No, really. It's one of my favorite places in the world. I don't know what it is exactly that I find so enticing, given that in some ways the captivity of hundreds of animals is sort of sad. Except that I totally don't think it's sad at all, I just think it's super awesome and so much better than getting eaten by a lion on the savannah.
So when we trekked down to Colorado Springs, I knew that this time we would have to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We've talked about it before, but for various reasons (most of them involving nap times) we've never actually taken the plunge.
And, you guys? It was magic. M-a-g-i-c. Largely because of this:
Casey only got to stay with us for about 45 minutes because he had to work, but we were all lucky to experience this moment of awesome together.
I love this picture. I think her face so perfectly captures the emotions that were written on my heart.
We arrived right as the zoo opened, so even though they have a truly amazing outdoor habitat for the giraffes, we spotted them when they were all coralled together indoors. It was pretty cool, too. There were probably a dozen or so of these beautiful creatures, including one baby who was absolutely adorable.
The best moment, though, was this one:
So much fun. Giraffes are not as soft as you might think. They're definitely more on the prickly side, slightly more coarse than horsehair but a similar feel.
Despite the fact that Casey was called off so much earlier than we had anticipated, and despite the fact that Logan missed his morning nap which made life a little tougher on all of us, we had an absolute blast at the zoo. It is a truly amazing experience.
And, if I ever had any doubts that there is a connection between humans and apes, it has been definitively dispelled. They have an incredible mountain gorilla exhibit which included a momma gorilla and her baby, born exactly two weeks before Logan. I watched in sheer awe as this mother gorilla did so many of the same things that I do. She picked up the baby and drummed on his hiney; she licked her finger and wiped goop off of him. Probably most amazingly, she lifted up both her arms above her head, and then the baby mimicked her. All I could think was, how big is baby? SO BIG! It was exactly the same thing we do here at our house.
I will admit now that I was a little bit nervous about having the kids in the Springs. Even though we went down to visit Casey, he had very little time to actually spend with us, so it was just me on my own with my two littles. Off our schedule and out of our element, without our usual food, bed and surroundings. It was a perfect recipe for disaster.
Fortunately, everything went just fine. It wasn't anywhere near as stressful as I had anticipated, and I'm feeling so much more confident about managing our lives - more than that, about thriving in our lives when it's just me and the kids. I even recieved several compliments from different random strangers about how well I parent my children. It was a very much needed and appreciated reassurance that I can manage well on my own, even though I'm outnumbered.
If you're ever in Colorado, I definitely recommend the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Even if you're not in love with zoos like I am, I guarantee you'll be won over by this one.