Reminiscing : Yet Another Zoo

{This ones for you Kath! With lots of pics to make up for my tardiness.} Back in June, when Spencer and I were visiting my folks in Jersey prior to going to Maryland for Gigi's Party, we hit up a favorite zoo from my childhood. My sister Kathleen had taken some time off to join us for the extended weekend, and was able to join us. My sister and I spent the majority of the visit commenting on how this was not the zoo we knew, and remarking on how much it's grown. It was a fabulous visit, one that Spencer still talks about in vivid detail.

Before I dive into the zoo though, a cute story. In my hometown there is an Asian Fusion restaurant that my family loves. We make sure to go every time we are in town. (My folks enjoy there fare more regularly than I want to know about. My envy would just be too great.) We went there for lunch that day prior to going to the zoo. I knew Spencer would be eating off of everyone's plates, so I just ordered him a bowl of rice. Or shall I say, bop. I also asked for a set of chopsticks for him. The servers all looked at me like I was a little crazy, but obliged. They offered me a set of "helpers" multiple times, and every time I turned them down. It should be noted that every server and staff member we encountered was Asian, only because that helps set the scene that follows. Spencer's bop was brought out and I handed him his chopsticks. He proceeded to go to town, eating his bop with chopsticks like the pro he is. Whispers started across the room, and soon we had a semi-circle of servers and staff surrounding the table watching Spencer eat his rice with dead on precision... using helper-free chopsticks. Priceless. Two servers even commented that they still don't eat their rice that neatly... that's my boy!

After lunch, it was off to the zoo...

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[There were peacocks *everywhere*!]

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[On fences...]

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[In trees...]

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[walking across our paths...]

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[This was one of the first exhibits we saw...]

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[It was a HOT day, and Aunt "Neen" made sure Spencer hydrated...]

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[One of the first animals we saw that day. Spencer still talks about this owl vivid detail...]

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[And then he spied this elephant sculpture...]

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[which Aunt Neen and Spencer needed to bestow kisses on.]

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[We saw other cool sculptures as well.]

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[Then... we got to feed birds!]

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[There were birds everywhere...]

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[We fed the birds for a while...]

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[... then left our sticks for someone else.]

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[I think this was Kathleen's favorite exhibit.]

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[We had an unsuccessful attempt for a photo...]

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[Very unsuccessful.]

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[This was my favorite exhibit...]

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[Look at how close they could get!]

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[Did I mention that Spencer wasn't having any photos?!]

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[Next up was a ride on the carousel!]

Now, I know we've been seeing lots of photos of "No Hands Spencer" on the carousel these days... but up until this point, he had not been a fan of them. All this changed when Aunt Neen took him on this one.

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[They chose the giraffe, in part because it didn't go up and down... one hurdle at a time and all that.]

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[Not so sure...]

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["What did I get myself into?!"]

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["Be kind to me Mr. Giraffe."]

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["Help me!"]

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[Not really enjoying the ride...

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[...this isn't so bad...]

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[... hello!]

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[Waving to his cheering crowd of supporters.]

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[A Carousel Convert!]

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[After the carousel, we determined it was time for a treat. G-Pa and Spencer discussed the options.]

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["G-Ma, we're getting TREATS!"]

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["Does this machine dole out juice boxes?!"]

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[Spencer's first italian ice.]

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["I get this whole thing?!"]

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[YUM... I think he likes it!]

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[Meanwhile, Kath and I indulged in a throw back to childhood.]

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[YUM!]

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[I think she liked her treat too.]

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[Getting help from G-Pa...]

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[And G-Ma...]

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[Then it was off to see more animals! These were some of Spencer's favorite animals...]

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[... and these!]

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[Did I mention there were peacocks everywhere?!]

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[I mean, everywhere!]

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[And then... we surprised Spencer with a train ride!]

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[Waiting patiently for it to start...]

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["It's starting!"]

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["We're going!"]

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[Bye!]

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[Riveted...]

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[... and excited!]

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[The train went through the woods...]

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[...and past a reservoir.]

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[I think Kath enjoyed the ride too...]

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[All too soon...]

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[It was over.]

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[After the train ride...]

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[We said goodbye to the zoo.]

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['We're all done?!"]

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