Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Gift that Keeps on Giving...

Last Friday, we went to the zoo.  It was our TENTH visit since mid-march.  Crazy, I know, but let me tell you a little bit about our love story with the zoo…

It all started as a first birthday gift to Reed.  (Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! You read books about gorillas and monkeys, and we think you’d like the zoo!)  As I mentioned above, we have already been to the zoo TEN times since Reed turned one.  Matt and I like to refer to our present for Reed as the gift that keeps on giving.  Sometimes we mean that in a good way…

Our first visit to the zoo was a family day in celebration of Reed’s birthday!
Since then, we’ve visited with various cousins and friends!  Zoo Atlanta isn’t even all that big, but each visit is still fun and unique.

And we aren’t just fair weather friends!  We have hit up the zoo in the full-blown summer heat, and even in the rain!  In fact, the day it rained on us was probably my favorite visit so far.  It was (understandably) NOT crowded.  And the animals were so active!  That was the day the lion (usually sleeping in the sun with his back to us) showed us his magnificent mane, and the day that the gorillas put on a fantastic show right outside the observatory window!

Over the past few months, we have watched Po, the sweet baby Panda, grow bigger and bigger.

We got an up-close peek at a brand new baby gorilla being cradled by its mom, and then a couple of months later getting a piggy back ride.

Most recently, we caught a glimpse of the not-yet-named giraffe calf out for the very first time!

Chelsea, one the Sumatran tigers, just had two cubs, but their exhibit won’t debut until next month.

Reed really loves the zoo!  He points and laughs and yells out his favorite animal names/noises as we make our way around.  (This is a significant improvement in just 3 months from his first visit, where we weren’t even sure whether or not he was looking at the animals).  He has learned a lot, and we had no idea he would fall so in love with the gift that keeps on giving.  Sometimes, though, we mean that reference in a not so good way…

After our first couple of visits, Reed began to enjoy the zoo a little too much.  He would cry and beg to visit daily.  “Zooooo! Zooooo!”  I am sure you understand that we cannot go to the zoo everyday.  Reed, however, does not.  Get this: one day, we spent a delightful morning with friends at the zoo and Reed fell asleep in the car on the way home.  He woke up as we pulled into the garage and started crying to visit the zoo!  What!?   Below is a series of pictures taken as Reed notices a membership email (with pictures) I opened from Zoo Atlanta… He sees the pictures, freaks out, shows me the animals again, and launches into his elephant impression.
Crazy tot.  My fave is the second pic!
We think Reed’s favorite animals are the gorillas, which he call “pat pats” (while he pats his chest).  Usually when he cries for the zoo, it sounds something like: “Zoo! Zoooooo… Pat! Pat! Pat! Pat!”  Matt came up with the idea one afternoon to look up videos of gorillas on you tube to watch with Reed.  That worked for the moment; they had a good laugh.  Now he cries for the zoo AND the pat pat video.  Backfire.

Thankfully, Reed has mellowed some.  He often cries for other things besides the zoo (like, for instance, cookies and cheese).  But it really is cute how much he loves that place.  He thinks anything green and forest-like is possibly a zoo exhibit; this makes for some funny outbursts in the middle of west cobb!  He learned the word an-i-mal (pronounced so clearly that is will make you giggle) last week, and seems to understand the concept.  So, our entrance into the zoo on Friday was heralded by loud, hysterical, Tourette-like exclamations of An-i-mal! An-i-mal! An-i-mal!  People were turning and looking, and we can only imagine that they were thinking to themselves, "that kid needs to get out more!" :)

I guess that was a very long way to say it, but I wanted to tell you how much Reed loves the zoo!  Maybe your family would enjoy a membership as much as we do!  Here are five reasons why we chose a zoo pass as our bday gift:

1-    Who would pick a toy over a year full of fun and learning and memories at the zoo! :)  We thought something experiential that would last his whole 2nd year would be a great gift.

2-    Zoo Atlanta is easily accessible from 75 and 20, has free parking, and allows you to pack your own lunch from home… easy on the wallet.

3-    We were able to put "guest" instead of specifying Matt’s name on the membership, so that when we go during the week we can take along a mommy friend and any buddies Reed’s age for free.  (My ulterior motive!)

4-    I love that it is outside!  Sure, the summer can be hot, but there is a lot of shade at the zoo.  We usually get there at 9:30 when it opens (and is cooler), and we leave right after lunch.

5-    We had a $10 off coupon, plus Zoo Membership is tax deductible (okay those aren’t reasons, but definitely perks you should know about!)

Okay, this isn’t a zoo commercial, but the membership has seriously been a huge hit.  Or, if you don’t have a zoo in your area, how about a pass to an aquarium, children’s museum, or even a children’s play place, like a bounce house or Gymboree!  My parents recently added me to their grandparent membership at Imagine it, which is also so cute and fun.  We can’t wait to go back!  If anyone wants to plan a visit, let us know!
But don’t take it from me… Here is an interview with the little zookeeper himself.
(Warning: not professional quality (read: dumb mom comments), and representative of a 1-take video with a 16 month old!)


  1. love that sweet boy!-favorite

  2. I'm so excited to hear he loves it! We just bought one of the groupon deals for a zoo ticket, so Weston will have his first visit very soon. I can't WAIT to watch him enjoy it.

    We've never been to imagineit - going to google it now. :)