My niece Lyssa has been working at the Hogle Zoo all summer, and keeps on asking when we were going to come and visit her. It finally worked out perfectly, to have my niece Sarah go with us.
Bobi drove Lyssa and Sarah, and we met them in the parking lot. Sarah had spent the night at Lyssa's house the night before, so we got her things transferred to my car, said good-bye to Bobi, and headed in.
This was the maiden voyage with the stroller converted to a ride along seat for Ellie. She loved having the freedom to hop on and off.
It was so fun to spend the day with Sarah! I loved every second of it. I haven't spent a lot of time with her over the years, as she lives with her mother in Illinois and is only here with my brother for a few weeks each summer. She is vivacious and spunky and helpful. I truly could not have done the zoo day without her.
Lynnie was reluctant to get out of the stroller for a picture, but Sarah was able to persuade her.
This is also the only time all day that Lynnie let anyone besides me touch her. She was a little overwhelmed by all of the people and things to see. She did great, as long as she was in the stroller or in my arms.
Hiding behind Baby Dolphin definitely helps.
We loved all of the photo opportunities with the statues. We never found the tortoise shell that I remembered from my last visit to the zoo (at a Spencer family reunion, maybe 10 years ago?). Lyssa told me later that she it was taken out.
Do you want to take a picture with the elephant?
A fun part of the day was watching some drummers in the African Village. Lynnie really wanted to try, and she was happy to play her drum as long as I stood right next to her.
Next up was a ride on the carousel. Sarah and Ellie stood in line while Lynnie and I bought tickets. Then "the big girls" got on while we made our way through the line. Ellie spotted the eagle and climbed right on, and Sarah said she would save the ones next to it for herself and Lynnie.
To my amazement, the animals Sarah saved were a turtle and a dolphin.
Totally random. And totally perfect!
Lynnie was nervous, but was super brave and tried it out. She even rode for about 10 ups and downs before wanting to be pulled off.
Ellie loved every second of it!
The abandoned dolphin...
We spent a good portion of our morning wandering around the Small Mammals and Reptiles building. We saw lots of turtles!
Sarah is an awesome poser for the camera. She looked at me and smiled every single time.
Ah, maybe someday Ellie and Lynnie will do the same!
After we saw the Asian Highlands, we realized just how nice and shady the rest of the zoo is. We had quite a walk along a stretch of....nothing. No animals (except a couple of llamas) and no shade. There is a new exhibit under construction on the one side, so I'm sure that will change, but it was interesting for us.
The girls did a good job taking turns pushing the stroller.
Then it was time to meet Lyssa for lunch. She had a half hour break and we used every minute! Luckily she was able to let us buy lunch using her 50% employee discount.
And frugal me still felt like it was overpriced, even at 50% off.
After Lyssa ran back to work, I realized I had neglected to take a picture with her. Oh, well!
The girls were done, and we had pretty much seen the whole zoo, so we headed out to the exit. A few more pictures, and we were ready to go.
The drive to Jon's house was awesome, because the girls settled in with their electronics (and Lynnie fell asleep within minutes), and I could just focus on Sarah. She is so interesting to talk to!
After getting Sarah dropped off, we headed for home. While I was still on I-215, Sarah called. We had forgotten to get her bag out of the back of the car. I was so glad at her timing--at least I wasn't all the way home! I quickly turned around and drove her bag to Bobi's house (a faster place, since Sarah was headed back there in a couple of hours).
A wonderful day, and a wonderful adventure!