Summer Outing #1: MN Zoo

I’m hoping to have many of these as the summer begins, but one never knows. This summer I am going to attempt to plan one big outing a week. I’m not sure if I can handle much more!

Today was one of the nicer days we’ve had recently, and while the kids probably would have been content just playing at the park, I wanted to try a big outing to see how we all did. After Wednesday not being so great (think pouring rain, three kids, stroller, in/out of car for swimming lessons, forgetting essentials for said swimming lessons… that’s how it began), I was geared up and ready to make Thursday better!

I packed up all I thought we could possibly need…

  • a picnic lunch and all the necessary utensils
  • changes of clothes and towels for after the splash pad
  • play shoes for playing in the splash pad
  • three sets of clean underwear, shorts & socks for Vivian
  • sunscreen & sun hats
  • and the usuals… diaper bag, etc.
  • I also had to pack all we needed for swimming lessons!

We had a great time!

We started with lunch. We ate out in the parking lot. I figured since it was already after 11 (Mac had swimming lessons in the morning), the kids were ready to eat, and so was I, and then we wouldn’t have to take up space in the stroller for the lunch stuff.

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Then we greased up with sunscreen (yes, Mom, ALL of us), put on our hats and good walking shoes, and headed in to the zoo! We did spend a good deal of time checking out the various restrooms and giving Vivian every opportunity to stay dry… and she did! We started out at the Family Farm. The timing seemed right to get to see them milking a cow. We also visited the goats – inside the “contact area” – and the chickens and rabbits.

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Then we walked slowly and quietly back towards the entrance. I wanted Josie to sleep, which meant skipping the playground near the farm entrance. I told Mac we could stay longer if Josie could go to sleep. There were no arguments – he even helped try to keep Vivian quiet! We stopped to see the giraffes and prairie dogs, and I wanted to spend some time watching the grizzly bears who were about to be fed, but the kids weren’t very interested. For some reason, Mac was determined to get back to the building to see the penguins! Josie did fall asleep, and Mac and Vivian got a chance to play at the splash pad for a while. Then we changed clothes and headed inside for a treat and to see the penguins.

By then, Josie was awake, and I wanted to give her some time to get out of the stroller, so we went to Discovery Bay where the aquatic animals are. The kids love to get close to the pools they have open. Remember before when I said I had thought of everything and I was so prepared for the day? Well, leave it to Mac… I was NOT prepared for him to FALL IN THE TIDE POOL!! Yikes! He didn’t get completely soaked, but it was close. He was not hurt or scared, just startled. And wet! Luckily I had towels. It was like slow motion as I watched him lean over the wall and touch the water, and lose his balance reaching too far. Priceless! Unfortunately for him, the next thing he asked to do was ride the monorail. I had no more dry clothes and was not going to take him on there wet. Maybe next time, buddy.

It was time to head home. I was tired, they were tired, as was starting to be displayed in all of our behaviors. Vivian had not napped. We actually lasted much longer than I thought we would because Josie took a good nap in the stroller. But we were ALL done – it was after 4:00 and we left the house at 9:00!

Both Mac and Vivian fell asleep when we were almost home, so I drove around for 10 minutes to give them a bit of a power nap to get us through the evening. Jeremy was not going to be home, and they were in great need of baths, so it wasn’t going to be a very early night.

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Overall, it was a great day! And I did get a feel for what we’ll be able to do together this summer. Vivian does just fine without a nap if there is activity, but we probably shouldn’t do anything like this two days in a row. Josie will sleep for a long time in the stroller if the environment is right. I really can’t have them all out of the stroller at the same time anywhere they have the ability to go in separate directions. Mac is getting to be a super duper helper!

Mac helping buckle Vivian in the stroller:
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Mac helping Vivian climb up to see the penguins:

And a little easter egg for this post… Later that night at dinner, as Mac was talking about falling into the pool, he described it to me as him being “brave” and “diving in” to the water. He was so proud that he was “brave” and didn’t mind getting water in his eyes. He claimed that because of that, the next day he’d be able to dive into the water at swimming lessons and it wouldn’t bother him. We’ll see about that!


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