She Says… Z for Zebra

I took Owen on his first trip to the zoo on Sunday.

A few days prior I started prepping him for the trip, since he’s all about talking about when we’re going to do things these days (he’s been saying things like, “Birthday party tomorrow!” even if it happened yesterday, and ” Deedah Playground last weekend!” even though we go to the playground at least 6 or 7 times a week). He likes to list out the order of things. He takes a deep breath and winds up for a long sentence. “After… Trader Joe’s… playground… dinner… bathtime… bed!”. You can almost see the gears in his head turning while he tries to figure out what all of that really means.

I have no idea why he was so excited to see camels.

I asked him what letter he thinks the word “zoo” starts with, and he said, “Z Zebra”. Seriously?! How did he know that?!

When we saw pictures of animals in books I would ask him, “Do you think we will see a ____ at the zoo tomorrow?”. “OH YEAH!” he would reply. To be honest, even I wasn’t entirely sure what animals we were going to see, since I’ve never been to the zoo here in Boston. I grew up in Baltimore, which has an incredible zoo. Or at least I used to think so as a kid. There are a few different zoos around the Boston area, but my blog/Twitter friend (and now real life friend!) Mary Kate from Kitchenbelle invited me to join her and her daughter at the Franklin Park zoo. It’s in a very urban area, so I wasn’t really sure if they’d even have lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

In case you’re wondering, they had a lion, but no tigers or bears. And a jeep you could play in whose windshield looked right into the lion’s cage.

Side note: It’s kind of a shock to go from driving on packed city streets to seeing a sign for “Gorillas! Next left”. Or to be looking at a lion and hearing police car sirens going by. Don’t get me started on how wrong it seems to have wild animals living in the middle of the city, for a multitude of reasons… I’m trying to put that out of my mind and let Owen enjoy seeing these creatures up close.

After a little parking fiasco (I couldn’t believe you could park practically right outside the main gate… in Baltimore you’d have to park far, far away and take a shuttle bus to the door, so I drove right past the best parking spots and got totally lost in Boston assuring Owen we were “almost there” for 20 minutes while I looked for parking in all the wrong places), we finally arrived. Right inside the door? ZEBRAS. And a choo choo train. I think Owen’s little heart almost stopped from the excitement.

And there were gorillas. Creeeeeepy gorillas whose eyes seemed like they were looking right into your soul. I honestly don’t understand how people can look into a gorilla’s eyes and not believe in evolution. They are SO human-like.

Since we arrived right when the zoo opened, it wasn’t very crowded. There was tons of space for Owen and Mary Kate’s daughter to run around. Owen nearly gave me a heart attack when he veered off the path and did his patented “I’m going to run away from Mama as fast as I can” move, wiggling right through a crack in a fence (mercifully to a parking lot for zoo employees, and not an animal cage). I was only a few feet away, but he was going FAST. I dropped my stroller on the ground and ran after him, realizing as soon as I hit the fence that there was no way I was going to fit into the opening that he did. He must have heard the fear in my voice as I said, “Owen James. Stop walking right now. Turn around and come back. This is VERY IMPORTANT.”. He grinned and his eyes danced as he came right back to me. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE, FOR HAVING A CHILD WHO LISTENS TO DIRECTIONS (most of the time).

As a result of this little stunt, I wasn’t able to get very many pictures. Toddler wrangling, my friends, is a full-time job with this one.

The best part of all? We made it home with Owen happy and awake in the car so he could have a nice, long (if a little later than normal) nap in his crib.

Total success. I’m thinking a membership to the zoo just might be on Owen’s birthday wishlist!


12 responses to “She Says… Z for Zebra

  1. Evolution isn’t real. That’s why Jesus rode a dinosaur on Palm Sunday. Remember?

  2. I have to be honest and say I had a FULL-FLEDGED heart attack when Owen snuck behind that “authorized personnel only” gate! Serious kudos to you, Kate, for handling the situation so calmly! Owen is so funny–what a curious little guy! (And a good little listener.)

  3. I am with you on the whole wild animals in a city thing, but I really enjoyed taking Eli to our zoo, too. He loved it, and it looks like Owen loved it as well!

  4. You should check out Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island. Lots more animals there!

  5. Yes – I was going to say Roger Williams zoo has camels! And lots of other animals, of course.

  6. We took Cameron to the San Diego Zoo last week when we were on vacation. I think I was just as excited to watch him experience seeing the animals if not MORE excited than he was. I was excited to see a “real” giraffe although he was all “meh” like it was no big thang. Not long later, he was floored at a run of the mill street pigeon. 🙂

  7. If it makes you feel better about the whole zoo situation with animals living in the city, my husband is a veterinarian and our zoo at least does a LOT to make the animals happy. They had “enrichment” time for the gorillas daily where they would let them paint or do other projects (not kidding- we own a painting), they interact with the animals as much as they can safely and they’ve created housing that mimics their natural environment which is slowly being eliminated in “real nature” by people. So it isn’t all a bad thing! 🙂 Plus, meals are always guaranteed in the zoo…

  8. I totally had to laugh at the squeezing through the fence thing; I saw it all happen in my head because I’ve been there too!!! Especially love the pic of him on the tractor at the end!

  9. @Angie, Yes! I think Owen was equally excited about the birdies eating french fries off of the sidewalk as he was to see the gorillas. Ha.

  10. Aw, glad he got to see his fave animals! I’m sure it’s amazing to see live animals when all you’ve seen thus far are the ones in picture books. And yes I am with you about no photo ops when it comes to handling a toddler. I hardly ever bring out my camera if I have my hands full with him.

  11. Come visit this summer and we’ll go here and to the attached water park:

  12. Love Owen’s vocabulary skills! That’s awesome for his age! My little girl (who is 21 mths) is only saying a few words right now. Can’t wait to see her speaking skills soar!

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