Saturday, July 9, 2011


Every year, it gets more and more difficult to find time for a family vacation.  Last year, we went to Chicago as a family because we were able to block out the time.  This year, our schedules just didn't work.  I took four classes and volunteered for a week, and my brother works full-time and isn't easily able to get time off.

So, we decided to do a weekend staycation... you know, a vacation where you stay in your home state.  My parents, who will both be turning 60 this year, and my brother, who is now 23, had never been to the zoo, which is remarkable considering our zoo is arguably the best in the United States.  I have been there countless times during my childhood (with aunts/uncles or as part of camps) and as an adult.  So, my family decided that they wanted this to be one day of their weekend getaway.

My mom's favorite animal is the penguin, so we had to make sure to arrive in time to see the penguin feeding.

This was something I hadn't seen, but I really did learn a lot during the presentation.  Here, the zookeeper on the right is tallying the number of fish each penguin is eating to make sure that they have all been fed and that no penguin is over-eating.

My brother was most looking forward to the aquarium.  (Cue JAWS music...)

I always enjoy looking at the jellyfish.  They're beautiful, but also deadly.


The Desert Dome is structurally well-done, but I find it to be quite boring.

I was told to take a picture of the Bobcat because it is my brother's college mascot.

My favorite exhibits are the monkeys/gorillas.  Here was a monkey who lives in the jungle.

After we had been walking for a while, we decided to ride Skyfari (a ski lift of sorts) to the other side of the zoo and back.  My parents and brother do not care for rides, so this was about more than they could handle, as you can see by how tightly they are holding on:

We finished our day in the gorilla valley and orangutan forest, looking at some more of my favorites.

After the zoo, my mom said she wanted us to eat at a sit-down restaurant that they had never been to before.  Cheesecake Factory proved to be exactly what she had in mind, which meant I got to enjoy this slice of Heaven.

All-in-all, it was a fun day away!

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