Instead, I give you- The Zoo Trip Recap!
This was the Tampa Zoo. It was rated number 1 in the US by Parenting Magazine. Or Parents. One of the two. I not only read the original article (it still could have been either magazine, I get them both), but it was proudly displayed multiple places in the zoo. I can see it though. It was definitely family friendly. Especially for size- big enough to have a lot of great experiences and sights for kids, but not so big to be overwhelming. We had intended to go just on Saturday, but we had purchased a summer pass (ended up being cheaper with everything that was included than the regular admission) and we liked it so much we went back for a few hours yesterday. We packed a lot in, but here are some of our favorite things at the zoo:
This is Elizabeth feeding a cracker to somebody who looks a little odd:
Of course when did you ever meet a giraffe who didn't look a little odd?
Here I am feeding a sting ray. It freaked me out a little, since as you all know I am not a fan of anything in the sea unless its a mammal. And letting something swim over my hand munch a fish head is a little bit more than I can handle. Especially since it involves having to handle a fish...head....and I am permanently scarred from one summer working at a grocery store seafood counter. Nevertheless, these guys were pretty cool, and they are amazingly soft. And weirdly friendly.
Here's Elizabeth petting something that both she and Lilli assure me is "soft":
That's not really the impression I get from sight, but obviously you can't trust observation alone!
This mama was our second favorite animal in the park (the first being the Meerkats) that you couldn't feed. And if they had allowed it, the girls would have totally been up for it. This poor mama tiger. Two younger tigers (who I assume were her children, although I neglected to read any of the signs so I don't know for sure) were playing in the water with a ball, and took great delight into running over to her and shaking themselves all over her. She finally retreated to the back of her area, as far away from the youngsters as she could get. We could have watched them for hours.
The goats were also very popular with the girls. Although seconds after I took this picture Elizabeth realized that the goat was snacking on her dress, and I am still crushed that I had turned off the camera since I didn't get to capture the look of horror on her face. She thought he was going to eat her. Which in retrospect was not as funny as I thought it was at the time.
The girls were also huge fans of the penguins, the flamingos, the manatees and the alligators, but I'm being kind and sparing you from some of the pictures. And I was very proud of Elizabeth for braving the "Tasmanian Tiger Coaster", a tiny little roller coaster (amazingly bumpy and violent for its size), and not crying even though it was nothing like she was expecting (a Tiger Train, i.e. a gentle ride in a circle) and she got scared.
We really had a great time, and like all good things it was over too fast. But at least we have a pass that's good for all summer!