So I thought I had this whole zoo-trip thing figured out. We were capitalizing on a rare break in the heat and humidity to make a trip to the zoo. We had the “homeschooler advantage” meaning most schools were winding down, but too late in the year to be taking big field trips to places like…the zoo.
We waited until later in the morning to hit the road, knowing that if we left too soon we would hit traffic in both Baltimore and DC. And the trip was smooth sailing. But I should have known, when we arrived at the zoo, parked in the very last parking lot (since all the others were full) and had to loop for twenty minutes before a space finally opened up, that maybe my plan wasn’t so perfect after all.
Turns out the zoo was packed. Who these people were, I have no idea, but they were all at the zoo. Families. School groups. Boys and Girls clubs. Nursing home residents.
We also arrived at the zoo at just about high noon. What do animals do in the heat of the middle of the day? Well, they go into the cool, dark shade and sleep, that’s what!
There were no tigers. Just Mallards floating through their pool. We have mallards at home, people. The lion was sound asleep, in the shade. So still and quiet, the kids didn’t believe that he was real. The monkeys were nowhere to be found. The river otters were deep in their holes. The elephants. Well, there were elephants. That was a success.
But there was a carousel. Full of every single animal we should have been seeing at the zoo. So we rode the carousel and loved it. And of all the exotic animals to ride, two of my children, I’ll let you guess who, chose to ride the horses. (*Emma*cough*Birdy*cough*)
As we were walking out of the zoo, late in the afternoon and making our way to the car, we noticed that the zoo traffic had completely thinned out. The weather was cooling off. The breeze was picking up. Animals were moving out of the cool of their dens to come out and romp and play. School groups were gone. The littlest kids were home taking naps. It was the perfect time to be at the zoo. Just as we were leaving.
So next time, when we get motivated to do this again, we’re leaving the house at lunchtime. Packing dinner. And staying until they kick us out in the evening.
And promise me, if you do go soon, you’ll play this gem for your kids the night before. It was in my head all day long: