Zoobily, Zoobily, Zoo!

So we’re getting pretty good at the temple trip thing around here.  The closest temple to us is 3 hours away in Saint Louis, so as you can imagine, we have had to learn a lot about how to make it a successful day.  We have learned the optimal time to leave, the optimal amount and types of foods to bring along, and other important lessons to make the day a success.

Lesson # 17 was this:  Do something fun as a family in Saint Louis after the temple!

The zoo in Saint Louis is free to the public, and if you know where to go and are willing to walk a bit you can even avoid the parking lot fee!  Sa-Weet!  Then if you only spend an hour or two there’s no guilt!  For our April and May temple trips we spent about 3 hrs. at the Zoo after attending the temple.  It made for a fun family day and we arrived at home just in time for bed.  Perfect.  We knew we wanted spring trips because the Zoo is much less crowded and not so flipping hot as it would be in say… August.

PS– The Saint Louis Zoo is amazing.  Seriously.  It has large, gorgeous, well kept grounds, happy, lively animals, and is so big that even after spending 3 hours there we probably only saw about 1/4 of what it had to offer.  My poor pictures don’t do the place justice. We are fans indeed!

Pics from Trip #1:

This collage includes… Truman sulking and eating a muffin in his chair, Truman being escorted around by Jacko, and quick peeks at the flamingos, a black bear, prairie dogs and seals.
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A traveling exhibit came to St. Louis so the boys got the very special treat of getting to pet real live sting rays and small sharks.  That’s what you call a little boy dream-come-true.  Daddy took them through (this one you had to pay for so Truman and I opted out) and he even bought them real shark teeth in the inevitable gift shop you have to walk through to exit. Corey is a sucker for gift shops.

I had to have a little giggle to myself watching from the outside.  Jack was running around like a mad man and pretty soon attracted the attention of one of the workers.  She stayed with him for the rest of the time ensuring his safety and the safety of those around him.  He didn’t get in any trouble… he was just way, way excited.  She It looked like she was teaching him and trying to slow him down a bit.  Cute boy!

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What a nice Dad!

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Next it was off to the penguins.  The penguins Alaster LOVES but wouldn’t admit to enjoying.  He’s way too cool for penguins now.  It’s all about scary animals.  The penguin exhibit has both an outdoor and an indoor (cold) habitats.  In the cold area you are literally inches from the penguins that completely surround you.  It is ever so tempting!  I had to seriously restrain myself from just reaching over or up and giving one a little pet.  They were so active and cute!

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By far the most entertaining exhibit was the Gorillas.  Holy cow.  They were putting on quite the show!  They swung, wrestled, banged the glass, stayed at the glass and pressed their hands up to a cute baby… I mean… it doesn’t get any better than that!  Corey tried so hard to get Truman interested.  It was a no-go.

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Jack’s favorite place was the Herpetarium.

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If I thought he was a crazy man with the sting rays and sharks I should have waited till we got here.  Komodo Dragons!  Anacondas!  Alligators!  And every other kind of cool lizard and snake you can imagine!  He would run to one tank say “Oh the __________ !  I know this one!  It_________” And he’d spout off some random fact that he had read in a book.  He was in heaven.  I wish you could have seen him!

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Truman had fun all around the zoo, but only because he was enjoying walking outside.  We could NOT get him interested in the animals.  FINALLY when he saw some particularly active white monkeys he got excited.  It was pretty cute 🙂

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And some fun family shots by a gorilla and an ox.  Corey and I took pictures by the big cats.

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Pics from Trip #2:

This time we parked further away, but we walked by some really fun places on route to the Zoo:

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First Stop at the Zoo: Insectarium.  If Jack weren’t so excited about it I wouldn’t have entered on principle.  Do you see their sponsor?!?  Monsanto?!?!  (If you don’t get it watch King Corn and you will.)  Cute, excited boys:

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Jack wanted us to take a picture of him fighting the beetle:

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Our favorite thing inside was the butterfly house.  Again… the pictures don’t do it justice.  They were beautiful, and they were everywhere!

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Next we headed off to Africa-Land to see Elephants, Hippos, Giraffes and the like.  The Elephant habitat is so large that you walk around it on a long trail and see it from about 5 different look out points.  I don’t even know how many elephants are inside of it.

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Up next we are going to try the free Art Museum! We’ll let you know how it is!

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