What happens when you resolve not to take any pictures.

We, at Casa de Katie – we’re spoiled. To our credit, we do know this. We have a membership to the city zoo and we use it frequently, dipping in for short visits to specific exhibits and spending long, lazy mornings walking the park. Because we’re there so frequently, I have, I imagine, nearly every shot of every animal that one could possibly take. I’m lucky to have photo markers of how quickly my children have grown as they first toddled next to and then towered over their favorite statues. Zoo pictures? WE HAVES THEM ALL.

When we went on Saturday with Auntie Kim, I figured my camera would stay tucked away. But then…

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 Bee was all tickled that Mr. Zebra trotted right over to her to say high. “He’s wondering why you’re all pink stripey and undercover,” I told her. She giggled and looked at me like I was crazy…but I saw the wondering creep into her eyes before she turned away. Zebras are her new favorite animal, by the way. Coincidentally. Thought that was important to note.

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The baby giraffe (Bee’s former favorite animal, but still the one she would try to smuggle out of the zoo [what? don’t you play “what animal would you try to steal today” when you go to the zoo?] so she could ride on its back) was all wobbly and kept falling over as he bent over to nibble some grass. And Elephant Baby Daddy (the baby elephant is the animal I would try to smuggle out, if you’re wondering) was all a-splishin’ and a’splashin’ as he climbed out of the pool. And then immediately went over to rub dirt on his back. Because he’s related to my childrens, that’s why.

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The tigers were even all prowly, walking back and forth over the plank and hopping from one level to the next. We got out of there (and moved on to red slushies, nats) before the tigers decided to move to Phase 2: Jail Break. Because one time when the girls were toddlers, the Siberian Tiger leapt at the glass and maybe roared a little – in the back of its throat, not even – and Auntie Kim threw down the one-year-old and ran. She jokes that she’s not “fight” or “flight” – she’s a “freeze”. My ass. You give her the right circumstances and she “flights” just fine, thanks.

 

 

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When we got to the petting zoo area, I looked around for the armadillo, but he wasn’t out. Kim complains that she hasn’t seen a (live) armadillo ever, and I swear every time she isn’t with us, there’s one out at the zoo. So I casually asked one of the zookeepers if the armadillo was tucked away and they said it was so hot out that she wasn’t on display. But! Because my zoo is the awesome-est zoo that ever zooed, they said if it was under 100°, they could bring her out for a few minutes. We lucked out – it was only 98°, and so we got our own private armadillo demonstration. The girls (and Auntie Kim) got to pet the armadillo and ask questions. How cool is that?!

 

 

 

 

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We all took our traditional photos in front of the MOLA sign, including the most formal pic of Kim and I ever taken (/sarcasm)…

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MOLA! So! Auntie Kim hadn’t ever been inside. It’s the Museum of Living Art installation, and it’s AMAZING! It’s filled with snakes and frogs and lizards and fish and all sorts of amphibious wonders. We got to touch a rat snake and I pointed out to Bee how to tell if an animal was poisonous or not (there’s a code on the description next to the display) and explained the difference between a viper and a python (one will kill you by biting you; one by squeezing you), which Bee thought was the coolest. thing. ever. Scary, she is.

 

 

 

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BABY FLAMINGO!! Just because.

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Oh! And what, to my kids, is the coolest secret path ever. We found it a while back when we were walking to the car along the edge of the parking lot. I convinced them it was an escape route for the animals, and at the time they believed me. At ten and eight, they’re old enough to know I’m joking… Mostly. They scurried back to the car pretty quickly when I called them.

So that was it. Our very normal, routine, funnest trip to the zoo so far. Only to the be topped by the next one. Privilege is grand, and if my kids ever forget to be thankful for it, I’ll feed ’em to the animal of their choice.

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