Tuesday, July 29, 2014

First Trip to the Zoo (Lincoln Park)

This past weekend I planned a weekend to take Abby to the Lincoln Park Zoo and hang out with one of my best friends Lindsay.  At just under 2 years old we'd not yet taken Abby to a zoo, so this was a first for her. Let me tell you, of all the activities we've tried in the past two years, this was far and away the biggest hit.  I'm not sure if it's an age thing, or the fact that she loves her animal books, or just that the stars aligned and it was a great day, but Abby loved the zoo.

The weather was supposed to be hot so we headed downtown early figuring we'd get there before the crowds got thick and the heat made walking around less fun.  Plus, with a 6 am wake up time (thanks Abby!) It's easy to get out of the house by 8 *smile.

There were many things that worked in our favor but one of the biggest ones is that the zoo is free.  So, we went in with the attitude that we could stay for 5 minutes or 5 hours, when it stopped being fun, there was no pressure, we'd just split.  I payed a whole six bucks to park close to the zoo and from there on out the rest was free.  (SO NICE!).

Once in the zoo there was plenty of room for Abby to run around and since it was so empty I felt comfortable letting her explore a little on her own.  She sort of directed where we went and what we saw (with some suggestions of course).  It was nice to let her out of the stroller and let her run around a bit.

We saw so many animals.  I was really impressed with how many animals were out and active and how few people were there.  I didn't feel crowded or claustrophobic once.  Even when the tiger came out there were maybe 10 people standing around.  The busiest exhibit was the the gorillas and I think that was partly because it was breakfast time and partly because Planet of the Apes came out a few weeks ago.  We saw all kinds of animals I didn't even know the names of (I better read up before our next visit).  It was also funny to hear what Abby thought the animals were.  We saw a seal swimming and she called it a fish.  We saw a red panda (who knows what those are?!?!) and she called it a cat.  HA!

But, by far the two biggest hits of the trip: this small fountain (she was soaked in less than 2 minutes) and the cows and pigs.  See, this is why going to the FREE zoo is so important.  We could have driven 5 miles down the road to see cows and pigs.  Simple pleasures I guess.  Abby added "mingo" to her vocabulary (flamingo) and "eh-fent" (elephant) which we didn't see, but you know....who knows where these kids come up with these things?

All in all, it was a great day.  I had such a blast catching up with my dear friend Lindsay and it was great to have a second set of hands to help push the stroller, hold the camera (these pictures were all taken by Lindsay....thanks girl!), and mostly just nice to have another adult to chat with!!  After the zoo we grabbed some lunch at a yummy pizza place/brewery called Piece.  If you live in the area, you should defiantly go!!  Pizza: Good - Beer: Better.

We'll be back visiting the zoo again before the summer ends.  And, having such a success with this activity makes me even more excited for some of the activities we have planned next week for vacation at Niagara Falls!  More on that later.

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