As previously mentioned, we opted out of having a big birthday party for Andrew this year and instead decided to have a family adventure day at the zoo. We had been watching the weather like a hawk and were afraid that Saturday would be rained out. Saturday morning we woke up to a kind of rainy day, but it looked like it was clearing up, so we took a chance, threw all our stuff in the car and hit the road.
On the way to Columbia Elliot napped and Andrew watched some 'Finding Nemo' while enjoying a snack:
We got there right around noon. Elliot woke up as we were pulling into the parking lot so I quickly nursed him and then we headed in. The first thing I wanted to make sure we did was head over to the giraffe exhibit because they have a thing where you can feed them from 10:00 - 1:30, or until they've had their fill. I'd been talking to Andrew about feeding the giraffes all week and was silently praying that he wouldn't freak out when they got close. We bought a couple scoops of the lettuce mixture and headed up to the platform. I was very pleasantly surprised when Andrew didn't hide from them or cry. Instead he held up a leaf and let the giraffe eat it.
It was so cool. The giraffes were so gentle and friendly and are clearly used to being fed. I was able to pet their soft noses and Andrew was very excited about feeding them. Every time one of them would eat something he would shout "Andrew did it!!" (he needs to learn pronouns!).
This little giraffe was so cute!
After we were done feeding the giraffes we headed over to find more animals. Next up was the elephant exhibit:
They don't have elephant rides, so Andrew had to settle for sitting on this one:
I had promised Andrew that we would get him some ice cream at the zoo, but instead we bought him a souvenir icee that he could carry around:
He was also wearing his "birthday boy" ribbon that I bought for him. I thought he might fuss about wearing it, but he loved it.
We went and walked through the Kangaroo Walkabout:
I thought he would be interested in the 'roos, but he was more interested in stomping in the puddles that were leftover from the rain:
We stopped and looked at the flamingos:
And checked out the gibbons when he headed to get some lunch:
When we walked quickly by them to get to the giraffes they had been swinging among the branches and whooping, but when we stopped to actually see them they just sat there. Go figure.
We had a quick lunch and while we were sitting there I nursed Elliot for only the second time ever in public without a cover. I'm always too nervous to do that, but I didn't take any bottles and Elliot did NOT like having the cover over him. Luckily I was able to be very discreet and there weren't all that many people there.
We saw the lions and the one tiger, stopping to take a picture with the tiger statue.
Elliot settled into the carrier:
We saw every animal on exhibit and found a nice man to take a family picture of us before we headed out. Of course Elliot was asleep :)
All in all I think we were there for about 3 1/2 hours. We stopped at the little playground and let Andrew run around and play some more. One more stop at the potty and we got on the road to head home. It was a pretty perfect family day and I'm so glad we decided to do that instead of throwing a big party and stressing over it.
Oh, and Andrew hasn't stopped talking about the animals and playing with the ones that we bought him since we got home. I guess he liked the zoo, too. :)