I'm not sure if it was overly wise of us to attempt to go to the zoo on Memorial Day, but we braved the crowds anyway and visited the zoo in hopes of seeing the otters and the new bear exhibit. Of course, no trip to the zoo would be complete without first riding the funicular, and since Bryson hadn't ridden it yet we were happy to oblige. Once at the top, though, Bryson pulled an audible and took us down a different path than we usually take. We walked near the waterfal, so close that Baylor had to plug his ears at the sound of it.
We wandered around a bit and finally made our way over to see the otter exhibit. They have a new otter in addition to their old one, and seeing the two of them together was really fun. At first they were just grooming each other up on the rocks, but they soon went for a swim, delighting the kids to no end.
For whatever reason, I love the exhibit with some of the weirder animals in it. The capybara wasn't there today, but the tapir and the horned screamer were there just chilling and watching the crowds walk by. One guy whistled at the bird and got it to scream a little, which was pretty awesome.
Mollie was hoping the flamingos would be there, and sure enough she got her wish. They were, however, unbelievably stinky today, and we didn't end up staying long.
Besides, the kids were hungry and needed to stop for a raisin break. I thought for sure I was dressing them too warmly, but as it turns out the weather forecast was really off for today and it ended up being about ten to twenty degrees colder than they had originally predicted. Yikes!
After the raisin break, we checked out the baboons and some funny-looking birds when one of us asked, "Does anyone want to ride a camel today?" not at all expecting an affirmative answer. Needless to say, we were all shocked when Mollie said cheerfully, "I do!"
So we did.
Mollie and I each had our first camel ride today, and I have to say, her seat was much more comfortable. FYI, the hump of a camel is not as soft or forgiving as one might think.
She did amazingly well, even when a guy started to walk us around instead of the girl she was expecting. I was so thrilled she enjoyed it and was totally riding a high of seeing my daughter, typically timid around animals, be so brave when she pulled out another surprise ...
She wanted to pet the pygmy goats! Whaaaaaaat?!
And she did! She pet two goats, one of which had some pretty decent horns. She was actually enjoying it all until she saw one of the goats start to chew on a dad's shorts, then she high-tailed it out of there; one thing Mollie is not down with is animals messing up clothing. (She once said she really wanted a dog and when I told her that a dog might slobber on her dress, she immediately retracted her request. The girl is serious about her clothes.) But she enjoyed it all the same, and it made me so proud of her to see her so brave.
Baylor was anxious for both our close-up animal encounters, particularly the camel ride, but he didn't freak out about it and was just glad to have us back safe and sound.
We finished out our time at the zoo, making sure to visit the tropical house, Baylor's favorite exhibit. The ride home was good, but sadly we'd been at the zoo past our usual lunch time and the kids were beyond hungry and got pretty upset as a result.
Regardless, it was a pretty amazing time full of unexpected firsts and lots of exploration. Can't ask for much more than that!