This week Erik worked on Thursday and had Friday off—giving us a nice three-day weekend. We decided to take the kids to the zoo (better to go on a weekday than during the weekend). After scoping out the prices we opted to buy a family membership online the night before (cost to get in for one day = $40 + parking, annual family membership at the gate = $110, family membership online = $95 and you can park for free). I figured we would be back at the zoo a few times in the coming year. Unfortunately I am spoiled, spoiled, SPOILED when it comes to zoos. There isn’t much out there that can hold a candle to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. Luckily my kids don’t know any better (yet) and were perfectly content with Seattle’s zoo. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, it’s just kind of small and dated. For example, when you enter by the north gate you have to walk a long time before you even see any animals. That’s kind of a bummer. And the penguins are gone because they are building a new habitat for them that won’t open until next year.But, we had a beautiful day, we weren’t in any hurry and the crowd was minimal. I think both kids had a great time. Obviously Audrey was more expressive about her excitement. The best part was probably the gorillas. When we got there some were eating and some were sleeping. Audrey was standing right at the glass when the HUMONGOUS silverback male walked RIGHT TOWARD HER! I can not believe she didn’t freak out. I was squatting down next to her, so on her level and I could feel my heart start to race a little. He was just so big—it was really amazing. I wish I could have gotten a picture when he was so close to her, but I was too busy watching. I got a photo later when he strolled away.Other big hits were the giraffes, the elephants, the monkeys and the hippos. Hunter was too cute waving to the monkeys saying “hiiii”. Unfortunately the hippo habitat is completely insufficient and rather pungent. When you ask Audrey about her trip to the zoo the first thing she will tell you, and rather loudly, is “Zoo hippos are STINKY!” Then she cracks up—what a nut.
The zoo also has a very cool restored antique carousel. This was Audrey’s first ever carousel ride and she loved it. I think I’m going to have to let her ride every time we return. Her horse even had a name, “Pride and Joy”. I had Stevie Ray Vaughn running through my head the entire ride.We took a picnic lunch to the zoo and were there for about two hours. It seemed much longer though. After we left we went over to Green Lake. This is a beautiful area with a fabulous park and lots of great shops and restaurants. We went by a bike shop (I’m on the quest of a bike), got some ice cream and then let the kids play in the park for awhile. Once we all got loaded into the van and back on the road it was three o’clock. The kids were officially exhausted and passed out for most of the trip back to Mount Vernon. It was a wonderful day.