I have no idea how to put all this stuff in a post of readable length, and I really don’t want to stretch it out over several days, so I’ll just practice my succinctness. Besides, if I write about everything now, who would buy the book, right?
At midnight Tuesday night, Gabe and I were in the garage changing a flat jogging stroller tire by flashlight (a bonding experience for sure, but one I can’t recommend in good conscience). After three measly hours of sleep (due to a poor packing/planning job on my part. AGAIN. I made cookies, Gail! and banana bread!), we pulled out of the driveway Wednesday morning at 7:45.
Gabe: This morning was better than the start of our last zoo trip.
Gabe: Wasn’t it?
Me: Yes. Thank you for your vote of confidence.
Besides my Aldi-packed lunch, our day’s excursion at the Akron Zoo cost us $1.00. Yes, a dollar. Free tickets, free parking, 7 free train rides, and a goody bag full of gift shop stuff for the girls (valued at $80). Wow. (We bought 2 crackers for $1 to feed the sheep and goats.)
It was such a cute little zoo. We really loved the atmosphere. And it wasn’t crowded at all. Beautiful weather. The girls liked the lions, jaguars, snow leopard, capybara (world’s largest rodent) and penguins best. The zoo guy who arranged all our free stuff met us on arrival, and he was so, so kind and generous. We’re Akron Zoo fans for life.
We had a wonderful time with Missy (one of my bestest friends from college), her husband Ryan and their 2 boys, Noah and Jacob. They treated us to Gionino’s pizza (our fave when we used to live in an apt. complex together near Cleveland) and gave us their whole upstairs for the night. We got to be there for Noah’s first day of kindergarten! Love you, Miss!
Met Nichole, Kylie, Nichole’s mom and cousin Steven when the zoo opened. BIG zoo, lots of walking. Cool tram that took us to the cat/primate building. Tons of cool cats and monkeys/gorillas. We touched sting rays! And Livi touched a shark! We saw a darling 12-day-old giraffe. LOVE giraffes. A baby orangutan. Soooo cute. A baby kangaroo sticking out of his mama’s pouch. Awww… Livi and I rode a camel together!! The rainforest building was way cool. The three African elephants we saw are being shipped to Columbus in a couple weeks. They’ll live there for 3 years while their new multi-million dollar home is being built. How fun! Free tickets, free parking, 5 free train rides, 5 free lorikeet feedings, 5 free touch-the-stingrays tickets. Total spent: $8 for 2 camel rides.
We went back to Nichole’s for awhile to rest then headed to the Lorain Co. Fair. Her mom grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, and bacon! for us. After our yummy picnic, we toured the fairgrounds (Nichole got us in free!), ate funnelcake!, and the girls got cotton candy. We crashed at her place around 11 p.m. Thanks, Nichole! Love you, girl!
Another cute little zoo. Again, free tickets, free parking, 5 free train rides, 5 free carousel rides. Total cost for the day: ZERO. The carousel and train were so much fun. The train is brand-new. We loved the meerkats, growling tiger, hyenas play-fighting,, baby red panda cub! Stayed at a hotel in Mars (my old nickname), PA. Swam twice. Girls loved it. Since our first 3 zoos cost us a grand total of $9, we ate a Max & Erma’s for supper. YUM! Watched some Olympics. Up early for the final zoo.
This one was actually a bit of a let-down. Based on what we’d read/heard, we thought it would be the best. I think we hyped it up too much. Or maybe we were tired. And several of the animals were off-exhibit. It was also pretty stinkin’ hot. Again, free admission, free parking, girls rode carousel and train free. Total cost: $5 (1 carousel ride for me, train ride for me and Gabe, log ride for Ava and Nina–Livi was too tall.) Our favorites were the baby tiger cub and the 1-month-old baby elephant. Oh my word. Soooo cute! Aquarium was cool–polar bears, sea lions. Ronald McDonald was handing out happy meal lion toys. Met another 2-1/2-year-old named Nina on the bridge overlooking the alligators. What are the odds?
On the way home, we saw a hitchhiker. Gabe explained what that meant.
Ava: We should pick him up.
Gabe: No, we don’t know him or anything about him.
Ava: Well, we’d do it if it was Aunt Bethy or Aunt Stephi.
Gabe was brushing his teeth before church Sunday morning. Said to me, “What do you say we make it 5 in 5?” I about fell over. We packed clothes to change into and drinks for the zoo (church is 10 mins from zoo). Went to church, baptism outside, about fell over in the heat, potluck lunch at church, wisely decided not to kill our children, 4 zoos in 4 days is good enough, home for naps.
And that’s it! Tentatively planning a lil’ trip to the Indy Zoo on Labor Day. God is sooooooooooo good!!