Friday, May 22, 2009

The Loooong Zoo Trip

{Alternately Titled: A Test of Mom's Patience}

Warning: If you're looking for a sugary sweet, light as air, fluffy, recap of our Zoo Trip yesterday, read no further. You will not find that here. All you will find is the brutal truth. Read ahead if you can handle it.

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When Stephanie {our trusted, and may I say, super cute, weather girl } assured us last week that we were {finally} in for some nice, sunny weather, I decided a trip to the zoo was in order. We typically try to visit once a year, and we were due. With school getting out in a couple short weeks, now was the time. I'm not too interested in battling enormous summer crowds, so I took a look at the calendar and found yesterday to be our best bet. 77 degrees, a week day, close enough to Memorial Day that hopefully everyone was heading out of town instead of to the zoo.

I won't go into detail, but let's just say that our Wednesday evening was less than perfect. After questionable behavior all day, I was on the verge of taking away the "Zoo Privilege" for the following day. But, truth be told, I really wanted to take the girls. I had been looking forward to it all week. So, we woke up bright and early Thursday morning, and got ready to go.

I had planned to leave around 9am. The Zoo is a good hour drive, and 10 am seemed a great start time. Fast forward to 11am. That was the time we actually left. Let's just say it was an eventful morning. We picked up my mom and away we went. We made it halfway down the driveway before Kam started screaming, and Mom took over the job of chauffeur, while I hopped in back, beside Kam.

Wow, there is an awful lot of traffic. Ohhh yeahhh, it is getting close to Memorial Day weekend, maybe everyone is headed out of town. We proceed to the freeway . . . that's when we encountered our first near-accident of the day. Apparently everyone is in such a hurry, that they cannot be bothered waiting their turn to merge onto the freeway. Heck, why don't we {not we, but the lovely gal behind us} just cut right in front of a semi. That sounds like a fabulous idea. Horns honking everywhere, and a narrow pile-up escape. Whew. That was a little much for this country gal. Already I'm remembering why we only make one trip to the zoo each year.

Traffic is a little thick, but we manage to make it over to the west side and closer to the zoo. We pulled in to the parking lot about noon. Now, let's find a parking spot and head on in. Not so fast. Hmmm, there doesn't seem to be one single spot left. Okay, not a problem, we'll just circle for a few minutes and see what we find. What's that? Oh, no one's going anywhere? Well, I think there are a couple of overflow parking lots. It'll be a hike, but that's alright, we'll just find a spot there. Second parking lot, nope no spaces here {but there are about 200 cars circling waiting for a spot}. Okay, fine, on to the third, and final lot. Now we'll really have a hike, but I've been needing the exercise anyway. Do you see a pattern here? Yeah, you guessed it, no spots in that lot either. We notice some security/crossing guards milling about. Mom rolls down the window and asks where we might find additional parking. The response: "Oh, parking is pretty much going to be a free for all today. Good luck!" Uhhhhhhh, thanks. You've been ever so helpful.

We proceed to circle and stalk unsuspecting people who look like they might be heading to their car to leave, for FORTY-FIVE minutes. That's when it crosses my mind that we may have just driven an hour to the zoo, only to have to leave. I shot a quick prayer up (God, if you'd like us to visit the zoo today, do you think you could provide a parking spot for us?), and proceeded to make other plans. Hmmm, Enchanted Forest {a small nursery-rhyme themed amusement park} is about an hour and a half from here. We could be there by 2:30. Just as we were circling one.last.time we found a lady who looked like she was packing up to leave. YAY, we're in!

By this time it is after 1 o'clock and the girls are hungry. I'm hungry. We decide to visit a couple animals and then head over to find food. Lucky for us there is construction going on everywhere, many routes are closed. It took us close to an hour to find the cafe. Ugh.

Kam slept right through lunch

Sharing chicken strips, yum

We sit down to enjoy our "healthy zoo food", and continue on our way. After all, we still have lots of animals to see. The zoo makes me a little sad. All those animals in such small spaces. The elephants seem to mosey around in a circle because there is nowhere else to go.

making animal friends

the perfect hiding spot, found ya!

By 5 o'clock we'd seen it all, and started to head for home. Surely we'd be missing a good deal of rush hour traffic. Um, no, no we wouldn't be. We creeped along at about 6 miles an hour for a half hour or so. Kam had done so well, but was getting antsy with the slow movin'. She starts to scream. We managed to make it a few miles in that half hour, and then stop completely. The screaming continues. I look at Mom. I wonder if we could swap places and she could drive home so that I could jump in the back with Kam. We are stopped, after all. I put the car in park, and hop in the back, mom jumps over the console and takes her place in the driver's seat. All the while I'm praying that no cops see our shenanigans (NOR the big "nursing flop-over the carseat" Ya'all know the one? Haven't ever attempted to nurse a baby while they are in their car seat? That's just me and my crazy self, you say? Oh.)

Kenners' look just sums it up, doesn't it?

It took us just over two hours to get home. Luckily, once we made it over to the East side, traffic really got movin'. {Mom was a speed demon at over 40 mph!}.


And that, my friends was our first and last trip to the zoo of 2009.


Anyone know much it costs to hire a personal chauffeur?

{Edited to note that the girls had a great day! Luckily children don't often take note of the smallish, yet annoying trials in life. }


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10 comments :

McVal said...

oh wow! You had a stressful time of it! I did that once with my mother-in-law and drove to Chicago with just her and the 3 kids. Had to stop to nurse several times on the way, got stuck in a traffic jam on the interstate for hours because of a car accident. So the usual 6 hour drive turned into 8. Then I think someone threw up...

Anonymous said...

would this happen to be the pdx zoo??? If so, I feel your pain. We made the trip a few weeks (or maybe a month...who the heck keeps track of time these days) ago. It was Skylar and Creed's first trip to the zoo. Josh was gone for the weekend for a guy's weekend and I went with my step mom, step brother and a friend and let me tell you I was so DONE with the zoo before we even got in :) Anyways, I'm glad the girls had a good time!

~Sara

Kelly said...

At least the kids had fun and good thing you had your mom with you. I better not let my husband read this story or he'll never agree to come to the zoo with us

Xazmin said...

Sounds like a trial...but a good time after all was said and done!

I feel the same way about those great big animals in such small spaces.

I'm not a big animal rights activist or anything, it just seems like they're kinda depressed.

Anonymous said...

Liz, how do you manage to make a stressful time into a hilarious story?! I laughed through this whole recount of our trip to the Portland Zoo. Thank you so much for making me look at the lighter side of this trip. Yes, the girls had fun and I have forgotten the weird highway experiences and your pics are wonderful! Thank you for letting me be a part of all of this.

Amber said...

Oh you poor things! I would have had a hard time keeping my cool after all that mess. But you still kept a positive attitude! Glad you all had fun *despite* all of that mess.

Cute pics!!

The Pifer's said...

What a bummer!!!! Glad the kids had fun though!

Jenny said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. You weren't joking when you said you had a crazy zoo trip!

I might have needed to be taken away to a padded cell if all of that happened to me! LOL! Thank goodness you had your Mom with you for some extra help.

~~Mel~~ said...

Wow that is one heck of a trip to the zoo. I'm glad amidst it all the girls still had a blast and were well behaved!

FLO said...

Oh, the very comfortable "over the carseat flop!" Yes, I know it well. Always make a tough trip even better.

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