zoo day!

We had a great day at the zoo yesterday.

Well, we had a great day, part of it was at the zoo:

Ollie climbing on a ladder
Ollie climbing on a ladder at Balboa Park

The boys were up at about 7:15AM, or at least that’s approximately when I became conscious enough to have awareness of them being awake.  They were busy playing monorails, so I didn’t interrupt.  Instead, I made waffles, which we all ate.  Then they played some more, Reid playing Cars on the XBox 360, Ollie playing monorails more, then Ollie took a shower with me.  The boys (mostly Reid, this time, remarkably enough) cleaned up, and we left by about 11:40, driving south.

We stopped in Sorrento Valley at a Jamba Juice off of Mira Mesa and got a Strawberry Surfrider (“Pink Drink!”) for the boys and an Orange Dream for me, then kept heading south.  We parked at the zoo (Ollie wanted to know if it was the zebra section or the kangaroo section — turns out it was the kangaroo section), then headed towards Balboa park and started the day there with a ride on the miniature railroad.  After that, we headed to the fountain, then toward the play area.

Both boys on the swings
Both boys on the swings at Balboa Park

They played on ladders and on the swings, and on a cool whirling spinning thing (only Reid) that I should’ve taken a picture or video of, but didn’t.  I went out of my way to geotag everything on my phone, so maybe I’ll put the tagged pictures up on a map somewhere.

We also saw a group of people taking what must’ve been a drum lesson (maybe a free one?).  Reid was fascinated, but Ollie was ready to move on.

As an aside, one weird thing about the park is that it has trees and shade everywhere but near the play-area.  I don’t understand why the play area itself isn’t well-shaded by trees.  Who thought this up?

Reid kneels on one of many platforms to watch the trains
Reid kneels on one of many platforms to watch the trains

After all that excitement, we went to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.  I think this museum is one of those places where, if you’re obsessed with a particular thing — even if it’s “just” your hobby — you pick up your whole life and move to be near that place.  It’s by far the largest set of model railroads, tracks, and trains I have ever seen.  Reid was absolutely fascinated.  So was I.  There were a handful of adults who seemed to have the sole task of maintaining the place.  It only cost the boys and I $6 to get in (kids under fifteen are free), so they must be volunteers.  Still, seems like a pretty great gig, if you can get it!

Me playing with the panoramic feature of my cell-phone camera
A panoramic image of the train set
Olle ignores the amazing museum
Olle ignores the amazing museum

Ollie preferred to play with the Thomas the Tank Engine train-set stowed in a corner of the museum.  This area seems to be the place where most moms and small children wind up while older kids (mostly boys) and their dads observe the minutia (quite literally) of the model train museum.  One of the the museum’s employees was giving what sounded like an interesting tour; if I get a chance to bring Reid back by himself, perhaps we’ll do that.  For Ollie, a tour like that would be the worst form of torture.

This play area got crowded, and eventually even Reid joined in.  I was packed in with about ten other kids and four or five other parents.  Somehow neither of my kids got hurt or upset, or did any injury upon any of the other kids, so we all escape unscathed.

Wow, we’re not even at the Zoo yet!

We took a short break after the train museum for some bad-for-us snacks, and water (for Ollie and me) and milk (for Reid).  Then we headed out to actually go to the Zoo!

We did get interrupted by some sort of turtle/tortoise exposition on the way there; it was free so we went in.  I don’t have any photographic evidence of this, so perhaps it was some sort of sun-exposure-induced hallucination on my part.

Watching
Watching

Well, we finally made it to the Zoo!  I didn’t take any pictures of the Skyfari ride, because, like them, I was totally thrilled to be on the ride and nothing else occurred to me.  After that, we started down the hill toward Polar Bear Plunge.  After buying a churro and some more water, we stopped to watch the deer and get refreshed.

Still having fun!
Still having fun!

Then we continued onward.

A polar bear.
A polar bear.
Riding a polar bear.
Riding a polar bear.
Ollie, contemplating his navel
Ollie, contemplating his navel
Reid: a roll stuffed unceremoniously into his face
Reid: a roll stuffed unceremoniously into his face

I really like this restaurant Albert’s at the Zoo, so I go there whenever I get the chance.  The food is passable, the view is great, and what the heck, you’re at the zoo!  It’s the only sit-down restaurant at the zoo, and I really like it.  They got rid of my favorite dish which was a vegetable Napoleon and replaced it with a vegetable pave, which as far as I can tell is the exact same thing, only shorter.  Reid and Ollie enjoyed spinach ravioli.  Reid promised not to enjoy it, and therefore not to eat it, but I slid his “bubbles” (Sprite) away, and told him he’d get them back after he tried one bite.  He did, and I gave him back his sprite.  He insisted that he still would not eat the ravioli, but over the course of the rest of the meal quietly cleaned his plate of it, and at the end denied liking it one bit.  He most definitely didn’t complain about eating it after his first bite, though.  They both also wolfed down as much bread as they could get their hands on.

They complained about being cold, so we decided (in a great leap of amazing logic) that we would have to go see the snakes after dinner to warm up.  We did just that, then hurried to a restroom (for an hour or so here, I could swear we did little more than go to and return from restrooms).

One the way back from one restroom trip, we were waylaid by a band — a band with hula hoops!

O&R Hula Hoopin'
O&R Hula Hoopin'

On the way back from another restroom trip, we stopped at the Wegeforth bowl for a 7PM show.  Then we left for a restroom trip, but got back just in time for the show.  The show consisted of a hawk (some sort of bird native to San Diego, whose name I now forget), a misbehaving sea lion, and a tamandua — which is essentially a miniature anteater.

The hawk flew directly over our heads, which we all thought was neat.  The sea-lion kissed a little girl on the cheek — apparently in a previous show, his victim had gotten a kiss on the lips, so he was practicing for the next one in our little “show”.  Finally, we were delighted to learn that anteaters sometimes eat apple-sauce.

Cute, huh
Cute, huh?

We took this picture on the way out just to prove that we can be cute whenever we wanna be.  Both boys were asleep within about fifteen minutes of starting the drive home.

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