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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

More than just a day at the zoo

As I watched my two little girls ages 8 and 9 circling around on the Jungle Carousel at the Lowry Park Zoo, I had a thought, “Can a day get any better than this?”
It was such an indescribable feeling, sitting there watching my daughters have fun and not worrying about anything else. The girls were so excited when I said we were going to go to Lowry Park Zoo. They couldn’t wait because they hadn’t been in years and loved seeing all of the animals.
I couldn’t wait because it brought back memories of me taking them when they were younger. It reminded me of days when we could just get in the van and go on a whim. This was before we had restrictions like school and work.
Since the girls had been babies two of my favorite places to go for a day trip were Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens. I think the reason we liked these two attractions was because we love animals and because we could travel there in less than an hour.
 I love going to the zoo, because you don’t have to pay to park and the admission price is reasonable. Since the last time we went, they even included most of the rides for free and in the past you had to pay for each ride.
We would go to Busch Gardens because they had a preschool pass program where kids could get in free until they were five years old.

I loved walking them in their stroller. It was great exercise! As they got older they would walk. Now they run!
 It just brought back so many wonderful memories. Not only memories of the zoo itself, but the people we went with us to the zoo. While we were driving there, we thought about all the different people who went with us including grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.
I realized so many times, as parents we get caught up in our everyday lives. I know I do. Even at the zoo my phone went off with a text from work. Of course when I got it, I started texting back, but you’ll never guess what happened? My battery that was charged just died. The phone just stopped working. I couldn’t text back.

I knew it was a sign and that I needed to not be thinking about work and re-focus back on why I was there.
We need to take time and have quality time with our kids. I needed to do this without distractions. My kids missed that and I did too. I probably missed it more than them.
My kids and I had a blast. The weather was one of Florida’s gorgeous sunny days, but not too hot, just right in temperature. Even though the parking lot was full, the zoo wasn’t crowded. We were able to see everything we wanted to see and not have to wait too long for anything. The only ride we waited more than 20 minutes was the Expedition Africa Guided Safaris, which is an 18 minute tour of the animals on a trolley. The other rides, like the Jungle Carousel and the Tasmanian Tiger Family Roller Coaster the waits were minimal. The fun part was going on these rides with the girls. Yes, I even went on the roller coaster and I am not one for roller coasters.
I asked my girls what the best part of the day was and they said they couldn’t pick just one part. They said everything was great! I had to agree. For me this day refreshed and revitalized me as a mom and built on the good memories I have with my daughters.

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