Last week, Mom and I took the kids on a little adventure to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. We packed a quick picnic lunch, I cleaned out the car and loaded the DVD with a movie, and we set our alarms for early Friday morning for a little day away before we find ourselves back to the grind of school. It would be Mila's first time at a real zoo and I was excited to see her reaction to all the animals. We've been reading a lot of animal books lately and she's become quite the pro at her animal sounds. I expected her to be excited, but a little timid, much like she is around dogs. She's definitely a fan, as long as they are an arm's length away. :)
If you haven't visited Blank Park Zoo, I highly recommend it as a day trip. Its small enough to visit in a morning or afternoon, contained in one well-maintained, beautifully landscaped setting, with a variety of animals and activities that allow you to not just look, but really experience the animals up close and personal. There are picnic tables under trees just outside the entrance, and everything inside the zoo costs less than $5. You can take a train ride around the premises, buy a cup of feed for the baby goats, and even feed a very friendly giraffe for $2! The giraffes were definitely a highlight for us the last time we visited Blank Park and we couldn't wait to do it again, this time with Mila in tow.
We had a great zoo day. Cruz liked being our guide, leading the way through most of the areas, and replying "I know, I know, I know..." when we pointed out an animal to him. He liked the sea lions, the penguins, and the rhinos the best, and did a great job feeding the baby goats, koi, and giraffes. Mila, she loved the freedom she had to wander, pointed out lots of animals, and loved the big kitties most of all. She really does have the best lion roar, after all. My favorite Mila moment of the day would have to be when we visited the petting zoo area for awhile and she lost herself a bit with the goats. After shivering and clinging tight to Grandma when a llama discovered a liking to her, we weren't sure she was going to recover. But the longer we spent feeding those goats, the more brave she became. Just as she had worked up enough courage to pass a little food their way, her instincts kicked in right at the last second and instead of feeding them, she grabbed two handfuls of rocks, chucked them at the goats, and ran away as fast as she could. The poor goats didn't know what had just happened and proceeded to lock horns and fight with one another! She starts a ruckus wherever she goes!
We fed the goats, fed the giraffes, went on a train ride, and ended our afternoon with a late picnic lunch under a shade tree. It was a great day and I'm so glad we had the chance to get away before school starts. Love these little days away and the memories we make.
It was a good day... :)