For the last several weeks, my DH has been working some really crappy shifts. He has worked many evenings and had few days off. Lately, our days off have consisted of getting things done around the house and not much more. Earlier this week, I decided we needed to change things up. So, on Monday night, I suggested to my husband that we drive to St. Louis (2 hours away) and go to the zoo as a family on Wednesday. Despite his strange aversion to zoos, he agreed. He knows about my love for the St. Louis Zoo (I may have mentioned it a couple of times here, Adventure at the Zoo and Day at the Zoo).
Typically, I prefer to go to the zoo in the morning. My plans to start early, around 7, did not come to fruition. My DH ended up having to work until midnight the day before. Getting up early was not on his agenda. Miraculously, it wasn’t on our girls’ agenda either since we all didn’t wake until after 8 a.m. Once we were all dressed and the diaper bag was packed, we headed south after a brief stop at McDonald’s and Sonic for breakfast.
Normally, I would have let my St. Louis family and friends know we were coming down, but I held off this time. I guess part of me was afraid that something would happen to change our plans. My other concern is that with such short notice, no one would be able to make it anyway and then I’d be disappointed. Because of this thought process, I said nothing about our plans to go until we were on our way. As we were driving down, I put on my Facebook status that we were headed to the zoo, but would stop at Imo’s Pizza for lunch first. Well, my cousin (and Grace’s godmother) saw the post and gave me a hard time, rightly so. I really should have said something. That is what I get for assuming that people wouldn’t be available. I have learned my lesson. Sorry, Maura. 😉
We ate lunch at Imo’s. I love their pizza! Chris, not so much. I guess Imo’s is an acquired St. Louis treat since they use provel cheese! Provel is yummy and delicious, but not found outside of St. Louis. Not really. Ginny decided she was not interested in eating more than 2 or 3 bites of pizza so it was up to us to eat it all. A darn shame, I tell you.
Once lunch was done, we headed for the zoo. Figuring there would be no possibility of getting close free parking, I headed to the pay parking lots. Both lots were full. I got concerned. Ginny was in her car seat talking about seeing animals. I imagined it would go well if I told her we wouldn’t be able to see any. I drove through Forest Park, where the zoo is located, for a bit before heading back to try again. The lots were still full, but I lucked out when I noticed a vehicle pulling out of a spot on the street that was fairly close to the zoo entrance. A sense of relief flooded me! We would be able to go to the zoo.
This time I was smart and brought a backpack/harness (okay, leash) for Ginny to wear. We let her get out of the stroller when we were close to exhibits. She adored her freedom! The first stop we made was at the bears and the penguins! Ginny loved getting as close as she could to check out the animals. Then, we headed to see the apes. All of the apes were outside and some were even close to the windows. When we saw the orangutans, Ginny walked up and tried to pet them. Honestly, had glass not been there, I think Ginny would have gone straight up to them with no fear. She is fearless! From there, we walked most of the zoo stopping to see antelope, wild pigs, and the giraffes. There was even one giraffe pretty close to the crowds so Ginny got a good luck at it. Grace seemed unaffected by the whole zoo experience, even after I tried to show her the giraffe, and fell asleep on our way to see the elephants.
Ginny walked almost the entire zoo. After seeing the zebras and lions, Chris (my husband) and I decided to stop and sit for a couple of minutes. Ginny was NOT pleased. She didn’t want to stop walking. She wanted to keep going and seeing more animals. She threw herself on the ground in a fit. When we went to sit down, she was trying to get away from us, crying the entire time. We ended up putting her in the stroller, against her wishes, so that we could sit without trying to hold her back from walking. Amused strangers watched her tantrum. I could see the sympathetic looks. One person noted, with surprise, how calm Chris and I were about it. I shrugged it off with a “she’s two” comment, meaning we were used to occasional outbursts. Ginny eventually calmed down as we pushed her down the hill and headed to see the elephants. Once there, we let her loose again. We stopped briefly to see the hippos swimming in the water. Ginny was more enchanted with the fish in the tank. Of course, she loved the elephants. Her favorite lovie is a stuffed elephant.
At this point in the day, Ginny was clearly exhausted and she was walking slowly. Every time we asked if she wanted to get in the stroller, she said, “no.” We had to give Ginny bad news soon after. It was time to head home, and we wanted her back in her stroller so we could move more quickly. So, when we made it clear to Ginny that she had to get in her seat on the stroller, she threw a second tantrum. On the ground with screams and tears. Of course, this section of ground happened to be a bit muddy. I didn’t notice until that moment. After we got her strapped in, Ginny’s mood seemed to lift as we headed to the van.
From the zoo, we headed to Ted Drewes for the best frozen custard in the world. The BEST! That place is always busy during the summer. I got The Big Apple and DH got caramel apple. While mine was delicious, his was amazing! Ginny had no complaints about sharing the custard with her daddy and me. With a smile on her face, we all got in the car and headed home.