Tuesday, May 27, 2014

At The Zoo

We took a family ‘field trip’ on Memorial Day, heading to Chicago for a fun-filled day at the zoo!  The weather forecast was in the 80s with scattered thunderstorms, but we decided to go anyway.  We’re grateful that the rain didn’t start until almost 5 pm, so we were able to enjoy a full day at the zoo!

One fun thing is that Lincoln Park Zoo is FREE!  We did have to pay gas, tolls, and parking…but the zoo itself has no charge.  We packed a picnic lunch, so we didn’t have that expense either.

Before our trip, each child chose a favorite animal that they hoped to see at the zoo.  Alex chose giraffes (his long-time favorite), Max chose elephants, and Jensyn chose “those pink things” (AKA flamingos). 

Alex and his giraffesDSCN1729DSCN1731DSCN1732

Jensyn and her “pink things”

Sadly, only two out of three children got to see their chosen animal, as there are no elephants at Lincoln Park Zoo.  (I just googled it, and neither Brookfield Zoo nor Lincoln Park Zoo have elephants anymore.  It seems as if they weren’t thriving, and the zoos made the hard decision to send the remaining elephants to warmer climates.)

On the bright side, Max wasn’t too disappointed.  He said the gorillas were so much fun that he didn’t even miss seeing the elephants! (We don’t have pictures of Max and the gorillas, as he was mostly watching from inside a ‘log’.)  The gorillas were fun to watch, so I understand why he was so fascinated!


One of the neatest things we saw on this day was the black bear using its natural instincts.  A robin flew down and landed in front of the bear.  The bear lunged.  The bird flew.  The bird wasn’t fast enough.

The bear carried the bird RIGHT UP TO THE GLASS and ate it right in front of us.   While that’s a little gross, I suppose, it was also really neat to witness this moment!

Alex and Jensyn casually watching the bearDSCN1608
bear suddenly lunges for bird


bear brings bird right up to the glass and eats it RIGHT THERE
(that’s Max, with his face to the glass)


We saw a bald eagle, which has a wingspan of up to 6 or 7 feet,
so I had the kids show me their own ‘wingspan’ for comparison.


lion, back view and front view

baby rhino

Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure
…the boys did this, but Jensyn wasn’t interested

Alex loved the Scavenger Hunt at the Voyageur Rendezvous, so I printed a zoo scavenger hunt for him to complete.  He really loved this, and he had a lot of fun checking off animals as he found them.  At the end of the day, he was very proud of his completed hunt!


kids exploring the termite exhibit

DSCN1710  DSCN1715

Why yes, that IS my four year old LICKING the plexiglass.
No, we do not encourage this.
ICK!  Why son, WHY!?!
(I immediately stopped him when I realized what was going on. 
How does a mother sanitize her child’s TONGUE?!)

reptile house…all 3 kids liked it, but Max got a little fascinated with a few creatures
and had to be pulled away from the exhibits to move along Smile

Max loved this monitor!  It was really playful, and it kept climbing the glass right in front of Max!

Alex touching snake skin and a tortoise shell

moles – they were active and fun to watch!

caiman – with a big ‘grin’ on his face





The kids really enjoyed ‘all things monkey-ish’.
Alex discovered a gorilla named “Kathy”. 
Our neighbor’s name is Kathie, so Alex found this hilarious and asked me to take a picture!
DSCN1677  DSCN1678


Max didn’t want to come over at first, so I took a picture of him on the stroller seat.
By the time he DID decide to come over, Jensyn was no longer interested in pictures.

Daddy splurged and bought us a funnel cake to share.  Yum!
(the empty spot on the bench is where I saw sitting…)



We got to see the hippo feeding.  That was really neat!


playful meerkats




checking out a bear claw (at least I think that’s what it is!)



We ended our day with a visit to the Farm At The Zoo.  We only spent a short time here, but the boys did enjoy climbing in the tractor and pretending to drive.  (We could have stayed longer, but we are going to Fair Oaks Farm with our homeschool group in a few weeks, and I didn’t want seeing the farm ‘stuff’ today to ruin some of the joy of our upcoming field trip.)


We were sure we’d have some tuckered out kids on the way home, but surprisingly, Jensyn was the only one who slept!  She “read” the Bible for a while, and then she conked out.  Max watched out the window and sang along with a kids praise CD.  Alex danced (well, as much as you can dance while buckled in…) to the music.  But all three kids went RIGHT to bed without complaint at bedtime!


Keith and I both observed that this was our easiest family outing with three children EVER.  We made it out the door on time, there were no potty accidents the WHOLE day, no temper tantrums, no one got lost, no one gave us a moment of trouble…it was impressive!  (Okay…so Max DID lick the plexiglass, but if that’s our only ‘issue’, we’re doin’ all right!)

While there are things that make me very sad about our kids getting bigger, it’s also nice to have the EASE of doing things with kids who are getting bigger, more responsible, and more mature!  It was a terrific day, and we’re so glad we didn’t let the threat of rain keep us away!

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