I was having some problems inserting pictures. If I can get that fixed, I’ll update.
We are lucky to have a good park system in our town. One of the parks(Phillips Park) has a mini zoo complete with foxes, river otters, elk, geese, ducks, a HUGE turkey, wolves, 2 cougars and a couple of eagles. Oh yes, and the newly added reptile house. AND ITS FREEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Today I thought we needed a diversion. We picked up Maddie from school, sunscreened everyone and headed out. It was an absolutely gorgeous 90 degree day in Aurora, IL. In May. See this for my feelings on that.
The Phillips Park Zoo has the same animals except for a new addition maybe every couple of years. I always think the kids will get tired of going but they never do. If I ever want to stop the whining(them, not me) and complaining(sometimes me) all I have to do is ask if they want to go to the little zoo and blam! Instant mood change.
The first thing to see are the peacocks. If we’re lucky we can see the males putting on a show with all the tail feathers fanned out. We’re not sure if it’s their defense mechanism or if they’re trying to hit on the peahens. On to the river otters named “Teeter” and “Totter”. They were swimming around today and Maddie wished she could join them.
After 2 years without, the zoo finally got another bald eagle. Actually, 2 bald eagles and a turkey vulture. Very cool to see up close. The former bald eagle died from West Nile Virus. Ick. There was an employee out today with a display of animal skulls, and antlers. JD of course thought they were all dinosaurs and Maddie just wanted to move the jaws up and down on the coyote skull. Very exciting. They all got goody bags with a zoo tattoo, pen, pencil, & magnet.
The foxes weren’t out today. Probably too warm. My kids have named all the foxes “Sammy” after Grandpa & Nana’s Pomeranian of the same name. They do look alike. Up the hill to the giant turkey who will come up to the fence and stare at you. JD loves that. Across from the turkey is the cougar enclosure. A couple years ago they got in two cougar cubs and they were absolutely adorable. They’re bigger now. And lounging in their den so we didn’t get them up close like we did last Fall.
A goat ventured into the barnyard for lunch but the llamas couldn’t be found. Same for the wolves. Slackers. Off to the water mill and geese. Well, there must be something very romantic about the sound of running water because one of the geese decided it was time to consummate his relationship with another goose right there in front of God and everybody. The kids thought it was hilarious. Reactions: “That duck is being so silly”, “Look Mom, they’re swimming!”, guffaws, giggles and much laughter. Time to move on. Must get goose sex image out of my brain.
The reptile house is pretty cool. American alligators, tortoises, pythons, an iguana–all the biggies. They have a display of small cases holding little lizards, tree frogs and a tarantula. Nice. Ick. Fortunately, the tarantula hides underneath a log in its cage. JD takes the opportunity to impress a little blonde girl that’s been walking with us and invites her to come see the big scary spider. We’ll work on his approach. We ended the tour with a look out over the lake habitat where the elk, swans, ducks, turkeys all live together in suburban foresty bliss.
We were on our way to the truck just as the park tram pulled in from its park tour. The kids REALLY wanted to take a ride and I REALLY wanted to go home and get lunch. Thinking it would cost money, I agreed to check it out relying on the excuse that we couldn’t ride it today because I didn’t have any cash. It’s free. I’m glad we went though because it really was an interesting ride. The park contains the site of an archeological dig in the 1930s which unearthed Mastodon remains. There is an exhibit of the expedition in the park’s visitor center.
We had a great time and did I mention it was all free? The kids were happy, we all got a little sun, fresh air and exercise and they napped well. I’m the best mom ever. What do I do tomorrow?