zoos two through five

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.
Me: (silence)
Gabe: Wasn’t it?
Me: Yes. Thank you for your vote of confidence.

Akron Zoo:
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!

Cleveland Zoo:
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!

Erie Zoo:
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.

Pittsburgh 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!!

16 thoughts on “zoos two through five

  1. the_present_is_eternity

    shucks! I live so close to the indy zoo too, but I have class in Richmond! Unless you get here before 12:30 pm when I leave for class. I don’t know my work schedule that weekend but if you come over the weekend theres the chance my husband and I could meet you at the zoo. No pressure though, just something to think about! And good luck with your zoo adventures!!

  2. ergirl053

    @mtaviano – 

    Yes- thank you so much for the gift! She LOVED it. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that she carried the card around with her ALL DAY LONG showing it to anyone who would look! The bubbles were a gigantic hit (and a lifesaver when I was trying to keep her entertained!) Sorry we didn’t get to give you all “squeezes” before you made your way to another zoo- soon, very soon!!

  3. ergirl053

    We had such a GREAT time with you! Thanks for letting us be part of your adventure! Kylie woke up this morning saying “Nina house” and whining when I explained that we would not be seeing Nina today. We settled for pictures instead 🙂
    I hope you made it off ok Friday morning- I was all set to see you off and when I responded to my alarm, you were probably half-way to PA 🙂
    Thanks again for a great time- we love you guys!!

  4. stephaniedawnbasham

    Oh, your zoo recap gives me the warm fuzzies all over! Baby animals, free train rides, hotel pools, packed lunches…so, so wonderful. I can’t wait to read your book!

    I do love a good hitchhiking adventure. As long as Ava realizes that it’s only okay to pick up hitchhikers when she’s related to them, then it’s all okay. 🙂

  5. mrsnorthern8605

    What a fun recap! I love it! I want to go with you next time!!! I love the Indy Zoo myself, oh and the Ft. Wayne (Indiana) zoo is really really fun, VERY kid based! I also love the Cincy Zoo, it’s where I got engaged!
    Parker and I will be at church on Sunday for his first real service…it should be quite interesting!

  6. Nixter77

    Yay for so much fun at 4 zoos. When you come out here I am definitely taking you to the zoo in Sydney, maybe if they know you are writing a book you can get FREE AIRFARES??? You never know!

    nixie = wishful thinking!

  7. terriwright

    I am so impressed by your zoo passion. I don’t share it, but AM impressed by it. As I said a while ago, you’re certainly building a library of wonderful childhood experiences for the girls to ‘check out’ and go through again when they’re adults. VERY cool. AND – – – priceless.

  8. jbnygaard

    Are your sisters known for hitch hiking? (jk)

    I’m so impressed with all the deals! God IS so good!

    We will be in Columbus ALL day on Sunday. We arrive around noon and will be spending the night. Maybe it won’t work out this time. Maybe we can grab you guys next time.

  9. gsowell

    Such an incredible recap of an incredible weekend. I saw God’s fingerprints all over it!

    But, for the record, if you don’t start getting off to a better start, I’m going to drive myself up there and give you a “trip preparation” tutorial. They have cookies at the store. Don’t make them in the middle of the night!!!! Love you!

  10. rebates

    Ah!  We’re busy on Labor Day.  I totally would have joined you at the Indy Zoo!!  Glad you had such success with the zoo trips.  I really do like the Cleveland Zoo.  My hubs and I went there the day after we got engaged…sweet memories…

  11. rocknnell

    Glad you all had a neat time…saw many things…had a blast…and how about the deals?  Thank you God for ” traveling mercies”  as Mom would say !  good stuff !

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