Yesterday we embarked on an adventure, racking up a first not just for Bert, but for Keith too: a trip to the zoo! Now Keith can cross that off his bucket list. A couple months ago, we penciled ourselves into my Mom-mom and Grandpop's calendar for a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. Keith scheduled a vacation day, figuring a week day might be less crowded and more stroller-friendly than a weekend, and we crossed our fingers for good weather.
Zoo day dawned overcast and misty, but we packed up and headed out anyway, figuring even if it poured, a day of visiting certainly wouldn't be a lost day. Besides, the zoo has extensive indoors exhibits so it wouldn't be a total wash if it rained while we were there. We hit a little rain on our way to Mom-mom's house, but that was all we saw until we were headed back home. The sun even peeked out a little bit, but we all agreed that the overcast day actually made for a great zoo visit because we didn't get hot and sweaty walking around and were spared worrying about slathering Bert with sunscreen every hour.
Mom-mom and Grandpop are zoo members, so we had the VIP treatment, complete with free parking and breezing through the ticket line since members are allowed two guests with each visit (and Bert would be free anyway since he is under 2). We decided to concentrate on the outdoor exhibits first, saving indoor ones in case it rained but it never did so we just did the buildings towards the end of our visit.
The zoo thrilled us at every turn. Keith was especially taken with the bald eagles and the reptile house. I couldn't get over the primates, and Bert loved the flamingos. I think a combination of factors led to his fascination with big pink birds: he was well-fed and well-rested, after having eaten lunch and napping in his stroller, the flamingos were really noisy, and they were the brightest colored animal at the zoo so they were easy for him to see. It was hard to get a family shot because he was so busy pointing at them.
The avian building was really neat, with birds from all over the world and even an area where they fly and walk around you. One nearly took off Grandpop's head as it flew screeching across the room. Look how close Keith got to this little exotic duck.
Keith remarked that he expected the giraffes to be bigger, but we were all awed by how massive and tank-like the rhinoceros was.
When we got to the primate exhibit, there were swarms of kids around this gorilla backed up to the glass. He ignored everybody until the kids wandered off and this little girl came up and started making monkey noises behind him.
Bert and Keith got up close and personal with a peacock (there were a number of them roaming freely about the zoo.)
And Bert liked watching this pacing bear. Must have been getting close to dinner time because he was one antsy bear.
We saw a lot of what the zoo had to offer, and Bert held up really well for what turned out to be a pretty long day, having spent about five hours at the zoo. We were really pleased with how accessible everything was (there were a few spots where they asked patrons to leave strollers outside because of limited viewing areas), how clean and well-kept the grounds were, and of course, the variety of animals. Next time we would probably pack lunch, but there are a number of concession stands and they give you plenty of food. We were a little sad that the Philadelphia Zoo no longer has elephants, but they are turning the elephant house into a large children's zoo area with lots of animals that can be touched and educational exhibits so we are excited to go back and see that when it opens sometime next year.
I think Bert was just happy to see some real animals for a change, instead of me waddling like a penguin or making monkey noises while scratching my armpits.
Thanks to Mom-mom and Grandpop for a wonderful day!