I woke up at 8:30am naturally, without an alarm.  The sun was shining through the window and there was a nice morning breeze.  And then it clicked, it was 8:30!?  Ellie was still asleep?  Oh my gosh, I’m late!  We were going to meet my friend Meggan and her son River at the zoo and needed to leave by 9:00am.  Of course, of all the days to sleep in, Ellie picks the day we have plans.  That seems to be her new trend, it’s like she can sense it.

Even though I left the house in a rush and was feeling a bit frazzled, I still felt prepared.  Ellie and I were already goobered up with sunscreen, had her water bottle, and lunch was packed.  But when we parked in the parking garage and saw the other families I instantly felt a little insecure like I was a rookie and was totally forgetting something major.  It was a sea of mini-vans filled with kids and strollers and coolers.  Coolers? I didn’t bring a cooler. Did I need a cooler?  Parents were wearing shorts and bright white sneakers with white socks.  I was wearing jeans.  Was it really going to be that hot today?  Did I read the forecast wrong?  They had hats and visors on and were standing next to their mini-vans applying sunscreen and bug spray to themselves and their kids.  Bug spray?  I didn’t bring bug spray.  Did I need bug spray?

As my mind was swirling around with insecurities and feelings of inadequacies, it finally clicked.  I was only going to be here for two or three hours.  I did have everything I needed.  I was prepared.  I don’t need no stinking cooler.  Not yet anyway.

We were gifted a membership to the zoo a few months before and this was our first time using it.  The member card reads “One year supply of vitamin Z.”  At first glance I actually thought I got a year supply of vitamins with my membership (how could they afford to do that?), but then I realized there is no vitamin Z.  This membership only gives me access to the zoo plus one guest.  Bummer.

I finally got to the ticket booth and presented my card.  The woman looked at my stroller and asked if that was my guest.  “That is my daughter” I replied.  “Is she your guest?” she asked again.  What?  No, she’s gonna pay her own way.  We are actually meeting different people here.  What kind of question is that?  Give me my bottle of vitamin Z and let me in!

The first thing I noticed about the zoo was that I felt like I was at a stroller expo. Stroller Expo 2011 Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday, at the ZOO!  We saw double-wides, double stackers, and a double-wide with a third kid stacked on top!  Big wheels, small wheels, all kinds of colors.  It was crazy!  I felt like I kept interrupting Meggan to say, “Hey! Look at the spokes on that one!”  Luckily, I feel that I have a nice ride and was probably making heads turn myself.  That’s right, watch it glide ladies, it’s a Baby Jogger.  Jealous?

My stroller gawking subsided a bit and we were able to focus on what to do.  Our zoo has a new exhibit with dinosaurs.  Not real dinosaurs, duh, animatronic ones.  I found it funny that we went to the zoo, the ZOO, where they have real live animals, and the first thing we did was pay extra money to watch old fake ones!  But it was pretty awesome!  We saw a moving T-Rex, and then another dinosaur devouring a smaller dinosaur.  Ellie pointed and smiled.  And then another one came out of the water and snapped it’s jaws.  Ellie smiled and pointed again.  I think she likes dinosaurs.  Rawr!

Our zoo outing continued with diaper changes, a lunch break, and alternating naps between River and Ellie.  Not before Ellie got forward with River and started grabbing his feet though.  I think he kinda liked it too.

After a few hours in the sun and being chased by bees, I think we had reached our limit and it was time to journey our way back towards the exit.  Although I didn’t have a cooler or bug spray, we successfully survived our first trip to the zoo.  Meggan however wasn’t so lucky in escaping the bees and got stung on her arm.  She took it way better than I would have too.  But hey, better to get bitten by a bee than a T-Rex!


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