Yesterday, I slept in until after 9:00. It was glorious. It took 8 years of parenthood to get to this place, this place of extra rest, this place of having children old enough to linger in bed on a Saturday morning.
It must’ve been due to this that I was feeling benevolent. I sat down at my computer with my yogurt and coffee and began looking up fun things to do with my kiddos. It didn’t take long to decide on the zoo and our Hartman Family Adventure from Fayetteville, NC to Asheboro, NC began!
I packed snacks and water and got everyone loaded up but it was still almost 10:30 when we finally pulled the car out of the driveway. Thanks to some back roads Siri decided we should take, we didn’t arrive at the zoo until around 1:00 and then enjoyed some snacks in the shade of the trees before we ventured inside. Really, I was glad of that – less stuff to cart around with me.
We entered at the Africa side and just walking across the old wooden bridge got my kids all excited!
The boys sported baseball caps (something they never wear) to keep the sun out of their eyes and I loaded all the kids up with sunscreen, but it turned out that almost all the walkways and even exhibit observation areas were under the cover of trees. I come in only three shades – extra pale, red, and more freckled – so I was very thankful for the shade, having forgotten to spray myself with sunscreen.
The rock outcroppings just off the main trails simply couldn’t be passed up by my children. Daddy is a rock climber and it must be in the blood. There were also these fun statues of animals that we passed throughout the day and I couldn’t resist stopping for pictures.
Nathaniel (my oldest) doesn’t like to have his picture taken unless he’s showing off some new Lego creation so he OFTEN averts his eyes purposely. His little way of cooperating, but not cooperating at the same time. See, even us professionals have trouble getting a great result sometimes! My kids are just so used to the camera that it’s lost all interest for them. (Don’t worry, I’ve never had trouble getting kids to cooperate for my regular sessions.)
I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the actual animals because I only brought one lens and most of them were too far out for me to get a clear shot anyway. However, the elephant was my favorite. I just love them. This one performed a few tricks for us! We happened to get there just as the trainer was answering questions and feeding this big guy carrots. Throughout the presentation, Mr. Elephant kept making this low sound. Someone finally asked the trainer what it meant and he said it was a sound of contentment much like a cat’s purr. Pretty cool. Also, the elephant/rhino habitat was HUGE. I mean, massive. I’ve always seen elephants in smaller enclosures. Not so at the North Carolina Zoo. All the habitats we saw for these larger animals (giraffes included) were very large, with plenty of space to roam. I’d be making a sound of contentment too.
Just outside of the elephant exhibit was this awesome “tree.” You could just stand under it and cool yourself off as you were lightly misted with water. My kids couldn’t get enough of it! There were also some interactive games throughout the zoo that my children really enjoyed. Alas, I had my camera so I had to forego the misting tree. Maybe next time.
Of course they had to climb into the giant ostrich eggs. They thought it was hilarious. I just barely avoided the how mammals are born discussion. Thankfully. I know it’s coming soon but I’m hoping to hold out until Lover Boy gets home.
Evelynn’s favorite. She couldn’t wait to see PINK flamingos. Once we got up close and personal, she couldn’t stop holding her nose. Seriously, these birds stink. I’ll enjoy them from a distance.
The tropical frogs were probably Matthew’s favorite. The boys have been really into catching toads and learning about them and frogs this summer so getting to see the brightly colored, very poisonous frogs in this exhibit was right up my little thing’s alley. We actually visited it twice. That’s how much he liked it.
The aviary was a wonderfully cool spot! The air conditioning units blew up from the ground, hence this next sequence of images.
Plus, the birds were up close and personal and very beautiful.
My kids wanted to stop by the honeybee exhibit but honestly, being completely terrified of all insects and spiders, I could barely force one foot in front of the other. (The picture on the left – that’s from the frog exhibit.)
We stopped to enjoy a frozen treat – frozen soft serve strawberry lemonade. It was pretty tasty, a big hit with the kids and I was thankful they had something lactose free. We had passed several ice cream carts and I was beginning to think we wouldn’t find something that Matthew could enjoy as well. And enjoy it he did!
We got a late start and only managed to get through half the zoo (just the Africa side) before closing time. But it was enough. My kids couldn’t wait to catch the tram back to the entrance so we could rest our feet in the car. The two hour drive home was much needed. I just love the picture below of Evelynn’s face as the tram arrived.
And that concludes this chronicle of Hartman Family Adventures. What adventures do you have up your sleeve?