Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Go to the zoo. (in the off season!)

For today's tip, I thought I'd share a recent post from Irish Central, where I write routinely about the whimsy of parenting -- or, more accurately put, the ups and downs of life here in the Lyons Den... or any other humble abode that happens to be crawling (at times, quite literally!) with little ones.

Last weekend, I took several of our tots to the zoo and was reminded once again of the joy of visiting the zoo in the off-season; there were no lines, no crowds, and easy access to the things that matter most to us... animals, bathrooms and snacks -- not necessarily in that order!  In a nutshell, the morale of this story is to take your tykes out and about when other folks are lazing about inside.  Sure, it might be a bit brisk but that's easily resolved with a cup of hot chocolate and I can assure you that the simple pleasures of zoos (and aquariums, museums, parks and playgrounds!) are all the better when you can enjoy them without a crowd... and, without the fear of losing your children in that crowd!  Should you wish to read on, here is a tale of two zoos as I recently told it to my pals over at Irish Central...

I am a zoo-lover.  To me, one of the gratifications of having children is the ability to share my love of animals and wildlife and create little zoo-lovers to follow in my footsteps.  With five tykes seven and under, we've been quite busy exploring every zoo within reasonable -- and not so reasonable --distance from our home in the suburbs of New York City.  To date, we've been lucky enough to visit the   National Zoo in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Zoo ...

The Bronx Zoo (on numerous occasions) and, on one stellar day, the Dublin Zoo.

Our visit to the Dublin Zoo was last October, during a whirlwind family trip to visit our roots in Ireland.  Since then, we have visited our "local" zoo in the Bronx twice -- once on New Year's Eve (yes, I did choose to ring in the new year with all our children and the sights, sound and smells of zoo animals!) and once this past weekend.   On Sunday, my husband Des took our seven year old, Liam, to see the Ireland vs. France rugby match and, given the choice of staying home alone with our four other tykes or heading to the zoo, I did what any other sane, tired 40-year old mum would do, I took them to the zoo!  Again!  And, once again, I was reminded of a tale of two zoos... 

"Our" zoo, the Bronx Zoo, is the zoo of my childhood.  The zoo I visited on class trips.  The zoo I first shared with my children.  But "your" zoo, the Dublin Zoo, is truly a zoo of many wonders.  It is the zoo where my one and only little lady turned five.  It is the zoo where I could swear we experienced four seasons in a day as the wind blew and the weather turned from sunny to cloudy to rainy to frigid to sunny once again.  It is the only zoo (and, as I've now established, I've seen many a zoo!) where we saw an elephant take a bath, a herd of giraffes happily mingle with several zebras, and truly, more animals than people!  

Don't get me wrong, I love our zoo here in the Bronx and am pleased to report that membership has its privileges; last Sunday, we parked, visited and rode the merry-go-round for free, thanks to our annual family membership.  We got up close and personal with tigers, gorillas, sea lions, a polar bear and more than a few "friendly" peacocks.

At the end of the day, it's hard to say which zoo would win the battle of the zoos... personally, I just feel blessed to have visited them all and to have five fab kids to share them with.

1 comment:

Tragic Sandwich said...

I only got to the Bronx Zoo once when I lived back east--but it was a great zoo!

Because we live in L.A., when it's never really off-season for the zoo (unless it's raining, which apparently isn't going to happen this winter), I guess my tip would be to go on a weekday. Which doesn't work if you have a job with fixed hours. And doesn't help with the insane amount of walking the L.A. Zoo requires (http://tragicsandwich.com/2012/03/01/its-a-zoo/).