Going to the zoo with just Emma was an interesting experience. Forgetting the stroller made it even more interesting. I liked Emma's take on this omission though -- "Mommy, not having a stroller means that we can go up the stairs together!" The zoo did not seem as not as crowded as I thought it would be, but that was largely because we went straight to the new Grizzly Bears then worked our way forward, opposite of just about all the other zoo visitors. The two Grizzly Bears were a lot of fun to watch. They were very playful and active while we were there, and we sat and watched them for a long time. Fairly regularly one of them would start to sniff the air intently, and after a little while I realized that she was doing that every time the breeze started blowing the delicious grease-laden smells from the nearby cafe towards her enclosure. That must be rather hard to take for a bear with such an acute sense of smell! Emma and I really did have a good time, until I violated one of the cardinal rules of parenting -- namely, do not keep going once your child gets tired!
Going to the zoo with only Emma also allowed me ample opportunity to eavesdrop, so I present this as a service to the blogosphere:A Helpful Guide for Fathers Taking Their Children to the Zoo
- When there is a lion with a mane, and a lion without a mane, there is an extremely good chance that the lion without the mane is not a "he"
- Generally it is best to read the sign before telling your children what the animal is in the enclosure (e.g. the spectacle bears are not "small black polar bears")
- Do you realize how ridiculous you sound when you tell your toddler daughter: "Oh look, the tiger loves you! Don't you want to give the tiger a big hug? Don't you want to play with the tiger? Phoebe, say I love you tiger!"
(I don't know why it was just men who I overheard saying dumb things... and I refuse to speculate)