We live about halfway between New York City and Philadelphia. You would think that since we are within easy driving distance of two of America’s greatest cities that we would visit them all the time. Sadly, we don’t take advantage of our wonderful location as often as we should. Philadelphia often gets forgotten in the shadow of New York.
Last week we had a free day, so I decided that we should spend it in Philadelphia. The zoo seemed like a good choice. We have never been there, and the kids are the perfect age for a zoo visit. We no longer need a stroller, and they are fascinated by animals.
Parking was not easy. I was irritated that I had to pay $12 to park on the street surrounding the zoo. That seemed like a steep price since we weren’t even in a parking lot. Next, we got to the ticket booth where I shelled out another $48 for the three of us to enter the zoo. Once we got inside, my irritation wore off. The zoo is so park-like that it is easy to forget that you are in the middle of a large city. The exhibits were gorgeous. Best of all, we went on a day when thunderstorms were predicted. The zoo was not crowded at all, and the animals seemed very active.
The big cats were so active that it scared me a bit. When Luke and Leah walked up to the tiger exhibit, they put their hands on the glass and pressed their noses to it. Two tigers immediately stood up and walked over. One came just inches from the glass. It was unnerving. Leah thought they liked her. I thought they saw dinner in front of them!
As we moved through the zoo, the kids saw the train ride, the carousel, the camel and pony rides and the swan boats. Each of these rides cost a minimum of $3 per person, so there was no way we were going to do them all. I told them they could pick one. They picked the most expensive and most difficult… the swan boats. I tried to steer them to the carousel, but Luke said, “C’mon, it will be a new experience!”
They are beginning to use the phrase “new experience” to manipulate me, but I fall for it every time. So, a few minutes later, the three of us donned life jackets and got into a glorified paddle boat for a few laps around an algae covered pond. The kids loved it! Their small feet couldn’t reach the pedals. They sat back and enjoyed the ride as I pedaled and pedaled. It is not nearly as easy as it looks. After 3 laps, my back was drenched with sweat, and I was ready to dock. As we disembarked, I realized that my wallet was $18 lighter, but my kids were acting like it was the best ride they had ever tried. It might have been worth it after all. Besides, I think I burned at least 200 calories.
Luke’s favorite part of the zoo was the Reptile House. Ever since he let someone put a snake around his neck at the Trout Hatchery, he has claimed to love snakes. His feelings are more love/hate as he was equally enthralled and scared as we walked through the dimly lit rooms.
We spent 4 hours at the zoo, but it really wasn’t enough. At 4:45, we practically ran back to our car as the zoo was closing up. We passed lots of animals for a quick glance. I tried to run past the kangaroos, but the kids were way too excited to just pass. Neither of them had ever seen a kangaroo, and they instantly fell in love.
I thought the kangaroos would have been Leah’s favorite since she was laughing hysterically at them as they hopped. But, when we got in the car, she told us that the flamingos were her favorite animal. I was surprised because those were one of the animals we practically ran past. She said, “Mom, of course they are my favorite. They are the only animals in the zoo that are PINK!”
Overall, it was a fantastic day. It was expensive, but since we don’t get to Philadelphia very often, it was a treat.
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