Today, Keana and I went to the zoo. Sarah and Maia were in Santa Cruz for Iana’s bachelorette party, so we took advantage of our small-number-mobility. I had been talking to Keana about this for a week, so when I saw it was raining this morning, I was a little worried the zoo would be closed and there would be some sadness. But we headed out anyway and found Oakland cloudy, but dry. As we pulled into the parking lot, both Keana and I were super-excited.
Once we paid and entered, I could tell Keana was so excited that she didn’t know where to begin. “I want to ride the tiger [merry-go-round]!” and “I want to see the elephants!” then “Where are the alligators?!” So we got out the map and set off. First we visited the elephants who where enjoying their mid-morning snack. I guess this made Keana hungry too, so busted out our crackers, string cheese, and water and sat on the benches enjoying the company of the elephants.
Then we headed down to the “African Village” where we saw meerkats, green monkeys, lizards, and snakes. On the way we also saw the lions- which were really loud actually- tigers, and giraffes. I must say, she was more interested in sitting under the awning of the picnic area having more snacks and watching the people, rather than animals. But I convinced her to trudge on, and she was pretty excited to see the other monkeys swinging around and screaming.
It wasn’t long before the rides came up again. The Oakland Zoo has a modest ride section, perfect for little kids, and Keana had ridden on the merry-go-round on a previous visit, and wanted to go back. So on the way to the ride area we did drive-by-viewings some bird exhibits and other animals, much too fast to really appreciate, but I reminded myself, “Hey, she’s only three. Let’s go ride the train!”
On the merry-go-round Keana rode the tiger. I think it was a little scary but she held on and eventually got into it. She didn’t even need me holding on to her, but her hand must have been numb from holding on so tight. I must admit, that ride ended just in time for me. I guess I still don’t like rides that go around in circles.
Then we rode the race cars and Keana chose the gold, sparkly sports car. She was the only one on the ride- luckily I was too big to go- and she had a blast. The first couple times around she smiled at the ride attendant and me, then proceeded to sing songs and narrate her little adventure to herself. She even steered in the right direction! After race cars we went on the train that takes you around a small part of the park and around this little hill with a great view. After the train ride Keana just had to ride the race cars again, so I indulged. We had been at the zoo for a couple hours so it was time to pack it up and head out to lunch. One last stop at the gift shop yielded “sister lizards”, one for Keana and one for Maia.
The trip to the zoo was a blast. It’s so fun reliving childhood and experiencing these things with your own kids for their first time. Fun fun.