Birthday 2007 dawned cloudy and a bit cool, so with our coats we headed out the door to the Detroit Zoo. The kids were in great spirits, most likely due to waking up to the surprise that Uncle Brent had somehow materialised in their home overnight, and were happy and chatty the whole half hour drive to the zoo. At the gate we met up with friends of ours and their little man, Christopher (14 months), and away we went.
First up - the geese on the side of the path. Figures...we go all the way to the zoo, pay to get in, and all they want to do is look at the non-zoo creatures. But, it is their birthday - so we spend a few minutes admiring the geese.
Next - Llamas. Up to this point they have figured out that we were "somewhere" and that we would see animals, but until they saw the Llamas in the enclosure I think they were just thinking that they would be seeing the same old things as at home. When they first caught sight of the Llamas, they started pointing and freaking out. Reaghan was calling out "Moo Moo" and Nixon was pointing and saying "Whats that?" (comes out more like 'whudya?'). They were transfixed - and had a fit when after a few minutes I started to push the stroller away.
The fountain was a big hit, as well as the anteaters (several giggles from Rea), but after a bit of a walk we hit the Arctic Exhibit. Being the non-conformists that we are, we enter the exhibit going the wrong way (Duh) so they saw the polar bears first off. Both kids enjoyed the bears, and I even got a 'Grrrr' or two out of them, but the highlight was the underwater view of the seals. Holy Smokes what a toddler magnet! All three kids were completely and totally impressed with the underwater views! In one area they had made a sort of glass bubble into the water that the kids could climb into to get a better view, and all three of them piled in to check it out. It was quite amusing to watch them try to figure out exactly how they were suddenly "in the water" without actually touching it. The way it was designed made it a little difficult to determine where the glass was, so they each tentatively reached out with their little hands until they found the barrier, then spent several minutes leaning up against it and checking out the seals as they swam past.
The seals were really cool. After leaving the little building we were in, we went around the corner to another area where you walked through a tube under the water and the seals swam all around you. Another toddler magnet. Nixon spent a good couple of minutes "petting" one seal was just kinda hangin' out on the side of the tube, and Reaghan would jump and clap every time a seal swam overhead. They loved it. I loved it as well because it was a mostly enclosed area, so as long as one parent stood sentry at either end of the tube it was okay to just let them run around and check it out. I would strongly recommend this to anyone with toddlers.
Off to the monkeys.
We have been pretty into monkeys lately. Monkey noises, monkeys jumping on the bed, monkey business...so needless to say the monkeys were an important visit. Unfortunately the monkeys just weren't in the mood to do much monkeying around. So they saw them, but that was pretty much it. In the gorilla enclosure we got a nice view of some material that may have not been appropriate for those under 18, but thankfully they are a bit young to understand the birds and the bees. I heard a few other parents telling their kids that they were "wrestling", or "playing a game". Hmm.
Lunchtime was a fiasco. I had purchased them little meals that came with a plastic tiger head about the size of a small lunchbox, and they loved these so much that they didn't hardly touch the lunch that came with it. I had a minor fit about the cost (7.50 each), but it did include a hot dog, chips, cookies, and a drink along with the much loved decapitated plastic tiger head - so I guess its okay. Besides, from what I hear on NPR the zoo needs all of the money it can get.
After lunch we made another quick stop at the fountain, and then it was time to go. I bought them both little stuffed monkeys with velcro hands at the giftshop and we called it a day.
Overall we all loved the zoo. We bought a family membership ($74.00) and I think we'll get alot of use out of it.
More to come on the birthday activities, as well as some pics. We purchased a new computer over the weekend, so I need to transfer all of our picture software to the new drive.