Yesterday my family spent the morning at a place that was hot, dusty, crowded, and smelled of animal dung. We LOVED it. Why, on this green earth, do you ask, would anyone ever love a place like that? Well, to put it frankly, we aren’t wusses, and we also have a soft spot for our local zoo. The Phoenix Zoo is not for the faint of heart, I won’t lie to you there. From the months of April to November, it is hot in Phoenix. The zoo is lush and leafy, so there is some relief there, but nothing can shield you from the cruel desert sun. NOTHING! I have come away with sunburns on many occasions, despite my best efforts. I should note, however, that I am whiter than a stripe on a skunk’s tail. But I’m getting sidetracked…
On this particular Sunday in October, the heat subsided a bit, but it wasn’t backing down without a fight. The zoo was crowded because they were hosting an annual festival that my family looks forward to more than anything in October, Boo at the Zoo. Throngs of children and their brave adult counterparts attend the zoo in costume to watch animals munch on pumpkins, play games, and just basically enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors. We are members of the zoo so we have the luxury of taking our time. No one can do the Phoenix Zoo in an entire day (and enjoy it). There are simply too many paths, too many animals to gawk at, and too many potty and snack breaks for the kids.
My husband and I went into the zoo with two boys in tow, knowing only full well that we would probably only see a handful of animals. I was exceedingly happy to see the local hawk and his trainer walking/flying around though (the trainer was doing the walking).
We spent most of our time on the (praise the lord) shaded playground near the entrance, and at Harmony Farm, where my 1-year-old son Marcus touched his first goat. Everyone should touch a goat at least once in their life time. That’s just my opinion, but then again, I have a heart for all animals. After being forced to watch another goat poo (my son Tristan, 7 years, found this hilarious) we spent a leisurely time at the baby playground where Marcus could play in his first sandbox (thankfully well away from the goats!).
By this point the boys were hot, tired, and hungry, the triple threat of parent purgatory.
We located the trusty bridge past the farm and circled our way back. All the while, I feverishly try to snap a photo of every animal I can see. It’s an obsession really. It’s like a scavenger hunt with no rules. Find the creature! We were able to take in a few exhibits before we hit the entrance. Some creatures were more cute and fuzzy than others.
Mike and I are the types who could roam the grounds of a park or zoo all day. We’re nature nerds, what can I say. It will be nice when the boys are old enough to appreciate every nook and pathway this wonderful place has to offer. Maybe when they are older we can take a ride on the tram, bicycle through the park, or go on a paddle boat ride, but for now, we are happy to say our boys will know the joy of meeting some of God’s creatures. It’s nice to put aside our creature comforts once in a while and explore. The zoo is one of our favorite haunts (especially around Halloween) and we couldn’t ask for much more than that.