After our little scuffle the other day, I promised Bug I would take her to the zoo the next time we had a free open day. That free open day happened a little sooner than I expected since Bug had a five day weekend for Memorial Day this weekend. I was going to take her to the Santa Ana Zoo but then Toby suggested Irvine Regional Park instead. I’ve never actually been here before and it’s a shame because it’s a really great park. It’s cheap to get in and there are a lot things to do. Most of them involve just roaming the vast open space but that’s perfect for a mom and her seven-year-old who need to get out and get some exercise.
I have to admit I didn’t have my hopes up very high for the zoo. I expected it to be small and mostly smelly monkeys. It only costs two bucks to get in after all.
They had the usual petting zoo goats and educational installations to read and touch, a few lizards and some sad owls and hawks who looked like they longed for blue skies and better days…
But what really blew me away were the mountain lions. There was a bear too (and a very cute one) but the mountain lions stole my heart. There were two of them and they were out and about, and super active. When we first rounded the corner, one mountain lion was playing with his big red rubber ball in the water fountain. Water was cascading down on his head and all over the ball.
Then later when we were standing there watching them another family came by and for some reason one of the mountain lions ears perked right up. Something about a little boy in that family fascinated him. The mountain lion floated down the hillside in one fluid motion, so quick and quiet you wouldn’t even have seen him if you weren’t watching. It was like he was hunting the little boy. The family seemed to be oblivious but it was freaky and cool at the same time. The mountain lion came right up to the chain link fence and chewed on the fence. I almost expected him to let out a blood curdling yowl but he didn’t. He turned back into the playful mountain lion that liked to play with his rubber ball in the water.
I could have sat there for hours watching them. We would have too but we were hungry and the zoo doesn’t let you eat inside the zoo (which is understandable). Also, the park benches were around the corner and not in an optimal viewing area which made no sense at all. But anyway, if you live around here I strongly recommend you pay the two bucks, skip the goats, lizards and barn owls and just sit and watch the mountain lions. They are very entertaining.
Lunch was heavenly. The park is huge and there are so many places to just sit and enjoy nature… We chose a view of the lake which was not too shabby at all.
Then we wandered around a bit.
Before we left we rode the silly train but it was not worth five bucks at all. Maybe it is on other days and the engineers were just too tired to do their regular spiel but we passed all sorts of interesting things (like a water fountain in the middle of no where) and they didn’t say anything about them but instead rattled off useless facts with numbers that bored me to tears. But then that’s probably just me.