Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Doing the zoo

I ignored the predictions of the weather people and the reality of the radar this morning in order to keep my word to David. I told him last night, when the forecast was more favorable, that we would go to the zoo. Anxious to hold on to every last bit of summer, I couldn't imagine wasting a 78-degree and sunny day indoors. And with his new enthusiasm regarding anything animal related, he was giddy with anticipation. I couldn't disappoint him.

So we threw the umbrella in the car and headed downtown. When we arrived, the skies cleared for a bit, but then rain began falling again just as we walked in the gate and surrendered our tickets that were clearly marked with "no refunds, no pass outs allowed". We were committed.

So we started out with an indoor activity, the dolphin show, where David learned that dolphins sing, jump, and do tricks, and I learned never to take a two-year-old into a theater more than 5 minutes before the show starts. He did enjoy the heart of it, but spent the 15 minutes prior to the show attempting to run amuck, and the second half of the show begging to sit in the splash area. No way, I said, don't want to get wet. Little did I know that in a few minutes I would be quite wet anyway so that concern didn't really matter.

Forced by zoo rules to leave our stroller outside, we emerged from the theater to a drenching downpour and found it quite waterlogged. The cup holders looked more like rain gauges. I turned it over to drain before David climbed inside and we headed off to try to see some of the animals. The rain was letting up and I hoped that we might be able to salvage the day.

We walked deeper into the zoo grounds and headed out to the Plains exhibit. We barely made it to the giraffe area when the skies opened and DUMPED. It even hailed briefly as lightning crashed around us. We huddled under one of the kiosks as David yelled at me "see cows, see cows!" (he was insistent that this was the animal most worthy of his attention - come to find out that the Indianapolis Zoo doesn't even have farm animals anymore - this worried him more than the rolling thunder and the deluge). It was about the time that I discovered my DSLR was wet and would not power on that I decided this outing was about the worst idea ever.

But that was the turning point. We were both wet, but thankfully not cold, so why be scared of a little more rain? So even though the clouds didn't actually lift, our spirits did, and we ended up having a great day.

We had a lunch, pretty good for theme park standards, at the zoo's cafe. David ate great and looked over the map while he ate, planning what animals he wanted to see.

Then we headed back out to the Plains to see what we had missed earlier. The animals were really active and there was almost no one else there. I set up a series of self-timer shots at the cheetah exhibit (with my resurrected camera, it's condition improved at lunch along with my attitude) and I captured a wonderful moment as a cheetah unexpectedly approached us on the other side of the glass.  Look at David's face, especially in the second shot.  Priceless.

We went on to see elephants, lions, and rhinos. The giraffes weren't out due to the rain, so I consoled David by allowing him to run through a giant puddle (more like encouraging him, actually). Of course I spent the rest of the day backtracking and trying to explain that this is in fact not acceptable behavior. Oopsy.

Then we took a train ride. We were the only customers, but they took us anyway. David ate it up, especially the surprise close-up view he got of the giraffes eating hay. He was thrilled.

By the time we disembarked it was almost 1:30, and I was clearly pushing it as far as naps go. So we wandered toward the exit, hitting up a few final exhibits along the way. David's special request was to see bears, where we also met an odd young man that volunteered, unprompted, to take our picture. This picture cracks me up in so many ways - it looks like the bear wants to eat us, and David and I look concerned that the weird guy taking our picture might want to eat us, too. Neither actually happened, of course, and he didn't steal my camera either.  Phew!

Our final stop was the Oceans exhibit where David checked out lots of fish and water creatures, and even fearlessly touched a shark (which I didn't get a picture of because I needed both hands to prevent him from falling in there with them). He loved watching the seals, walruses, and dolphins swimming underwater.

I am so lucky to have days like this with David, just him and me, tourists in our own town. I know these days won't last forever, so I treasure each and every one of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a treasure chest full of memories you make for the most special little guy in the world! P

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