Dom had Presidents’ Day off; but of course I didn’t even realize it until SAturday or Sunday. It’s just another day to me. So when I realized he was off, I thought there was no way I was going to waste it by staying home.
So, what to do? Obviously it would have to be an indoor activity. 2 feet of snow on the ground and a high of 28 with a stiff breeze are not conditions conducive to long periods of outdoor activity for the preschool and toddler set.
It’s school vacation week here in Massachusetts. Unlike Texas which has one week of spring break around Easter, here they have a week in February and a week in April. Well I guess you need that when the winters are so long. February really is the longest month and I don’t care what the calendar says to the contrary.
Anyway it’s school vacation week so we figured the museums would be crazy packed. But we also have a zoo membership for the year. And the gorillas are inside in the toasty warm tropical rain forest exhibit. Sounds heavenly. Once we ascertained that the concessions were open we knew we’d hit on the winning field trip. (We didn’t have any bread in the house so we’d have to buy lunch there or stop by the store on the way to the zoo for provisions.)
Maybe it was a bit more crowded than it would have been some other week day in February but the crowds were nothing compared to an average summer day. And we really lucked out on our choice of day. When we arrived at the tropical rain forest exhibit everyone was eating cake.
Turns out they were throwing a birthday party for the silverback, Little Joe, who turned 21 lat week. The gorilla enclosure was festooned with streamers and evidence of a party– cardboard popcorn cartons littered the ground. A baby gorilla was playing with a purple ball as we ate our super yummy cake.
My favorite was the mother gorilla and her baby, who were right up next to the window. The baby was tumbling about and putting her mouth to the glass, delighting Bella, who put her hand right next to the baby’s. Then the baby went over to her mother and began to nurse. She latched briefly to one side, then almost immediately switched to the other. Then back and forth several times while grabbing and squeezing with both hands. I’m glad my little ones are more gentle; but oh the whole thing was so very familiar and sweet.
Since many of the exhibits are closed for the winter we felt no need to rush through the tropical exhibits. We were able to linger and watch. Bella still didn’t remember to actually take her sketch book out of her backpack. Oh well. Capybaras, vultures, ibises, lemurs, tamarinds, bats, a pygmy hippo, tapir, mandrills, hornbills…. But the gorillas stole the show for sure.
The kids sat still for story time with a zookeeper and then we went for lunch. Just overpriced zoo concessions, but it was hot and yummy nonetheless. Then each kid had a trip or two or three down the slide that was just outside and taunting them with its presence throughout lunch. Then a quick jog down to see the ostriches up close– ostriches in the snow!– and home again with a stop at Target for diapers and a new broom.
I was annoyed that Target has pulled all the winter clothes from the shelves already and replaced them with swimwear. Bella busted the straps on her snow pants and I was hoping to find a pair her size on sale. What on earth is up with swimwear in February in New England? So annoying.