FriendsFamily / Grandkids Visit July 2006
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Being the most hot & humid weekend of July 2006 did not deter us from taking Caden and Nina to the zoo. Last time they spent a couple of days with us, we had taken them and they had loved it. Caden (and we) were looking forward to it this time, so we decided to go anyway, and got there fairly early in the day hoping it wouldn't be too unbearable.
Last time we visited the zoo, we missed a couple of areas --- even though the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is not all that large, there was more to do than a couple of toddlers (and us old geezers) could handle in one visit. So, this time we figured we would start in the area we missed last time, the African Veldt. We hadn’t told Caden of our plan, but as we were preparing to go and on the way there, all Caden talked about was wanting to see the giraffes (which, fortunately, are in the African Veldt).
Caden was wearing the shirt we got him while we were in Orlando, the one that says “I have to hide my candy from my mommy” (see this Yahoo! blog entry for an explanation). As we were getting ready to go into the zoo, I decided to take a picture of him wearing it. Though the picture looks like I tried to get artsy and use soft focus; it was just the lens fogging up --- after being in an air conditioned house and car all day, suddenly hitting hot muggy air fogged up the lens.
We headed straight for the African Veldt and got in the little “safari jeep” that took us back to see the giraffes. Along the way, we saw an ostrich, several zebras, and some storks or flamingos or whatever. We wandered around the African village to visit all the monkeys and birds, and a zoo volunteer told us (and several kids) all about ostriches --- Caden and I even got to touch a real ostrich egg. On the way back to the main part of the zoo, Caden got to drive the safari jeep. He was quite intense, keeping his eyes fixed on the road.
We got a bucket of popcorn and set it in the stroller with Nina (assuming we could all share from it); but the wise lady selling the popcorn also gave Caden his own bag to carry around. We then headed for the Indonesian Rainforest.
We stopped and watched the animal in one of the exhibits for a couple of minutes. As we were walking on, Caden said, “See, I told you they had a dinosaur here!” He had, indeed, mentioned several times that morning that he was looking forward to seeing a dinosaur; but we had told him there weren’t any dinosaurs at the zoo. We had just left the Komodo Dragon --- he knew what he was talking about all along!
In the midst of the Indonesian Rainforest is the orangutan exhibit. Last time, one of the orangutans had been sitting right next to the glass, and Caden and it sat staring at each other for quite a while. This time, however, they stayed well away from the glass, but were quite fascinating anyway.
Deep in the rainforest is a carousel, filled with rainforest animals to ride. Caden enjoyed riding up and down while grandpa, standing next to him, tried to keep a steadying hand on him while trying to keep from toppling outward himself!
By this time, Caden was expressing a desire to go home. As we were on our way out of the rainforest and nearing the central zoo area, we passed the Pony Ride. Last time we were here, it was closed; but, this time it was open! Caden got to ride the pony around the course twice, with grandma leading the horse. He thoroughly enjoyed it!
Nina, meanwhile, steadily ate almost all the popcorn in the bucket. She was happy as long as the bucket was by her side in the stroller. We foolishly tried to move it out a couple of times; but she would have none of that!
And that was it for Caden and Nina’s adventure at the zoo.
The day after the zoo, we all went to see the movie Cars. Both Caden and Nina sat fully engrossed in the movie, laughing and giggling often. Even grandma and grandpa couldn’t help but guffaw a few times!
Justice William O. Douglas