moral of the story... always check the membership fees because it could be the better deal!
and that's how we ended up planning a trip to the zoo.
labor day weekend, we headed to asheboro, NC where our largest state zoo is. the last time we took a trip to the zoo, i was pregnant with elijah, so this was his first trip. with six kids, you can't please everyone, someone is going to be hungry, someone is going to be thirsty, and someone is going to get tired. here are a few things we learned from our trip to the zoo that we will most certainly keep in mind for our next trip.
1. take the tram all the way to the end, first thing, and then walk back.
the NC zoo is not designed in a complete circle, therefor, you have to walk all the way to the end and back, or take the tram. next time, we will most definitely hop on the tram first thing, while we are still fresh, excited, and full of energy. by the time we were at the end, our kids were ready to go! they most definitely didn't want to walk back and even standing to wait for the tram was traumatic for them. in their defense, it was a hot day, and i was pretty ready to go too.
2. don't go on a really hot day.
you will sweat and you may even be miserable. not, to mention, many of the animals will be too hot to move and will more than likely be hiding somewhere to keep cool. although we got lucky with the elephants, the polar bears, and the grizzly bear, many of the animals like the gorillas and chimps, were no where to be found.
3. bring a backpack filled with supplies
this one we actually did! I filled a backpack with water bottles, a few snacks, and not much else to carry along the way. having a backpack frees up your hands to take pictures with a camera or grab unruly kids.
4. wear tennis shoes
this is kind of a no brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many people i saw wearing flip flops. you will be doing a lot of walking if you want the best views of the animals.
5. take a look at the zoo map and mark which animals you want to see most
by the time we left the zoo, we had some kids screaming they were ready to go and some that were screaming they wanted to see other animals. a good idea is to take a look at the park map by either pulling it up at home before you go or when you arrive. if this is a once in a lifetime trip, then of course you are probably going to want to see everything. however, since we have passes, a good idea would have been to let each child pick the one animal they absolutely did not want to miss and then decide as a family what else you want to see. if you know you will have the opportunity to come back, then trying to make your way through every single animal is not a must.
we had a great time at the zoo, but one thing that was a bit overwhelming for us was elijah's incredibly short attention span. some of the animals didn't phase him one bit and almost seemed to entertain him as much as a photograph of that animal would have. at one point, i remember picking him up to show him one of the animals, his eyes locked on it, he said "wow" in his most unenthusiastic voice, and then screamed for me to put him down... where he promptly ran over to play with a stick. seriously? we did a lot of chasing after him all day and jason and I pretty much gave up really trying to look at the animals ourselves, or really enjoying the experience with the rest of the children, just to make sure we didn't loose sight of elijah.
how would you suggest handling this situation? at one point we thought a baby leash was a good idea. i have always kind of despised those things and never had to use one on any of my other children. how do you feel about them?