The other afternoon K and I were watching tv and I said "hey, I'd like to go to the zoo", because we were watching an animal show ... so it wasn't a completely random thing to say ... and then I realized that I don't have to work every day anymore so we really could go to the zoo.
Jason and I worked every day up until the last few weeks ... on any given day at least one of us had to go to work so this whole day off together thing is really wild. It's taking a bit of getting used to. When I schedule things and someone says "how's Wednesday, the ??" and there's nothing going on I'm just amazed, in a very good way.
So I told Jason I wanted to go to the zoo, and he too was shocked that we could, so we did. We had to.
Last summer we purchased a family membership to the Milwaukee Zoo in Wisconsin, which just happens to have a reciprocal agreement with the zoo in Tampa ... so we all got in for free. Can't beat that! Most zoo, museum, aquarium, etc. memberships can be used at other establishments, and they are listed on the web. If I buy two memberships a year - a children's museum and a zoo - I can usually find something free to do near the kids' regattas, which are held all over the state, giving the rest of us something to do. The only drawback is that some organizations consider a family to be four people so they may not give a discount for everyone ... just something to check into.
And it was fun. We saw bearded pigs, snakes who might have been trying to kill each other (or mate?), flamingo's tending their nests with their mates, pretty birds, incredibly colorful dart frogs, and pygmy hippo's ... pygmy is relative, they were small huge hippos.
The highlight of the visit, as it was last time, was the stingray tank. The zoo really does a wonderful job keeping it full of ray's. They also allow, for a small free, visitor's to feed the ray's, creating a tankful of friendly little beggars.
If you've never touched a stingray do so if the opportunity arises. They feel like a Coach handbag. Yum. Really, very soft and smooth, but smooth like soft leather, not like plastic. And they are very gentle creatures, playful and splashy at times, but gentle. At the zoo they trim the tail/stinger so there's no risk of being injured. In the wild they really only sting if they feel frightened or threatened, so do the stingray shuffle and all should be well (of course, if we are at the beach and hear there are stingrays in the water we just stay out of it).
And then there was the big giraffe. Very pretty.
This animal could be fed crackers. Which was really swell, until you put one on your hand to give him (her?). The tongue is quite long and slimy ... a hand washing after feeding the giraffe was a must.