With the day overcast and cool for once (this has been the Summer in the Oven here), we decided to try the zoo. So we packed everybody up and merrily began our jaunt, which did really well until we almost arrived- everybody was hungry, car-weary, and the battery on the iPad gave out. We pulled over to get some food.
And that is when I decided to double-check when the zoo actually opened, to find it was completely closed on Sundays. Who ever heard of a zoo being closed on a weekend day in summer? Really?
So we took our $60 elsewhere (yep- we were going to shell out $60 to see a zoo. But you get to feed giraffes, people. We are totally going to try again on Friday.) That elsewhere was our old stand-by, Maymont. We re-upped our membership, and got down to business- which was wandering through the children's barn, through the little zoo to see the bear, and then hiking back up the hill, huffing and puffing because no one was expecting to be at Maymont, and no one brought a fan, water, or an inhaler.
One of the cool parts is the viewer, which (for a quarter) lets you see with the acuity and range of an eagle. Andy was especially excited, as his new powers of vision and focus let him really be able to use the thing. Joey balked as usual at having to use both eyes. We are totally having that checked out, as soon as we know we have the up-front fund to put down on the therapy.
They also liked the snow-cone stand, an especially vital feature when one has not brought a fan, water, or an inhaler. It's a very pleasant walk to the bottom of the little zoo, and very cool and lovely down there, but the humidity was a mess.
And did I forgot to mention that we were taking Sonic the Hedgehog and Luigi to the zoo? For some reason, as soon as they realized we were going adventuring, they both dressed in costume. Anxiety is a strange thing.
Joey as Luigi, with his stick for his air-writing.
Andy as Sonic the Hedgehog.
We did manage to see the bear, who was the biggest black bear I have ever seen- that thing must have been 300-400 pounds, it was definitely as hefty as me. Not a bear I'd want to meet in a dark forest with a fish in my pocket. Awesome creature.
Joey had some trouble picking out the animals from their environments, but he was happy to at least see this bear. And hug it.
As lovely as it was, it had to end. We didn't have tickets for the tram, so we had to trudge back up the little mountain, past the raptors, the fox, the bobcat... Andy was so excited to find the bobcat out on our way back! He usually hides in his den most of the day, especially hot days.
We finally arrived back at the car, so we could head for the Nature Center and cool off. It isn't a big center, but it is pretty nice, and full of aquariums, little activities, a hall with night animals, a beautiful discovery room, and Joey's favorite, the otters.
The volunteer brought out a snake for everybody to pet, which made Joey very happy. He loves handling snakes. I think he was kinda cold and smooth, but Joey was very excited. The volunteer was very patient with Joey, and I can't tell you how much that was appreciated! She was ever so sweet as Joey sat next to her with a toy snake, and started "interviewing" her as the snake. The two snakes had a very nice little conversation about being snakes.
We spent a nice long time watching the otters. They were doing a show when we first arrived, but once the tricks were over the otters were fed, the folks cleared out and gave us back our nice, quiet otter corner. We took some photos, and laughed about the otters wrestling and playing, and Joey followed them and played with them, and all was happy.
In watching them, as Joey started talking to me about them in his chatter-chatter-otters-are-awesome way, I noticed that the one otter now had the other firmly by the neck. I have watched enough nature shows to realize what this means- and obviously, after dinner and a show, otters get... um... frisky. Amorously frisky.
Lately, Joey has discovered the power of colorful metaphor, and his favorite word to use is the one that gets the most heads to turn. I was sorely tempted to have him turn around, and explain that every time he used that particular colorful metaphor, this behavior is what he was referencing. Fuzzy, frantic otter sex. Sorely, sorely tempted. But I was good, and didn't scar my child for life.
Instead, I decided to treat otters as I would have otters treat me, and discreetly maneuvered Joey back to the fish and snakes in the other room to give them a little--- ahem--- privacy. Besides, it was time to head home. We had two very tired boys.
But never fear- we managed to stop at the Russell Stover outlet on the way home.