A not-so-wild day at the zoo

My daughter has always been an animal lover. When she was a toddler, she had an imaginary horse and she would pretend she was a puppy.

So last year for our family vacation, we took her to a zoo.

As we walked to the main gate through the parking lot, she kept saying, "I've never been to the zoo before! I'm so excited!"

It was summer, and my husband and I being in our 40s, the heat was getting to us a little. But not to our little girl. She was raring for the whole five hours we were there. We didn't get to see all of the animals because there wasn't enough time before the zoo closed. She cried when we told her it was time to go, but we promised her we'd go back.

In the year since, her playtime pretending has expanded to include animals from the cat family, in particular, the cheetah. She tells my husband and me often that she's faster than a cheetah.

Her two new favorite shows to watch are "The Octonauts" and "Wild Kratts," both of which teach children about animals. My daughter knows about animals I don't think I'd ever heard of until I was an adult. (A gazelle comes to mind.)

So, this year we returned to the zoo, determined to see the animals we missed last year, in particular, the zebras, cheetahs and giraffes.

But this year, she left her enthusiasm at the gate, it seems. When we got to each animal, she was glad to see it. She fed a giraffe, she petted the stingrays, she cheered when she saw the elephants.

It was just the walk in between attractions that left her kind of whiny. I figure we (mostly my husband) must've carried her more last year, but now that she's a year older, we made her walk on her own more, and she sure felt it.

Thankfully, she wasn't so whiny that she took the fun out of the adventure. We all still had a good time, and it was great to see the animals we'd missed.

A short video of a lion at the zoo.






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