Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

Seeing Carter watch and laugh at Harper got me thinking about how much fun it would be to take him to the zoo.  I really wanted Ty to go with us so he could experience Carter's first trip to the zoo.  We went today and had a blast!  Carter's favorite animals were the parrots and the rhinos.  Although he did fall asleep so he missed some really cool animals.

Carter was all eyes for the parrots.  He loved the sounds they made.  He had his serious face on the whole time and just stared.  One of them squawked really loudly when we moved on to look at other animals and he jumped. 
These pictures show how intently he watched them.
He enjoyed all the birds.  They didn't even have to move or fly and he was intrigued.  I think a lot of it had to do with their bright colors.  We could have spent most of our time in the aviary and he would have been happy.
I can't believe how big Carter looks here!
It ended up being pretty warm.  While we were at the zoo the temperature climbed into the mid 80's.  Many of the exhibits were inside which helped keep Carter cool and shaded so we carried him.  It was very sunny when we were outside, so we kept him in the stroller with the shade pulled to keep the sun off his skin.  When we got to animals, we would find a shady spot and get him out to check them out.
Posing in front of the pelicans.
After about an hour at the zoo, the fun had gotten to Carter and he fell asleep.  I was disappointed at first because I wanted him to see all the animals.  Then I remembered that Ty had never been to the Tulsa Zoo and he was really enjoying himself.  I told him we probably won't have another calm and relaxing trip to the zoo for another 15-20 years.  We enjoyed each other's company while Carter napped.
If you look closely at the giraffe on the left, he/she's looking over the fence.  The train had broken down right outside the giraffe enclosure and they were trying to get it to start again.  We were cracking up as we walked by because it was almost as though the giraffe was trying to give them pointers.  All the giraffes were intently watching the train.
Ty and I spent quite a bit of time watching the sea lions while Carter was sleeping.  I really wanted to take him back over to see them when he woke up.  They had been swimming while we watched them and one got up on the rock to lay out as we were leaving.  When we came back with Carter the sea lion was still on the rock in the exact position it was in as we left.  It reminded me of Skippy.  Pretty sure he was in the same place when we returned home from the zoo as he'd been when we left.  I just know Carter would have loved watching them swim from the lower viewing area where you see them in the water.  Maybe next time!
Carter wasn't too impressed with the penguins.  Actually Ty and I weren't either because they were just lazing around in the shade.  We were really hoping to see them swim.  Maybe it was too hot or sunny for them to be very active.  By the penguin exhibit they have a large rock showing the sizes of different kinds of penguins.  I told Ty we'll have to take Carter's picture with it each time we go to the zoo.  Right now he's close to the size of a Little Blue Penguin.  I even like the name of it!
We will also have to take his picture with the meerkat statue again.  The meerkats were so adorable, but they were small and farther away so Carter wasn't too interested.  His favorite animals were the big ones, bright ones, and those he was close to and could see really well.
It's hard to see the meerkats with the glare, but if you follow my gaze you'll find them.
Carter got hungry while at the zoo, so I nursed him.  We found a shaded picnic area off to the side where no one else was.  We picked a picnic table farthest from the walking trail and I faced away from the trail.  All of that wasn't really necessary because I had a cover-up on, but I always like to be as secluded as possible.  While Carter was eating I heard a woman yell, "Look that lady is breast feeding over there" in a disgusted voice.  I whipped my head around to look at her and she and the person she was with were both staring at me.  Seriously people?  This isn't an exhibit over here and it's quite natural anyway.  Some people are so strange! 

Ty was too busy taking pictures of the geese begging for food to notice.  It cracked me up because when they first came over he told them he didn't like them and to go away.  Next thing I knew he was snapping pictures!
As we were walking to the Elephant Encounter (elephants are my favorite!) we saw a rhino at the edge of its enclosure.  The rhino was eating greenery growing up against the fence.  We off-roaded in our Bob to get over there and it was so worth it.  Carter was amazed by the rhino.  I think he loved it because it was so close to him and it was so big.  You can see in the picture on the right how intently he stared at it.

Today was such a great day.  I love watching Carter look at something new and unfamiliar.  He gets so serious and just stares.  It was also such a blast to spend some quality time with Ty while Carter was napping in the stroller.  Ty was like a kid again when he saw animals he was really excited about.  I love seeing the adventure and joy he has in his heart.  It's one of the many reasons why I love him.  It's also why he and Carter will be partners in crime as Carter grows up. 

My favorite picture from the day, I caught them with the same look on their faces.  Not sure who enjoyed the rhino more!
Most of the big cats were lazing around in the shade when we saw them.  I got excited because I saw a tiger get up and walk to the edge of it's area.  I pointed it out and Ty exclaimed, "Well, hey there, buddy."  I could just picture Carter saying the same thing some day.  I joked with Ty that I did a great job picking a mate (gotta use zoo terms at the zoo, right), but it's definitely true.  When I think of Carter growing up to be like his daddy, there's nothing that gives me more joy.  Ty is a wonderful man, husband, and father.  I couldn't ask for a better example for our son. 

Days like today are what life is all about.  Being with those you love the most and creating memories as a family.  I love it when we are both with Carter as he experiences something new.  There is nothing better in the world than that.

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