Zac was supposed to work 12 hour days all weekend after a very long work week. When he came home Saturday with news that he wouldn't have to go to work Sunday, we made last minute plans to skip town and get a massive dose of much needed family time. So we surprised the kids and took them to the Santa Barbara Zoo.
I have to say, zoos usually make me feel sad. I don't like seeing the animals in small cages, etc. I remember visiting an unmentioned large city's famous zoo and being upset when we left. All the animals were in TINY cages and so many of them were pacing back and forth constantly. I get a different feeling from the SB Zoo. I know that some of their animals were injured in the wild and would have otherwise not survived. I have never seen animals pacing and a lot of their cages are very large. They feed their elephants organic (I think) food and then use their droppings as fertilizer around the zoo. On each animal exhibit is a sign explaining facts about each animal and each sign has a "What Can You Do?" section which explains ways you can make small changes in your life from how to help protect wild animals' territory, to how to be conscious about what fish you eat, etc. I would have liked to read more of these signs but the kids usually moved too fast for that. ANYWAYS, just a little blurb to say I do love to visit the SB Zoo and think they have a very conscious facility (I'd love to learn more about what they do). I've never left feeling sad.
Kian wore his favorite pants, his animal print B3Ps I made him a while ago. Every time I put these on him, he says, "RAWRRRRRRRRR!!!" I tried to point out to him the elephant on his pants as we were looking at a real elephant, and same with the lion. I don't know if he got it. Anyways, they were very appropriate Zoo attire. :)
Felicity at the penguin exhibit. I was raised in Santa Barbara and we always had a Zoo membership. When I was little, this tank housed seals and it was my favorite part of the Zoo. It was always a fun rush to stand and watch and then be happily shocked when a seal zoomed by you at the window. The penguins didn't do much zooming, but enough to scare the crap out of Kian, who would NOT go near this window again after that.
The gorilla was a highlight for sure! He came right up to the window and sat next to us with just the glass separating us from him. He was HUGE and it was fun to see him close enough to see the variations in his fur and watch how he peels bark from tree branches to eat.
Well, I should say the gorilla was a highlight for all but Kian. After his close encounter with the penguin, he only wanted to view animals from a very safe distance away. Here he is trying to claw his way out of my arms and AWAY from that gorilla!
Another highlight was the new baby giraffe.
Not a bad life, or view, for the giraffes at the SB Zoo huh?
Of course, a trip to the Zoo would not be complete without a ride on the train.
We got a lucky view of the usually lazy and hidden lions from the train. Even from this distance, in his dad's lap, Kian stiffened up and whimpered when we passed the lions. Poor guy! The only animal he'd go near were the birds. He let them walk right up to him. The kid LOVES birds!
Nor would a Zoo trip be complete without a few zooms down the massive astro turf covered hill.
Thank goodness they pad the nearby trees!
It was a wonderful day packed full of family time which will hopefully keep our spirits high until next weekend when we pack in some more.