt didn't fall asleep until 10pm! Of course, that didn't mean he slept in this morning. Instead, he was awake around 5:30 due to a developing head cold. Poor guy. Fortunately, he didn't sleep in the car on the ride back to Cedar and is having a really good nap even as I type this post.

We had a fun weekend. I'm always grateful for the wonderful people we have in our lives. We are certainly blessed with good friends and family.

Julie :)

Matt and Tim playing with the "water ball" near the zoo entrance.


Cassie said...

You were in my neck of the woods and didn't call me?

Sarah P said...

Fun! We never did take our boys to Hogle Zoo. I learned that the Washington DC zoo is free. How cool is that? Of course, it might be some time before we are able to go there.

tearese said...

looks like a lot of fun! Last time we went to the zoo- I think it was that same one- Jonah probably wasn't even born! The nearest one to us here is in Bismarck, but i think it only has North American animals, so no lions, tigers, elephants, etc. Oh well.