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A day at the Philadelphia Zoo
Tomorrow my mom is celebrating her birthday. Something she has been asking me about for a while now is when can we go to the zoo together. The last time I had gone was October of 2014, before I was pregnant with Kaeden. My mom was sad my husband and I had gone and not invited her along. It actually was a last minute decision which went something like Husband-'what do you feel like doing today?' Me- 'I don't know.' Husband-'How about a trip to the zoo?' And so we went.
You may be wondering why my mom would want to go along, which for a normal mom may be odd, but the Philly Zoo is something special between the two of us. When I was 14 we became volunteers together, the only mother-daughter team, and I was the youngest volunteer working there at the time, still in grade school. I was assigned to the children's zoo, and my mom was in a program where she would do surveys or tables around the zoo if they needed her (I would often do it with her), or was in "CZ" with me. I worked there for about 2 years, until going every Saturday became too difficult since I was then in highschool and had a lot going on with school.
So anyway, for my mom's birthday I decided to surprise her by taking her to the zoo, and it was also Kaeden's first trip which made it extra special.
I used to go to the zoo with the intent to take the best photos of the animals that I could, then share them with everyone when I got home. This time though, I went with a new goal, to show off the zoo from Kaeden's perspective. It's funny how different you see the world when you are seeing it through the eyes of a child.
The images I am sharing are a mix of phone shots and taken with my DSLR throughout the day. I took a lot with my phone because my husband wanted to know how the little guy was doing and if he was enjoying the animals, so I tried to take pictures of him throughout the day to text to my husband to enjoy since he wasn't able to join us.
This is what it's like to watch a giraffe normally. Then I bent down to see Kaeden's view, and that's when I decided on getting the baby eye's view of the day as he sees it.
"What's that thing???"
Kaeden is just beginning to learn to point at things. We parked him next to the otter tank and he was fascinated by them swimming past as they would go into a little door at the top left of the enclosure, grab a big fish, then dive back into the water with it, landing right in front of him before each heading down to the lower tank to eat, then would swim past him again as they went for another fish. They made some noises as they waited for their next fish and he looked at me quizzically, like 'what's that noise?'.
We stopped to eat lunch and an Icee, which Kaeden loved getting little tastes of, then headed for the Lorikeet exhibit. First I held him and fed the birds, then my mom held him while I took pictures. He was fascinated by the birds. I was surprised that they don't land on you anymore, you just walk the cup of nectar over to where they are hanging out now instead.
Of course they do still fight over who gets the nectar, so there's some pushing and shoving to stick their heads in. Haha
This bird wasn't going to get involved in the nectar fight, just kept a distance and watched us like waiting for an opportunity.
It was a very hot day, in the high 80s to 90s, so of course we didn't see many of the big cats in Big Cat Falls. We decided to stop in the air conditioning to cool off and snap a 'selfie' with a tiger. As soon as I started posing next to the standout, Kaeden reached over and grabbed the ear, then the little ham grinned at the camera as I snapped the picture. He is definitely a photographer's son. Haha
After Big Cat Falls we walked by the gift shop and Kaeden had his first experience with bubbles, and LOVED it! But I guess that smile is pretty self-explanatory. lol
I can't remember what animal this is we stopped to look at, all I can think of is 'zoo-boom-a-foo' which was a similar looking animal from a kid's tv show where the Kratt brothers would take you on a journey to learn about a new animal each episode, while zoo-boom-a-foo would ask questions about it. They were just sitting there when we went in, but the air conditioning felt good so we hung out a couple of minutes.
The zoo is a fascinating place, whether you are a little kid or an adult. I love getting to capture expressions like this of him taking it all in. He was so into everything around him that even though he really needed a nap, he absolutely refused to fall asleep.
Kaeden is very much a people person, he likes to make friends everywhere we go. I was looking at the gorilla, turned around, and he had made friends with this guy and they were pointing at each other which was really cute and funny. I especially love the tongue hanging out, because why not. haha
Whenever I was watching an animal, I had to remind myself to turn around and see if Kaeden had noticed it. We were watching the orangutans sitting outside, and he was too. (Sometimes he would completely miss the animals we were looking at, and other times he had no problem seeing them). I think it's so funny how he likes to ride around with his feet up on the stroller.
We took a walk through the bird conservatory and "Bob and Nancy" were calling back and forth at each other. Kaeden had no problem seeing these animals with all the noise they were making.
We took a walk through Bear Country, taking a look at 'Coldilocks' the oldest polar bear at 34 years, then stopped to see the penguins. We then headed into the reptile house to cool off. I had always wondered why their was a dinosaur statue outside the reptile house, but just read an article while looking for something else that says there is a statue of the first intact dino skeleton that had been found and displayed at one of the museums in Philly, and it had something to do with one of the founders of the zoo. (I can't find the article, but if I come across it again, I will post it here)
After the reptiles, we headed for the new children's zoo, located where the elephants used to be, the building has been completely redone on the inside, and they now have an assortment of goats, birds, and chickens for the kids to interact with. Here Kaeden has spotted some pigeons and thought they were interesting, the picture below you can see the pigeons in the background.
'Look, that pigeon is flapping it's wings' my mom says to Kaeden.
Oh look, I managed to make it into this one! We took Kaeden into the petting zoo to see the goats. Finally, something he can touch!
This shot needs no words. Up close and personal.
Then we went to see the chickens. He couldn't figure out why I wouldn't let him get down to crawl with them. lol
Finally, somewhere he could crawl around! They now have a little tots area for children under 3. He wasn't sure what to make of this sheep, he stared at it for a long while.
Then decided nope, don't want anything to do with that sheep, and headed for the exit. (Or rather wanted to go use the fence to stand up and look around to see what else he could get into).
Of course every great day must end, and he finally passed out when we reached the gift shop at the front gate, and slept the whole car ride back.
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