June 11, 2011

Birds at the Memphis Zoo
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
Everyone slept well last night (we usually do at hotels-knock on wood).  The kids were moving slowly this morning until we mentioned breakfast downstairs.  For some reason, breakfast at a hotel can get everyone moving quickly.  We sat right by the water and ducks and the kids were still enamored with the ducks.  Breakfast was excellent-Robby had an omelet, I had sausage, potatoes and egg.  The kids had fruit loops, donuts, french toast sticks, eggs, sausage and lots and lots of juice.  After breakfast we ran back upstairs to potty before heading out-as you can imagine we needed to after all of that juice.
When we made it to the Memphis Zoo this morning, Anderson exclaimed “the Dallas Zoo.”  We have a book with our picture in front of the Dallas Zoo that he looks at so it must have been on his mind.  We were there as the gates opened and used our LR zoo pass to get a discount for admission.  The boys wanted to see the hippos, Reagan wanted to see the Panda bears and I wanted to see the Polar bears. We started off working our way towards the right side.
We saw the flamingos and the kids couldn’t get over the number tags on their legs.  Next was a crocodile but Graham just thought it was a statue and was not impressed at all.  Then we had a long, very long haul up to the Teton Trek. 
When the tram passed us and it was a little after 9 and I was pushing a double stroller and dripping wet with sweat, I was concerned that it was going to be a very long and hot day.  Actually it was very decent even though it was hot.  There was lots of shade, lots of indoor places, lots of seating and Robby kept finding lots of icees!  So it all worked out well.
The Teton Trek was wonderful.  It so reminded us of our trip to Yellowstone.  They had a geyser that the kids played in.  You should have seen them jump when the huge, Old Faithful geyser went off.  Campbell had to have her shoes off but barely got her feet wet in the water-she probably needed only a few more minutes to warm up and then she would have been soaked.
Behind the geyser, they had the replica of the Old Faithful Inn.  Not only was the air conditioner on inside but it was cold.  We could have stayed there for a very long time except that had recordings of wolves howling and this unnerved the boys a bit.  We sat inside for awhile and then ventured upstairs and sat on the rocking chairs enjoying the view.  After seeing the Teton Trek at the zoo today, Robby is actually planning a big trip to Yellowstone and has even mentioned buying a station wagon.  And now he has just booked rooms at Old Faithful Inn about a year in advance.
After the lodge, we saw the grizzly bears and it was a very impressive exhibit.  We watched them swim for the longest time right in front of us.  Then we climbed the hill and walked over the exhibit and near their waterfall that they play in.  Very, very cool.
We walked and saw more animals on our way to the polar bears and sea lions.  You were able to be inside and from one side see the polar bears swim and from the other side see the sea lions swim.  The kids loved seeing the sea lions and would try to chase them from window to window.  Of course, they missed seeing them too much because the sea lions were always faster than them and had moved on by the time they made it to the window. 
The Hawkins met us at the sea lion show at 11.  It was pretty impressive and just the right amount of time for the kids.  I heard Campbell clapping and was pleased that she was watching the sea lions.  But no, she was just clapping for herself because she had buckled the buckle in the stroller.  Silly girl.  I don’t know if she saw any of the show. 
At the end, Graham and Reagan went down by the edge and the sea lions swam by and just splashed all of the kids there.  They would squeal and had all water dripping off of them.  Next we saw the elephants, giraffes and zebras on our way to the bird house.  At the birdhouse, Robby bought some bird feeder sticks and I thought “sucker” but it ended up being pretty neat.  You could get the birds to sit on the sticks and eat the food.  Everyone got to hold multiple birds and really liked it (even though it was very hot in there). 
After the birds, we saw the hippos (not much there-hippos in water but they are going to do a new hippo exhibit and we will have to come back for that) and then the pandas.  Reagan really enjoyed the panda bears and could have stayed there longer.  The only other time we have been here is when Reagan was a few months old and we bought her a panda bear stuffed toy. 
During the aquarium visit, Campbell fell asleep but everyone else was very interested in the fish-found nemo, dory, a lionfish (which sent Anderson and Caleb into a frenzy), and a sting ray (which Graham wanted everyone to know that Grannymom has swam with). 
Then we headed on to my least favorite-the petting zoo.  Reagan and Anderson were the only ones brave enough to pet anything-a sheep.  But they had a miniature train to see and then we even rode the real train.  Robby stayed back with Campbell who was still snoozing and the train took us around the petting area 2 times.
We were nearing the end and had told the kids that we could do the playground and play in the water again but after the playground we told them we could have juice boxes and go swimming if we skipped playing in the water again.  They could have stayed on the playground forever.  After playing for awhile they were completely happy with that so we headed to the car.
Back at the hotel, we had leftover pizza for a snack since it was nearing 3 and we hadn’t had lunch and then we all took a nap-thank goodness I set my alarm or we might still have been asleep.  As soon as we laid the kids down and shut the door, we didn’t hear anything out of them.  Earlier, I said that breakfast wakes them up quickly but you just have to whisper the word “swimming” and they are up and in their suits in no time.
We swam for a bit.  It was still too cold so I stayed in the “hot pool” with Reagan, then Graham and occasionally Campbell who would only put her feet in.  After swimming, we came back upstairs for quick baths and then downstairs to meet everyone for supper.  We had BBQ at the Neelys and it was good.  We didn’t get the BBQ spaghetti but had sandwiches.  The kids devoured their grilled cheese and Campbell is a bean eater.  And she is also a show-off-when she had any one looking at her, she would put on a grand show for them-clapping, cup throwing, coughing, biting the tablecloth. 
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a local yogurt place and had a bit.  We must have gotten just the right amount this time because they kids ate all of theirs without any leftovers.  Then it was back to the hotel for pajamas, looking at the pictures and then bed.  We didn’t hear anything from the kids again tonight when we laid them down-they must be exhausted.  It has been a good trip and we will definitely be returning to the Memphis zoo soon.

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