We went to the Central Park Zoo today. I had such high hopes, visions of perfection. I was giddy with excitement this morning, anticipating the animals Luke would see for the first time with a look of sheer amazement and what Hannah would squeal about and talk nonstop about on the drive home. I had packed a picnic lunch which I hoped to eat outside the monkey cage or sea lion tank. I knew there was a petting zoo and looked forward to seeing Luke’s expression as he touched his first goat. It was my first big outing with the two of them by myself. And I was truly looking forward to what lay ahead. Some things are just so much better when left to the imagination.
Here were the top issues:
– My stroller. I should have had a huge sign that read “WIDE LOAD COMING THROUGH!” and a beeping sound coming from me. The double stroller was impossible to maneuver through the crowds and people would just look at me as I tried to get through, tempting me to just ram right into them or over their feet to get by. Poor Luke was overwhelmed with the amount of calves he saw coming at him from his vantage point. Hannah easily was able to get in and out of the stroller to make her way up to the cages but Luke had a hard time adjusting to being held, strapped back in, held, strapped back in. And letting him walk was impossible because he veers left when he walks which, well, complicates things.
– The animals. I had thought the collection of animals at the Central Park Zoo was larger than it was. There just weren’t the animals that one (namely Hannah) would expect to see. No lions, no tigers, no giraffes, no elephants. Plus, the animals that WERE there decided that today was not the day they wanted to show their faces. I’m sure most of them were hiding behind a tree snickering at all of us lame-o’s waiting with baited breath to see them make an appearance. The Snow Leopard was the MAIN attraction at the zoo and we stopped by 4 times to see what all the fuss was about… no. show. Never saw more than the picture of what she looked like hanging above her viewing window.
Petting zoo? What petting zoo? I must have missed that all together.
The animals we did see were penguins (pretty damn cute waddling around, sliding down rocks, paddling in the water), polar bear (also adorable until you read the description of how they would rip you apart if given the chance) and some funky looking monkey. I take that back – I was actually the only one of the three of us to see the monkey because it was in a spot that even when I lifted Hannah up she still couldn’t lean over far enough to see it, which brought on a flood of tears. Luke was so unimpressed by the animals at the actual zoo that I started pointing out the squirrels running through the park and the dogs being walked to make him think he was seeing something more exciting.
– The ice cream cart. I just can’t escape the ice cream truck drama. It was 11:00 in the morning when we got to the zoo and the first thing Hannah saw was the truck. And that’s then all she talked about the rest of the trip. She wanted to eat her lunch immediately in the stroller to ensure that she’d get a chance to have an ice pop. This then made Luke want to eat his lunch. Scratch the picnic idea. I squatted in front of the stroller (in front of the turtle pond no less) and fed Luke his cheese sandwich and yogurt while Hannah scarfed down her cream cheese and jelly sandwich. After seeing the three animals we were able to catch a glimpse of, we headed to the dreaded ice cream truck where Hannah got a Blizzard Blast. A red, white and blue frozen stick of sugar. She ate it as we meandered through the park toward Tim’s office and when I looked at her 10 minutes later she literally looked like a smurf with a bloody nose. Not just a little blue but stained BRIGHT blue with a BRIGHT red mouth and nose. Adorable.
– The drive home. I was one child down on the ride home since Tim invited Hannah to spend the rest of the afternoon with him in his office and they commuted home together. Lucky thing. I pride myself in being a good NYC driver and know the way in and out of the city like the back of my hand. Unless there’s a detour. My regular route was a no go and it’s the only way I know. I started getting the cold sweats… I ended up in the middle of the Bronx with NO IDEA where to go to get back on track. Somehow I must have told my GPS to take the SHORTEST route instead of the QUICKEST route and it was winding me in and out of an area that made me pretty uncomfortable. I’m sure it was safe enough but I was wishing I was not driving my Fairfield County Ct. SUV. I’m sure I did not BLEND. Luke didn’t know the difference but Hannah would surely have loved responding to my “where the f*ck am I” and “you must be f*cking kidding me” at each turn…
So there we had it. My dream trip to the zoo with the kids. I think I need to do it right and just go to the Bronx Zoo next time. With Tim. With a single stroller. After lunch. When the animals are in the mood to be more social.