Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OKC Zoo, Off the Beaten Path

I am a creature of habit, a routine follower.  I sit in the same pew at church, I have the same shopping routine on relatively the same day.  And, when I go to the zoo, I walk relatively the same route:  elephants, Oklahoma trails, carousel, aquarium, herpetarium, Children's Zoo, parking lot.  Today we went with some pretty zoo-savvy friends and saw some completely new things.  My daughter acted as though she had never seen the giraffes before.  Silly girl, your daddy took you to see them...once!  I always plan on seeing the giraffes but they are kind of out on a big, exhausting loop of hyenas and "hoofed animals" and once you get stuck out there on a hot day, you don't feel like repeating the experience!  We also saw some Red River hogs and their little babies.  Interestingly enough, they were from West Africa.  For those of you not in Sooner-ville, the Red River has a whole different meaning around here!
Another rare one for us, the cat forest.  We usually hit the lions briefly, but don't take a lot of time to see the leopards, ocelots, etc. and it was a nice treat to really check these guys out.  We spent a lot of time in the Oklahoma Trails, which is always a fun experience for the kids to learn about their home state.  This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest exhibits at the zoo.
Of course, my kiddos cannot spend the day at the zoo without a turn on the carousel.  Their picks today:  the zebra and the walrus.  My daughter thought it was great fun that her friend behind her was on a leopard; she kept turning back and making her most aggressive zebra noise to scare the chasing leopard away!

Somehow, on the way out, we took a different turn than we have ever taken before and ended up at a great cacti garden.  It's strange how you can go to a place a hundred times and still find something new.  Then we did a quick tour through the aviary, another new stop for us.
It was fun to see a familiar place from a whole new angle.  Makes me realize that I need to break out of the routine a little and see what other sights/experiences there are out there!  Maybe I'll make an effort go to the zoo with a different friend every month; who knows what else we will discover?
What, you ask?  No elephants, no Children's Zoo?  These are, after all, probably the biggest draws for families with children, and rightly so.  Don't worry, elephants, we will be back!  But today was a fun day for new discoveries at one of the favorite places for this mommy to go!

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