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Houston Zoo Adventure – Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Our youngest monkey turned 1 year old last week, so in BigKidSmallCity fashion, we planned a birthday adventure. We usually head to Downtown Houston or Montrose for a scavenger hunt, but for this birthday, that did not quite fit. After 1 year with 3 kids, it’s become clear that the animals are running the BigKidSmallCity Zoo. In recognition of this, we took adventure to Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo.

Joe and Brooke helped to make our list of things to do while at the Houston Zoo. It included:

o Ride an animal.
o Cool off.
o Check out the giraffes.
o Eat a picnic snack.
o Splash at the splash pad.
o Find something you have never seen before at the zoo.
o Give money to a bird.
o Take a picture of a duck.
o Eat a grilled cheese sandwich.

Last Saturday we loaded up our animals and pointed the minivan towards the zoo. This happened to be on Museum District Day, so I should have added “Find a Park Spot” to the list of things to do. After circling the lot a few times, and stalking one poor family that was leaving the playground, we were able to steal a spot.

Instead of gifts, we ask for museum and zoo memberships for Christmas and Birthdays. Because of this, we have a zoo membership that allows us to walk right in and stay for as long (or short) as we want.

Once in the zoo, we remembered it was Get Out and Play Day. There were booths and games, making it easy to “find something we had never seen before at the zoo”. We stopped at the tents on the way to the giraffes.

The kids ran in through obstacle courses, searched for reptiles, won McDonald’s coupons and more. When we got hot, we cooled off at the fan misters.

We eventually made it to the giraffes and “checked them out”. Right next door, we “rode an animal” at the carousel.

Next we stopped to eat our animal cracker snack on a bench and then jumped in the water at the splash pad.

The list seemed short, but it always seems to be the case that when we are in the very back of the zoo, the kids start to loose their cool and their legs stop working. Not wanting to disappoint, my 3 monkeys started to fuss and fight in the African Forest. If you were there, you probably noticed the woman with the baby strapped to her chest and a 5 and 3 year old both sitting in the single umbrella stroller, fighting about something they made up.

We stopped in the shade to regroup and decide if we could muster up enough good behavior to finish our adventure. Fortunately we had “give money to a bird” on the list and the kids have been dying to put money in the huge bird bank near the flamingos. The kids were certain they could be good for the rest of the adventure.

But their legs still didn’t work. So, I got a nice hamstring workout as I pushed 90 pounds in the stroller and carried an additional 20 on my chest. (But don’t worry too much about me.  I haven’t worked out consistently in 5 years and I depend on these adventure meltdowns to make sure my jeans continue to fit.)

We made it to the bird bank and suddenly everyone’s legs were working. The kids climbed the steps and fed the bird a few quarters, ran around in circles and then both climbed back into my single stroller.

I pushed my crew out of the zoo and walked across the sidewalk to Pinewood Cafe. Here we ordered the famous “grilled cheese sandwiches” and ate them on the outside patio. We watched the boats on the water and, “took a picture of a duck”.

We loaded the kids back in the car and had 3 monkeys asleep when we got home.  Happy Birthday Sweet Baby James.

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1 Comment

  1. Tiffany
    September 21, 2012 at 7:19 am — Reply

    Happy Birthday James!

    Jill- You always are so positive! I would have a meltdown with the kids, you turn it into a workout! I’m glad you had a nice time.

    Our Moody Gardens passes expired, I’ve been looking for a new place to get a membership to. Maybe the zoo…

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