Confession time: It took an outing to a petting zoo with thousands of other mommies, daddies and toddlers to make me feel like a parent. Crazy, I know. You would think that not sleeping through the night for almost two years would have done it but alas, it took amusement park/zoo chaos for it to click. I couldn’t help but stop and look around at the throngs of people and think……. No, we don’t look alike or talk to our children the same, but in the end we were all in the parenthood pool of umbrella strollers, sippy cups, diaper bags, snacks, and whiny sweaty kids. Day trips to Disneyland as a kid were running through my head all day as I pictured those trips from my parents view for the first time.
This was the first outing like this for the three of us since it takes 5 hours of driving for a couple of hours of fun. We did this trip for Mae Mae as her 2nd birthday present. I really hope to keep the trip tradition going from year to year. Memories from these little days trips will last much long than any toy we can make or buy.
The location for all this weekend fun was Grant’s Farm in St. Louis. Owned by Anheuser Busch and open since 1954, it is a St. Louis icon. A tram takes you in and out of the park that is half wildlife refuge and half petting zoo. Privately, I did have a few chuckles overhearing some of the conversations around us. For most of those kiddos, this was their first exposure to something that barely resembled a farm. The excitement in their voices was great to hear but also saddening at the same time.
First stop was the baby goats. Poor little guys were so full from the hundreds of bottles they had already seen that they were just content to take a nap in the sun. That didn’t stop the kids, including Mae, from trying to get them to drink anyway.
Next stop was the carousel.
This little girl got with it now….She watched the other kids and knew what to do. Not one tear was shed.
Mae Mae got her first real life peek at bison, elk, elephants, flamingos, geese, hawks….and others that aren’t coming to mind any longer.
Since we were too cheap to pay $20 for the group photo that the park graciously takes for you but then holds hostage, we tried our own split version.
The highlight for the adults was the two free beers per person. Gotta love a park owned by a beer company!
The highlight for Mae Mae was feeding the camel. She is still talking about the camels and the camel kiss she got.
Though I didn’t catch the moment on camera, here is a shot a few moments after the camel kissed her entire face all at once. Initially she wasn’t a fan but hasn’t stopped giggling about since. Picture lips from forehead to chin! It was great!
Once we made our rounds, fed the goats, got kissed by a camel, ate the $3 pretzel, and of course finished our free beer, we hopped back on the tram for the journey to the car. Then we commenced the two and half hour ride home that we planned for nap time. She awoke only 45 min later and was not a happy camper.
All in all it was a good trip though it was exhausting. Eddie asked it I would do it again. Yes, I would do it for Mae Mae….and of course the free beer.