When we were in Erie (Rodney travels there once every year or so for his job) in July of 2011, one place we went was the Erie Zoo (you can read about that trip here). As I was planning for this trip, I remembered a couple things, one, it was a nice, not-too-big, zoo, nicely shaded, with some hands-on stuff, AND, since we didn't currently have an active zoo membership, it's reasonably priced, and therefore the ideal zoo to buy our membership at, and then take advantage of the reciprocal benefits to visit other zoos in our travels. So I made it a priority on this trip.
When we went a couple years ago, in July, the parking lot was literally overflowing, we ended up parking on a grassy area they use for overflow parking. When we pulled in this time, there might have been a dozen cars in the parking lot! I honestly wondered if it was closed! Gotta love school-year trips :)
So, needless to say, we had the place to ourselves :) And, as we moved through the zoo, I realized how much the girls have grown since we were here last. So, for your viewing pleasure, some comparison pictures:
|Little Bit riding the spring animals in 2011.|
|Little Bit (and Ashlyn) riding the spring animals in 2013|
|Penguin statue in 2011|
|Penguin statue(s) in 2013|
And finally . . .
|Wood bench in 2011|
|Wood bench in 2013 (the little chair wasn't there this time)|
Amazing what a difference 2 years makes, huh?!
So now, abit more about our day at Erie Zoo. As you might have noticed, Ashlyn wasn't excited about the wood bench picture this year, so after taking the above picture, I tried to get one of her smiling by saying stupid things to her, it worked, sort off . . . this is Ashlyn trying not to smile/laugh, LOL.
Little Bit's favorite animal is the giraffe and, while the Erie Zoo has very few "large" animals, one of the few they DO have is . . . giraffes! She was thrilled to get to see giraffes.
All three girls are currently re-enjoying our Signing Times videos, so they had fun throughout the zoo seeing how many of the animals they could sign the names of, they did pretty well :)
The playground area is still a hit at the Erie Zoo, while most of it is "too immature" for my 10 year olds who insist they are all grown up, they did think the wood xylophone was fun, Lexie was especially excited when she was able to figure out and play a small part of one of her current violin pieces, on it. She wanted me to record a video of it, but by the time she asked me, my phone battery was REALLY low and I needed it to stay "alive" enough to get Rodney's text message when it was time to pick him up, so I couldn't.
While the big girls were enjoying the xylophone, Little Bit explored the rest of the playground area. Most of the time she moved too fast for pictures, but she had great fun on slides, climbing in a "tiger's mouth", the walking on a worm balance beam, climbing over and under some turtles, and digging in the dirt.
When we weren't at the playground, we explored the rest of the zoo. The girls were excited to "catch" the otters playing when we went by the second time. They wanted me to get a picture of the "otters playing in the water" since that's one of our songs at Sabbath School, but of course, as soon as I got my camera out the otters got OUT of the water, sigh . . . I did, just barely catch them chasing each other, but what I like best about this picture is the genuine smile I "accidentally" caught on Lexie's face :)
I think the hands-down favorite animal this time was the orangutan family. The zoo has a father, mother, and 4 yr old "baby", and watching them was SOOO much like watching a toddler trying to get his parents to play with him. Ollie (the "baby"), would tug and wheedle, and beg his parents to play, and one of them finally would. We just couldn't get enough of it! We kept going back to watch them some more, it was awesome!
Ashlyn insisted that OBVIOUSLY, while an orangutan might not make a good "pet", it would make a great member of the family! Well . . . yes, and no . . . LOL.
My favorite part was when the mother took a big sheet (they must really like having blankets/sheets to play with, there were several in their cage, and all 3 orangutans seemed to always have at least one within reach, if not in their hand), and draped it completely over her head, as if to say "I've had enough of this parenting gig, leave me ALONE!" Then, when the baby went off to bother daddy, the mother kind of peaked out and seemed to be keeping half an eye on daddy and Ollie while they played, I'm telling you, it was just like watching people!!!
If I found it hard to catch pictures of Little Bit playing because she moves too fast, it was IMPOSSIBLE to catch any pictures of Ollie, so you'll have to settle for a picture of Little Bit watching the orangutans :)
And that was our day at the Erie Zoo. I'd definitely recommend it as a great little zoo if you're ever in the area!
I'll write a "proper" wrap-up post about our week overall soon.