After a bit of a late start in the morning, we spent the better part of the day at the Houston Zoo. We expected the zoo to be packed and were surprised to find that it wasn't. Parking was still an adventure all its own but we managed to get relatively close to the entrance. Gregg has the best luck when it comes to parking.
Violet has been looking forward to this trip for some time now. Needless to say, excitement has been running rampant in our house for the past few days in anticipation of our visit to the zoo. On our way there we stopped at a local Fiesta store and bought our tickets there, saving six dollars for our entrance, that's a gallon and a half of gas folks! Then we were on our way. Violet was full of chatter on the drive there and then suddenly things were quiet. We looked back to see what Violet was doing and found her snoozing soundly. She didn't sleep very well the night before but we thought her enthusiasm would keep her awake. We were wrong. Still, she was ready to go as soon as we pulled into the vicinity of the zoo.
Once we were convinced we were completely covered in sunscreen we began our walk to the zoo's entrance. As the three of us walked to the gate it reminded me of the tune, "Follow the yellow brick road" for whatever reason. Maybe it was Violet's excitement, I don't know, but it was contagious. Gregg and I couldn't help but be excited ourselves as we held our daughter's hand and listened to all her chatter. Also, this was Gregg's first visit back to the zoo since he was in intermediate school. So, he was basically viewing everything for the first time since things have changed so much over the years.
Our first sight was the giraffe exhibit. I wish I could show you pictures of how beautiful they were but I can't pull them off my camera at this time. (I ended up taking photos on my internal memory and can't pull them off the camera right now but I promise I'll add them soon. In the meantime, enjoy these photos provided by the zoo.) Let me just say, the baby giraffe was adorable. So adorable that I would have loved to have brought it home with me. Alas, we don't have room to house a giraffe, baby or not, and Gregg would kill me if I even hinted at bringing one home. But what I wouldn't give to be able to open our patio door and see a giraffe staring back at me.
Giraffes are beautiful and gentle creatures and, even though they are super tall and lanky, there is a part of me that would describe them as graceful. I mean, think about it, you have to have some grace to carry that kind of height! Violet knows how much her Mommy loves giraffes and was just as enthralled with them as I was. By the way, our baby giraffe was just over six feet tall when it was born. Can you imagine what THAT must have been like to give birth to? Yikes!
Our next stop was the elephants, just across from the giraffe's exhibit. (Again, the pictures are stuck on my camera but I'll post them as soon as I am able.) Houston's newest baby elephant is a cutie. Our city has been blessed with two baby elephants in the past two years (give or take a few months) and Violet has had the pleasure of seeing both. It's amazing to see how little they start out and then how big they become. Granted, our little one has been growing like a weed but she'll be nowhere near the size of an elephant when she's grown up. If she is, then something is seriously wrong!
We got to see a tiger swim laps in its little pool area. Then, we were serenaded by a group of monkeys which Violet thought was really "COOL!" And finally, the piece de resistance, Violet got up close and personal with a giant orangutan.
Even the weather cooperated with us. There was just enough of a breeze that, even though we were hot, we were able to enjoy our day at the zoo. We ate lunch at an outdoor café and had an entertaining view of the duck pond. There were all kinds of birds that performed for their next meal, some even coming close enough to steal a bite from your plate if you weren’t paying attention. We saw several kids chasing the doves and black birds in the area, amused at seeing them take flight amidst all the people. One black bird even whizzed by my head so closely that I swear I felt the tip of its wing! Who needs dinner theater when all you have to do is visit the zoo’s outdoor café? I’d say we had a wonderful day.