Bug,  Super Dad,  The Zoo,  travel

the zoo blew

We went to the San Diego Zoo yesterday. This trip had been planned for months and months. I was so excited to go. Baby Bug and I read about animals in her books all the time. I thought this would be the cat’s pajamas for her to see real live “oooh oooh aaah aaah’s” (monkeys) and giraffes and lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! It would be just like Disneyland except not so fake and probably not as crowded. Sounds like fun!

Well, I was wrong. The Zoo stank. Don’t misunderstand me though, I love the zoo and I think the zoo is super fun. It’s just not so fun for one-year-olds. One-year-olds don’t like looking at cages with sleeping animals. They’d rather play with the wire fencing or pick leaves off the ground or examine dried chewing gum stuck under the bottom of railings. Anything but look at the boring animals.

I don’t know why I forgot that animals sleep all the time when you’re at the zoo because I remember clearly being very disappointed about the exact same thing when I was a young excited eight-year-old. When you go to the zoo, all the animals sleep. That’s all they do. And if they’re not sleeping then they are leaning up a against a wall looking depressed.

The worst is when you walk all the way over to the other side of the park, all excited to see some polar bears “plunging” into icy cold water and playing with rubber balls and eating fish… and when you get there, NOTHING. Nada. Zip! The polar bears are sleeping! Even worse, they’re hiding in their caves sleeping so you can’t even look at their sad yellow fur!

I turned to Toby and said, “I remember, the last time we were at the zoo, making a mental note to go straight to the polar bear exhibit in the morning because that’s when they’re up doing things.”

(We got to the zoo at two, a very sad and pathetic time to get there considering they close at four.)

Toby said, “I remember making a mental note to skip the polar bears all together.”

Hmph! So why did we both forget our mental notes and cart a squirmy impatient and very bored one-year-old with us all the way over to the other side of the park to see the icy blue polar bear pool with no polar bears in it? I have no idea.

I think it’s parental amnesia or something. Just like we somehow forgot that we are on a budget and we weren’t supposed to buy Baby Bug any stuffed animals. She needs more stuffed animals like a hole in her head.

All in all, I do think the zoo was fun. We just had to do it at our own pace. We had to lower our expectations. So what if we just look at hoofed animals and birds, that’s okay. How many little goats and deer can there be anyway? A LOT. Sheesh! I think every little goat and small deer in the world is represented along the “Horn and Hoof Mesa.”

Baby Bug did like the fish in the Rain Forest Aviary and I got a kick out of the orangutans. You can get right up close to them and pretend to scratch their hairy backs. But they did look a bit depressed. Zoo’s can be so sad sometimes, even an excellent zoo like the San Diego Zoo.

I would definitely go again but I think it will be way way way more fun when Baby Bug is three or even five. I think she’s just as happy playing in the park with leaves and grass as she is looking at giant giraffe heads coming at her. I think the best part of the zoo for her was just spending time with both her mom and dad. Even though Toby is at home every day and she plays with him every day, it’s very rare that we spend the day hanging out together just for fun. I say, lets do more of that.

This is not the pesty post. I’m still simmering on that one.


  • OMSH

    Yes! I think the golden age is 4. At age 4 they can remember all the names – even the names of things YOU don’t remember. And they ask questions and run forward for the next cage to see, See, SEE what is there!

    4,7,10 –> Zoos rock for our family right now.

    We did the zoo at 1,2, and 3 (for our older ones) and everyone under 4 has always complained, was entirely too thirsty, needed to go potty 100 times, and/or wanted to be carried b/c their legs were TOO TIRED!

  • bluejaye

    We only go in the morning. It’s fun to hear the monkeys before you get there and rush to find out which ones are screaming.
    The is a window of enjoyment. My kids think the zoo is boring now that they are 11 and 12. This better when they are totally mobile.
    We have this great steller cove where the steller sea lions live. I could stay all day at the underground window watching them swim by.
    Wait a year and go way early. Everyone but Toby will be awake. haha

  • Sheree

    You can try going to the Santa Ana zoo- it’s cheap ($5 or $6), and small so even the littlest kids don’t get overly tired. All they really have is monkeys, which is perfect because they are actually active and the kids can see them. Plus the zoo has a huge, really cool playground near the entrance and that’s always a hit with the kids. We usually stay longer at the playstructure than in the zoo itself.

    And I personally think that Sea World is much more fun than the Zoo.

  • Bethany

    Small zoos are definitely better when you are a small 1-year-old person. :-) Or, get an annual pass to a nearby zoo and then it doesn’t matter if you only get to see one part, because you can go back another day!

    I’m glad you and Toby and BB got to enjoy a day together! Here’s to more of those, definitely.

  • margalit

    I dunno, from the pictures it looks like she was having a ton of fun. THat picture of her in front of the orangutans is priceless. She looks like she’s about to jump out of her skin with excitement!

    We have a really pathetic zoo in Boston, and it was just perfect for the kids when they were Bug’s age. We do have a good gorilla exhibit like your orangutan one, and it was always fun to stand by the glass and commune with them.

    I can’t even drag my kids to the zoo now. They think it’s stupid and boring. Harumph!

  • Kuky

    We were talking about going to the zoo today! But we didn’t. Instead we went to a nearby park and rode the carousel. But baby bug does look like she’s having fun.

  • Jennifer

    Darn! I thought it would have been a lot more fun. When we went to the LA Zoo the animals were very lively and active. I wonder if my babe was more entertained because our 4 year old was acting nutty the whole time? Maybe we should reconsider doing the Santa Ana Zoo for something more toddler friendly?

    You still got some great pictures :)

  • Angella

    I won’t tell my hubby this. We were just talking yesterday how we’d like to visit his Uncle in San Diego next year and take the kids to the zoo. I think the boys will be OK, but Emily won’t be much older than BB is now. Maybe she and I will just play at the park while they do the zoo :)

    And yes – fun days are a MUST!

  • Melanie

    I used to use pipe cleaners to clean my sippy cups. Or at times I would just fill the cup for a drink and empty it again. I have seen some funky sippy cups out there in baby land!!!

  • bluejaye

    A tooth brush cleans sippy cups okay. Sometimes you have to take the gasket out and scrup it. But you are right sometimes it is easier to just buy new.

  • pamelamama

    stumbled onto your blog today and have to chime in that my kids still — at 7 and 4 — are not fans of the zoo. I thought everyone’s kids loved the zoo! Nope, not us. So, you’re not alone.

    I have to say that your “buy me a latte” button at the bottom of your page is Pure. Genius. I am inclined to add that to my own page! I wonder if it is your own invention or if it was Starbucks suggestion.

    Nice to meet you!

  • justJENN

    Yeah, I was going to take the boys to the L.A. Zoo today, then I thought, nah, it’d be boring for the one year old AND I don’t want to walk up those damn hills. So instead we went to Disney’s California Adventure, which was insanely crowded but since we had an annual pass I didn’t care and we left at 3pm. Yay for the pass.

  • familymclean

    In reply to your ‘SAJ says…’ question about sippy cups, I find taking some of them apart and throwing them in the dishwasher does the trick. Some brands don’t come apart well and I pitched them. However my fave and a cinch to clean, (you can do it in 5 secs with your eye closed) is the nuby soft silicone sippy cup. (you may have tried it but if not you gotta) Both my babes love Nuby the most, and they are 19 mos and 7 mos old. And to top it off they are only a couple of bucks at Walmart! http://www.babybungalow.com/nubapr.html

  • veg4me

    When we lived in Cali, we much preferred the Wild Animal Park outside of Escondido. My son was 2-5 years of age when we lived there and he always had a blast.

  • BeachMama

    I have photos of J in front of the same exhibits from last fall!! I think 3 is the magical age for many things. J really loved the zoo and still talks about it but if we had gone earlier I am sure it would have been just like your adventure.

  • Erin Rae

    After venturing to the National Zoo with my niece and nephew (8 and 6)… I’ve learned that ice cream is way more exciting than animals.

    The order of excitement was appproximately:
    Ice Cream > Hippos pooping > Pandas > Orangatuans hiding under a sheet doing something?!?

    It was a long day. I also now understand why you sometimes see big kids in strollers. I’m not used to child-pace.

  • erika

    lately i have been craving to go to the san diego zoo, sea world, and disneyland. those are my old stomping grounds, i’m a cali native.

    but expedia and your review killed it for me i think. you guys look like you had fun though!

    ::: checking out cancun trips on expedia:::

  • erika

    oh, and regarding the permits for photographing on beaches. i hope that doesn’t get very far. it’s hard enough being a photographer these days, don’t take the beach away too :(

  • Sara

    Yes, I remember taking our girl to the zoo when she was smaller and it wasn’t as interesting for her. And she needed glasses (we didn’t know at the time) so that may have added to her disinterest.
    P.S. My father in law was the lead designer/architect on the new primate area at that zoo, so it was cool to see a couple of pictures! It was designed to be more friendly to viewers — did you find that to be true?

  • josephine

    I’m not really worried about the beach permit photography since I don’t sell my pictures. I’ve seen them ticketing people at the beach but mostly photographers shooting engagement photos and the like.

    Sara: I definitely liked the orangutan exhibit because you could really get close and watch them…